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Start 2021 on the Right Foot with a First Day Hike

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

A message from Chip Boylan, President of the Rockville Recreation and Parks Foundation

The Rockville Recreation and Parks Foundation was created with a mission to help all Rockville residents access and enjoy recreational activities in our community. Although that is still our core function, in today’s digital age, we also recognize our potential role in helping to promote recreational opportunities in Rockville.

With that spirit in mind, today I am proud to announce the launch of the new Rockville Recreation and Parks Foundation Blog. In the coming months and years, this blog will highlight various parks, playgrounds, and recreational activities in Rockville. The Foundation’s board members hope that this blog will serve as a source of inspiration for your own exploration of Rockville’s parks.

To that end, we encourage everyone to enjoy the ample parklands in Rockville by getting outside on New Year’s Day for a First Day Hike. This nationwide initiative aims to get people to start the new year right by doing some exercise outside.

Rockville has nearly 70 parks, several of which are large and include longer walking paths. Here are a few suggestions of where to go for your First Day Hike.

Fallsgrove Stream Valley Park (1 mile loop, paved path): starting at Thomas Farm Community Center, this walk goes past a large and semi-natural stormwater pond where you may get a glimpse of the beaver lodge. You’ll then loop back through the Fallsgrove neighborhood before returning on the path through the woods to the community center parking lot.

Woottons Mill Park (1.8 miles, paved path): you’ll experience both natural forested areas and parkland on this moderate length loop. Bonus: this route passes by exercise equipment and instructional signage so that you can supplement your work out with exercises targeting your arms, core, and legs.

Potomac Woods Park (0.45 miles, paved path): a lovely wooded area that is surrounded by quiet neighborhood streets, which make it easy to add additional loops onto your walk to customize the length. There is also a playground, tennis courts, and basketball courts in the park for your kids to enjoy

RedGate Park: This is Rockville’s newest park, which was previously a golf course. The former golf cart paths now make for walking paths. You’ll see wide-open vistas and the potential to see lots of birds. This is a great park to blaze your own trail at, as there’s plenty of space to spread out and physically distance from other people enjoying the park.

Additionally, Maryland State Parks is offering self-guided hikes from January 1-3. Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg has a 3.7 mile long Lakeshore Trail that circles Clopper Lake and may include sightings of wildlife and waterfowl.

Finally, one area to avoid is the John Hayes Forest at Civic Center Park on the east side of Rockville. The City of Rockville has closed this area from January 9-16 for a pilot deer culling program.

A few tips:

· Dress for the weather. Be sure to wear layers and a hat if it’s cold outside.

· Be safe. Wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart from other people during your hike. And if the parking lot is full when you visit a park, return at another time when the park is not as busy or go to another location.

· Share your hike on social media with #FirstDayHike to inspire others to get active.

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