Join Us for An 9 Mile Moderate Hike! Lake Frank and Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park!
Rock Creek Regional Park covers approximately 1800 acres and includes the beautiful 75-acre Lake Needwood and the picturesque 55-acre Lake Frank. Visitors can enjoy the park by meandering along 13 miles of trails through woodlands and along the lakeshores, picnicking, fishing, boating and viewing many species of resident wildlife. Picnic shelters can be reserved by contacting the Park Permits Office. Other park amenities include playgrounds, Needwood Boat Rental and Snack Bar, Meadowside Nature Center and lake tours on the Queen Needwood.
Lake Frank's secluded location within Rock Creek Regional Park is another of its assets. Visitors to the lake must bike or walk about 1/4 of a mile from all parking lots to get to the lakeshore. The Lake Frank & Meadowside Trails surround the lake, making it a favorite hiking spot. Also, locals enjoy fishing from the shoreline, though a license is needed to do so. However, swimming, boating, and ice skating are prohibited.
The main trail around Lake Frank, the Lakeside Trail, is a 3 1/4 mile long loop. Approximately 2/3 of the trail is unpaved and traverses through the woods surrounding the lake. The other part of the trail is wider and paved. At the approximate half way point of the trail, there is a creek that must be crossed. Though there are a group of rocks which form a bridge-like path across, the creek may be unpassable for some depending on the water level.
Lake Needwood is part of Rock Creek Regional Park. Visitors can rent pedal boats, rowboats, and canoes, and a flat-bottom pontoon boat, the Needwood Queen, is available for rides. With a license, fishing is permitted. Also, the picnic areas surrounding the lake are popular locations for various events. Other park features include a visitors center and snack bar, hiking and biking trails, playgrounds, an archery range and Needwood Golf Course. About one mile (1.6 km) southeast is Lake Needwood's sister lake, Lake Frank.
We break down into groups no larger than 15 hikers per leader/sweep team for a more enjoyable experience for all of us and is better for the environment. Large groups really take away from the hiking experience. This also allows us to offer a variety of hike paces and for this particular hike you have 2 to choose from which allows us to be put together with those of a similar pace. Paces should be not only based on your preference but also ability needs to be taken into consideration.
If you are uncomfortable with either of these pace options, please select a different hike as there is NOT a newbie/social pace for this hike.
Pace Option 1: A Social Pace for those looking to focus on the environment rather than where they getting a cardio workout.
Pace Option 2: A moderate pace of about 2.5mph (most common pace).
PLEASE put your pace preference in your RSVP so we can plan accordingly
We hike rain or shine. Click Here for an up to date weather forecast
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Derwood, MD
Length: 9 miles
Scenery: Woods and Lake views
Exposure: Mostly shady; less so in winter
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Two Loops
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 - 4.5 hours. We will be stopping at the Snack Bar at Lake Needwood midway through the hike for a brief break (approx 20min)
Trail Surface: Mostly dirt; some pavement; two stream crossings.
Season: Year round
Local Maps: USGS Rock Creek Regional Park
Topo Map: Lake Needwood and Lake Frank Topographic Map
Facilities: Toilets and water at the Lake Frank Meadowside Nature Center and Lake Needwood Snack Bar/Boat House. (Note: We will NOT be going by the Meadowside Nature center, so if you need to stop there prior to the hike, please allow time for that, the hike begins at 10:00am.)
Trails Other Uses: Bikes and Rollerbladers on the Rock Creek Hiker Biker Trail.
Concessions: Snack Bar at the Lake Needwood Boat House. The Boat House Snack Bar (open during the regular season June 1 thru Sept) features ice cream, juice, and a new selection of healthy snacks. Vending machines with water, soda and Gatorade are located in the Boat House.
Trail Notes for Leaders
Our RSVP Policies and Group Etiquette
Click here to review our policies
It is the members responsibility to work with each other to arrange carpools.You should exchange contact information, via email, with each other to confirm the details.
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
VA Area Carpool from Faifax/Vienna Metro Station
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station. Cick here for directions to Metro Vienna GMU Station in Fairfax, VA.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Detailed Directions to the Trailhead and Where We Meet.
Hike Time is 10:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Vienna Metro Station is 9:00 a.m.
Gear Suggestions and Information
Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then please find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
See you there and please take the leaders number with you just in case...