Battery Kemble Trail

Trail Overview

The Battery Kemble Trail runs north and south between MacArthur Boulevard NW (right across from the Conduit Road Schoolhouse) and Battery Kemble Park. Spanning roughly 1 mile, the trail acts as a lesser-travelled route between American University and the Foxhall Crescent and Palisades neighborhoods. Popular with walkers—dogs and people!—the Battery Kemble Trail is scenic and quiet, offering the illusion of desolate trail running in a residential section of Washington, DC.

Be advised that the trail itself is densely packed and slightly slanted, with a somewhat steep drop (in parts) on its eastern ridge. The trail also becomes fairly rugged on the segment just south of the open park portion of Battery Kemble. Runners heading north toward American University should expect a steep climb out of the park on its northern edge by Nebraska Avenue (runners heading south will, of course, descend a steep decline). Run with caution, and be prepared for modest trail erosion after heavy rainfall or in early spring.

Trail Extensions

Direct extensions to the Battery Kemble Trail are limited, given its fairly isolated location. One convenient possibility is to head east on the trail systems that run through Wesley Heights Park and that eventually connect with the Glover-Archbold Trail. This extension option allows runners either to construct a modified version of the Interior Northwest DC Trail Loop or to create a shorter circuit loop via the Glover-Archbold Trail (heading south) to MacArthur Boulevard (heading west after a short stretch on Foxhall Road NW). Be advised that the Wesley Heights Park trails are generally not in great repair—there is a particularly treacherous climb from the park to Foxhall Road—and do contain at-grade intersections.

At the southern reach of Battery Kemble Trail, runners will naturally intersect with the wide, safe sidewalks of MacArthur Boulevard NW. Runners can easily turn eastward to jog back to Georgetown, where they can conveniently connect with the C&O Canal and the Capital Crescent Trail. Alternately, runners can jog west along MacArthur Boulevard, eventually reaching the paved bike path that runs out to Glen Echo Park. For a small trailblazing adventure (of sorts), runners can follow MacArthur Boulevard to Norton Street NW. At that intersection, they can take Norton Street westward, which eventually leads to a tiny footpath that allows access to the Capital Crescent Trail just a few meters southeast of where the Capital Crescent crosses into Maryland. At that point, runners can jog into Maryland or back toward Georgetown as they would like.


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