- This trail is a combination of several park trails and several short spurts along park roads. It can be confusing at times, but just remember you're making a large 3.5-mile loop.
From the Nature Center, head north along the green-blazed Western Ridge Trail, which is also available to bicycle traffic. You'll want to take a short side trip to Fort DeRussy, an 1854 supply camp for Union forces. After visiting the ruins, retrace your steps to the paved Western Ridge Trail. Shortly after hiking past Bingham Drive, you'll pass a paved road to the right. You'll then come to an earthen path. Take this route and continue due north, passing an intersecting trail on the left. Then you'll come to a trail junction at which point you'll turn left. Within a short distance, you'll see two trails very close together, both heading east. These are actually the same trail, Pinehurst Branch Trail. Take either route. Be prepared to do some slight creek crossing. Once you reach Beach Drive, turn right and hike along the edge of the road. From here, you'll have views of the park's namesake, Rock Creek. After crossing the footbridge, turn right (south) onto Valley Trail. It is blazed with blue markers. The trail follows the lovely Rock Creek about .25 mile coming upon another trail intersection. Turn left and hike into the peaceful woodland environment lush with birdlife. The trail meanders down to Beach Drive; be sure to follow the blue-blazed Valley Trail to Joyce Road. Turn right and look for the trail on the left hand side of Joyce Road. It will carry you to Ross Drive. Turn left and ascend into another woodland. This route leads to the park's busy horse center. From the horse center, take the main road back to the Nature Center and the beginning of the circuit trail.
If this trail appears too confusing, the Woodlands Nature Trail, located by the Nature Center, is a pleasant alternative.