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Big Loop

Photo: Steve Zuraf

Photo: Steve Zuraf

Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Md.

Length: 21 miles

Description: It’s a tried-and-true D.C. standard, and that’s because it’s a good length, it has a lot of variety and there aren’t many interruptions. There are no dramatic hills, water fountains throughout and you’re probably going to see a lot of other runners doing the same loop.

Cons: None, really.

Pros: You cross one major road—East-West Highway in Kensington. Much of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park is closed to traffic on weekends and federal holidays until about 7 p.m. before a workday.

Tricky Points: Some portions of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park are open to traffic, but there aren’t many. The Rock Creek Trail south of Porter Street is a little tight. South of P Street, it’s pretty exposed to the sun for about a mile. I guess it’s hard to get from the Georgetown Branch Trail to the Rock Creek Trail, but there are signs. There can be big swarms of cyclists on Beach Drive sometimes.

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