Trail Guide Map 9
This last 0.7 mile portion of Sligo Creek lies in both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties. A paved hiker-biker trail runs through it and hooks up with the Northwest Branch bike trail, but the Sligo Creek Parkway ends at New Hampshire Avenue.
On the downstream side of New Hampshire Avenue, the trail runs parallel to the roadway on a boardwalk for about 200 feet. At the end of this there is a bike repair station that contains a pump and a set of tools, cleverly secured from thievery. There is also a detailed map of area bikeways. The paved trail then veers away from NH Avenue and passes through a pleasant landscaped area that was developed in about 2009 by the combined efforts of Hillwood Manor residents, the City of Takoma Park, and MC Parks. The plantings are mostly native but you may notice some copper-leaved Redbud trees unlike anything else in the park.
The trail continues on a footbridge over a dramatically deep gorge dug by Sligo. Farther along at the Hillwood Manor playground a drinking fountain is available in season (and swings). FOSC maintains a “signbox” there, and MC Parks has another map-sign. The trail crosses Sligo twice in this twisty and scenic stretch with good views of bedrock and a beach where the creek makes a curve. Just after the second bridge on the far bank there is a colony of old Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) whose blooms compel viewing round-about Memorial Day.
The trail continues through a steep wooded valley for another five hundred yards where it suddenly opens to reveal the right-of-way (ROW) for a huge power-line. The ridge to the left of the trail contains a good population of Chestnut Oak as well as Arrow-leaf and Maple-leaf Virburnum (Viburnum dentatum and V. aceriforlim). If you are curious about a white diagonal line painted across the trail a bit before the ROW, it represents the MC/PG County border.
The rough meadow maintained by the electric utility is one of the few places where native creatures and plants adapted to those conditions can flourish. Through an arrangement worked out in 2008 between Pepco and FOSC, the ROW is subject to limited mowing. In 2013 and 2014, a group led by ecologist Rhonda Kranz surveyed the bee population, and the flowering plants were surveyed by Michael Wilpers and Bruce Sidwell. They identified 97 species of bees and 120 species of flowering plants. The June 2016 newsletter explains the effort. The list of bee species can be viewed on our website.