Lake Frank / Meadowside Nature Center

Alexandria Area Walking & Hiking Group
Alexandria Area Walking & Hiking Group
Public group

Meadowside Nature Center

5100 Meadowside Lane · Derwood, MD

How to find us

We’ll meet in front of the nature center, GPS = 39.11255, -77.10655

Location image of event venue


Let's enjoy a shady hike around Lake Bernard Frank!

Although it's only about 10 miles from the I-495 Capital Beltway, Lake Frank's secluded location in the 1800-acre Rock Creek Regional Park make it a great place for a country hike. Let's go!

The route: From the meetup point in front of the Nature Center, we'll head west and north, circling around the Study Pond and some of the Lathrop Smith Center outbuildings before turning south to hike past the Pioneer Farmstead, over the Valient Covered Bridge, and along the west shoreline of Lake Frank to the Lake Frank Dam. After crossing the dam we'll cut right to head downstream to Rock Creek, where we'll turn left, cross a footbridge, and follow the Rock Creek Trail downstream. After crossing two more footbridges we'll turn left, just before reaching Norbeck Road, and follow a connector trail north to the Lakeside Trail, which continues north on the east bank of Lake Frank. Directly east of the Nature Center we'll turn left, hop on stepping stones across North Branch Rock Creek and return to our starting point.

The hike is about 5 miles of smiles and should take about 2 hours at a moderate pace. The surface is a mix of dirt and paved trails, mostly shady, with some elevation changes here and there. This is an easy to moderate difficulty hike.

Google map:

How to get there:

• From the Capital beltway (either direction), take I-270 / I-270 Spur towards Rockville. Take the Montrose Rd exit, drive 0.4 miles, keep left at the fork and follow signs for Tower Oaks Blvd. After driving 0.3 miles, turn left onto Tower Oaks Blvd, drive 0.6 miles and turn right onto Wootton Pkwy. Follow Wootton Pkwy 1.5 miles as it becomes 1st St, and continue another 1.3 miles as 1st St becomes Norbeck Rd. Turn left onto Avery Rd, drive 2.3 miles, then turn right onto MD-115 E/Muncaster Mill Rd. Follow MD-115 E/Muncaster Mill Rd eat 0.7 miles and turn right onto Meadowside Ln. Follow Meadowside Ln until it ends at the Meadowside Nature Center parking lot. See

• DO NOT drive to the Rock Creek Regional Park entrance! Enter "Meadowside Nature Center" in your navigation device, or use the meetup location, GPS[masked], [masked]. The city shown may be either Rockville or Derwood.

• Watch out for the speed cameras!

• Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike.

What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes, please). Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended.

Weather: The forecast is sunny, a high temperature of 81F, and 8 mph NW winds. Updates here:


• As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers.

• Hard surface trails, especially Rock Creek Trail, are used by both hikers and bikers. Please stay alert for bikes and share the trail!

Administrative stuff: There are restrooms and drinking fountains at the nature center.


• Meadowside Nature Center, 5100 Meadowside Ln, Rockville (Derwood), MD 20855,[masked].

• Rock Creek Trails:

• Lake Frank and Meadowside trail map (pdf):

• Urban Bar-B-Que, 5566 Norbeck Road, Rockville, MD 20853
(301)[masked]. Directions: