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Thanks for the photos. Yes, that's a Great Blue Heron.

Does anyone know what the large piece of undeveloped land between Thomas Elementary and the river is?

Looking at the map, it seems like a logical (and much shorter) routing would have been to take a left on the "recently repaved road" mentioned above. Then, rather that emerging at Foote and Anacostia Pl., the trail could have followed what looks like an unpaved road through that undeveloped land to the end of Deane Ave. in Kenilworth Park. From there it would have been a short connection to the next stretch of trail along the river.

I assume there is a good reason that they couldn't do that, so I'm just curious what it is.

I should have read a little more closely. What I'm referring to in the above comment is the "NPS road through the old park" referred to at the very top of the post.

The question remains: Why didn't the trail follow that road, with connectors to the Mayfair neighborhood?


That area was a landfill and then later Kenilworth Park South, but the park was closed in 1997 because debris from the old landfill starting poking out of the ground. They tried to cover it with several feet of good soil, but instead got construction debris. Whoops. The long term plan is to clean it up and then build another section of the trail through there.


"All of Kenilworth Park was created in the 1930s and 1940's by the Army Corps of Engineers by filling in wetlands with dirt dredged from the Anacostia. Then the area south and north of Watts Branch became a landfill

The District used the land for disposal and burning of municipal waste. The landfill extended directly into the river without any barrier, and landfill wastes mixed with soil entered the water. By the time the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) became law the District Landfill was closed, so the landfill never had a permit.

From 1968-1970 Sanitary landfill operations were used at Kenilworth to dispose of the District’s waste. When the filling was almost complete, the landfill was closed and largely capped (no impermeable cap was used; it is believed that sediment was dredged from the Anacostia River). At completion, the Kenilworth landfill contained around 4 million tons of raw refuse, incinerator ash, and other burned residue

At which point NPS began to turn it into a park. By 1980 the park opened with a grassy area served by a road, with public toilets, a parking lot, and a set of exercise stations around the periphery. Then in 1997, the park was closed and new "fill" was deposited to cover part of the old landfill south of Watts Branch, raising the park surface by as much as 27 feet. The fill was mostly excavation materials and construction debris instead of clean fill.

In 1998, the DC Department of Health issued a Notice of Violation to NPS regarding the placement of fill with objectionable materials (construction debris) on the site without a permit. And some cleanup has been carried out since. "


I have run on that closed road before. I think you could ride on it pretty easily, though perhaps not with skinny tires. The closed section brings you to an existing/maintained road through Kenilworth Park, and from there you can take a service road to complete the shortcut (this is quite clear on the sat view in Google maps). Of course it means you are riding across an area that was closed because it was deemed unsafe, so . . do it at your own risk.

The master plan shows a future phase that would cut through there and connect across the Anacostia to the National Arboretum. I don't know what the status of that is.


I agree with Purple Eagle above that the detour east to Foote Ave is not as good as the closed road going directly south.

The problem right now is that there are still heavy trucks and machinery working on the trail starting very early in the morning. I'm not sure what time they knock it off in the afternoon, but erstwhile morning commuters should exercise extreme caution!

I hope they can quickly wrap up the northern sections and open them without waiting on the bridge near Benning Rd. The mild inconvenience of walking those ~20 yards of deep gravel to Anacostia Ave is certainly worth being able to use the rest of the trail!

Google satellite must have recently updated the images for this area. Most of the trail is now clearly visible.

I agree with Adam. Hopefully, the north sections will open soon.

Does anyone know what time the trucks start up in the morning or stop in the afternoon?

I think they try to start quite early to avoid the afternoon heat. I've heard they're out before at least 7:30.

I've been riding the trail for about 6 weeks now ( I think I was the first to ride the wet asphalt through Kenilworth Gardens). A pleasant 13 mile ride from College Park to South Capitol St Bridge. I've been scolded several times by Milano Construction Supervisors and the barriers seem to be getting more restrictive over the last several weeks. Yet the bikers have been taking things into their own hands. Good news is - besides the Benning road connection - there is very little work left. Some top soil backfill on the MD side. Give it 2 weeks and you should be good to go. Happy trails. It's been a long time waiting for us in Prince Georges.

The short area under the railroad bridge looked flooded by the river earlier this area during heavy rains--is that going to be a regular issue, i wonder?

I know this came up on an earlier post, but I think the unpaved road leading towards the main part of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is what the park maps originally labeled as the "River Trail" on their maps before construction started. This "trail" was a wide dirt route that could have been used by maintenance vehicles. It went all the way to the creek that connects the marsh to the river, so the new trail covers part of it.

Does anyone know roughly what times the trucks are out on the trail in the morning?

It seems like if commuters wake up early enough, they could use the trail before the truck get on it.

Any projected date for the opening of the trail?

I think they're still saying late this year.

