Hillandale Park gets it’s trail back.

Hillandale Park, Maryland

Luke takes a break by the stream in Hillandale Park.

Hillandale Park is a small community park located in the neighborhood of Hillandale. The park fronts New Hampshire Avenue and offers the community soccer and softball fields plus a tot lot and community room (now torn down). The park is slated to undergo renovation and the community is pretty excited about the changes. We have used the park as an area to run our dogs when the park is not crowded. In the old days (we have lived here 25 years) there were a series of trails into and through the woods located at the back end of the park. These were not official trails but natural trails cut by the kids and deer that traveled through the park. Unknown to many Hillandale residents the trails offered a quiet and secluded place to wander about in a rare suburban wooded area. There is a nice little stream in the woods and we have picnicked and played with out dogs there many times.

Hillandale Park, Md

You can enter the trail right behind the tot lot.

A decade ago, when Hurricane Isabel came to Washington the park suffered serious damage. There were so many large trees knocked down in the woods that the trails in the woods became impossible to use for all but the most agile hiker. We quit venturing into the woods as did many others as the trails eventually became overgrown and virtually disappeared. The problem was enhanced by some serious erosion along some of the feeder streams that made walking the trails even more difficult. Well, the good news is that our trails are back. In preparation for renovating Hillandale Park, the park service has sent a crew into the woods to recut and improve the trail. This includes some minor grading and the construction of a few small footbridges where needed. Now the trails are a delight to walk and in our opinion even better than before.

Hillandale Park, MD

One of the new footbridges in Hillandale Park

You can access the trails by entering Hillandale Park and going to the tot lot at the rear of the park. The trailhead is located right behind the tot lot. By taking the trail you can either follow the trail along the stream and now cut through to Sweetbriar Pkwy in Old Hillandale or there is a spot where you can branch off the main trail and follow a nice long loop back to the tot lot trailhead.  This is really an old fashioned unimproved trail, so you will need to wear good shoes and perhaps long pants. The trail is fairly clear and wide enough but poison ivy and the occasional tick is an issue. We see it as our mission to get the word out about the trail and encourage not only Hillandalers but folks from all of the neighboring communities to seek out and enjoy this lovely little suburban oasis.

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