Glover-Archbold Trail

Trail Overview

The Glover-Archbold Trail slices north and south through the Georgetown and Glover Park neighborhoods in Northwest DC. The trail is popular with runners, walkers, families, and dogs; therefore, runners are advised to exercise caution and consideration when using the trail. The largest uninterrupted segment of the trail stretches between Reservoir Road and New Mexico Avenue NW. This portion of the trail runs largely on top of—or at least next to—a large concrete sewer pipe. Again, runners should be careful to avoid slipping or rolling their ankles. Also, this section of the Glover-Archbold Trail contains many smaller and unmaintained side trails that climb up the park’s eastern ridge along 42nd Street NW. Runners should use these trails with caution because they are steep and are not always in good repair.

Though the middle and southern portions of the trail are largely isolated and self-contained, the northern portion by New Mexico Avenue contains a cluster of at-grade street intersections (runners should always cross Reservoir Road legally at a crosswalk). There are also several steep staircases that help pedestrians climb from the trail to New Mexico, Cathedral, and Massachusetts Avenues. Be careful and deliberate when using these staircases.

Trail Extensions

There is some modest debate about the terminology used to describe the full length of the Glover-Archbold Trail. As the trail heads north, it eventually reaches what is often considered its official, and seemingly natural, endpoint on the southern side of Massachusetts Avenue NW. However, Glover-Archbold Park does continue to stretch across Massachusetts Avenue all the way to Van Ness Street NW. If runners cross Massachusetts Avenue—safely, at the crosswalk slightly to the southeast at 39th Street—the open expanse of the park will continue to the slight northwest of that intersection. If runners continue into the park, they will see it funnel naturally to another trailhead. This trail is alternately considered the northern stretch of the Glover-Archbold Trail and the Massachusetts 39th Trail. In either case, the trail winds north to Upton Street NW, bringing the Glover-Archbold Trail to roughly 3-4 miles in length (one way). On this northern portion, runners should expect one stream crossing and a very steep climb toward Upton Street. Proceed slowly and with care.

In the middle section of the Glover-Archbold Trail, north of the Reservoir Road trailhead, runners can turn east to follow smaller trail systems through Whitehaven Park, across Wisconsin Avenue NW, into Dumbarton Oaks Park (via Whitehaven Street NW and the Whitehaven Trail that descends into Dumbarton Oaks Park behind the British International School and the Georgetown Safeway), and ultimately out to Rock Creek Park. This series of trail systems provides excellent cross country training, with varied terrain and rolling hills. However, the quality of these trails, particularly the Whitehaven system, varies greatly, and many of these segments are not regularly maintained. Run cautiously, and stay on the trails themselves to avoid poison ivy and other hazards.

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