I rode the trail yesterday. It's nearly finished, with the exception of the bridge near the south end. They need to pave a short section on the north end, but one can easily ride over it (old pavement from the trail extension 3-4 years ago is there, though it's damaged from all of the construction traffic). The decking for the bridge looks to be complete, but there are no railings yet and the approach still needs some fill and pavement - one would need to lift their bike several feet in order to get it on the bridge.

There were a lot of people using the trail - cyclists, dog walkers, slow ambling pedestrians. Many of them probably came in from the neighborhood near the trail (just south of the Aquatic Gardens). Portions of the trail there have been paved for a year already, so I am sure locals have been exploring it. But there clearly has been regular bike traffic coming in from the north too - I could see the tracks in the dirt at the beginning of the construction zone.

The concrete decking on the section above the river (under route 50 and the RR tracks) should be more durable than wood, but it's bumpy where the concrete sections end, like on the WW bridge trail.

There is a surprisingly-steep little hill near the trash transfer station, which is just north of the incomplete bridge.

The "shortcut" on the old park road (discussed above in comments), bypassing the neighborhood, is very ride-able, at least with my cyclocross tires. The service road completing the bypass is a bit more rough - surface is large stones rather than packed gravel.

It's probably possible to bypass the bridge at the south end. A rough gravel road leads from the trail to a paved road used by trash trucks to reach the transfer station from Benning Rd.

Oh, and I forgot to add - there are some terrific new way-finding signs along the new stretch of trail, as well as on the portion of trail between Benning Rd and the Frederick Douglass Bridge. Sorry, no photos.

Yeah there is a ~30-yard section of coarse gravel connecting the south end of the trail to Anacostia Ave, so the bridge isn't strictly necessary.

The gravel is squirrelly for skinny 23c tires but it's a short walk even for bike cleats.

I just wish they would finish up the northern 99% and open it up, without holding the whole thing up for that final bridge under Benning. I just rode it this morning and it looked like all they needed to do was grab the leftover material and barriers.

I rode it yesterday from Bladensburg to the running track by Anacostia Ave. It was all open, no barriers or signs to ride around. Can't speak to the condition of the south end as my 8 year old riding companion did not have the stamina to make it that far but there were plenty of bikers coming up the trail northbound. There is an orange, heavy plastic "jersey wall" barrier preventing people from turning right off of the trail onto the "shortcut" that connects to Deane Ave that was mentioned earlier. Other than that the trail seems to be open for business. Nice ride. Can't wait to ride the whole thing.

We rode it on Sunday, too and it was amazing. Wasn't sure where to go at one point headed towards Yards Park - a lot of cyclists were unsure. Better signage would help once you get to Anacostia Road. Great ride though!

Word on the street is that the Kenilworth Section will have its grand opening on (or near) October 11.


Can anyone confirm?

Benning Rd. underpass looks to be finished (as of this morning when I rode the trail).

Can confirm with Marc. I rode the trail yesterday afternoon and the Benning Rd. underpass and the Piney Run bridge are complete and open!

Did the whole ride yesterday and it's great. Skipped the loopy section through the Kenilworth Terrace neighborhood and took the Deane Ave shortcut instead. That section is definitely rough, but fine for a hybrid bike. Not sure why the neighborhood route got priority when the Deane Ave route is more direct and faster.

Mark P - I think the Deane Ave route was bypassed for now because the route crosses a closed landfill. The site needs to be rehabbed before they can officially route the trail through it. No idea what the timeline is on doing that work.

True. The trail will be open very soon I hear. I have a post I'm working on for GGW about the Deane Ave shortcut, but Purple Eagle has the basics right.

Just a heads-up, if anyone is planning on riding the trail tomorrow, the there is a large high school cross country meet scheduled for the late morning through afternoon. The runners use the grassy fields near Deane Ave and cross the new paved trail by the track. Other than that crossing, the race does not use the trail, but there will be a lot of people in the area. More info here.

Hi all, exciting about the trail! I tried riding a few weekends back, but they were working that day and had about 4 barriers erected at the North end of the trail, oh well. Is there any public information about the opening (DDOT press release, etc.)? Assuming that there will be some event/ribbon cutting, seems odd that I can't find anything online with the opening so eminent. Anyone seen anything?

I haven't heard anything official yet. That's pretty normal for DDOT.

I rode the whole trail yesterday on my way home from College Park and it was AWESOME! I took the Dean road shortcut, which was a little confusing, but completely rideable on 32's. It is really quite a picturesque and twisty trail. At one point, I could hear voices nearby and was wondering what was going on until the trail brought me closer to the river and I could see a crew team practicing there. It is definitely a longer route home for me, but I am sure I will be taking it quite often on nice days.

I was told today by a National Park Service ranger that the official opening ceremony of the ART will be on Monday, Oct 31. It will take place at the entrance to the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden trail head just before the CSX bridge (coming from DC). Nothing yet on the DDOT website.

Forgot to note the time. 10:00 am.

I rode the trail today and was told the same thing re: the opening ceremony. They were doing work at the north end of the new section this morning and didn't want to let me through, but they finally let me go. Not sure if the whole trail will be open this afternoon...

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