Length: 3.6 miles
Trail Difficulty: Challenging
Ward 8 Woods first proposed this trail in 2018 during the drafting of the National Park Service concept plan for Shepherd Parkway and we continue to advocate for it. The Shepherd Parkway Trail, a natural-surface foot path, would for the first time open the ward’s largest wooded area to recreation. It would extend 3.6 miles along the ridgeline that gives the adjacent communities of Congress Heights and Bellevue their names, with nearly continuous westward views across the city.
Starting at LeBaum Street in the north, the trail would cross Malcolm X Avenue, South Capitol Street, Chesapeake Street, and Blue Plains Drive before terminating at the Bald Eagle Recreation Center on Joliet Street SW.
Along the way are nearly 200 acres of mature forest, a Civil War earthworks, Forts Carroll and Grebel, a bald eagle nest, and a dozen small streams. Rugged topography and significant elevation change will make for a fitness challenge.
Well marked trailheads will provide access to and from adjoining residential and commercial areas and the newly constructed bike trail at the bottom of the hill.
Bald Eagle Hill Trail
Length: 1.4 miles
Ward 8 Woods is also proposing a 1.4-mile extension of the Shepherd Parkway Trail to begin where that one ends. It would traverse the area known as Bald Eagle Hill, which connects with Oxon Cove Park, across the state line in Maryland. Moving north and east, the trail would descend to the floodplain and follow Oxon Run upstream to a trailhead at South Capitol Street and First Street SW, which is also the western terminus of the (existing) Oxon Run Bike Trail.
The Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway began advocating for trail construction in this location in 2013. Ward 8 Woods took up the torch in 2018, pressing for the trail through written testimony and in public meetings solicited during the National Park Service’s planning process for the Shepherd Parkway Development Concept Plan. The plan that emerged from that process, released in December 2020, includes several options for trails, including paved trails along the perimeter and the natural-surface woodland trails we envision. Unfortunately, contrary to the rugged, natural path we recommend, the option currently favored by the Park Service is a paved path – essentially a sidewalk – on the woods’ perimeter.
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