Trails, Green Spaces & Wellness Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped highlight the importance of walking as a critical aspect of human well-being, not only for transportation and access but active recreation and exercise. So, get outdoors (even if joining virtually and at a distance) wearing masks, keeping proper physical distance, and following all the health protocols that we know are so important to Maryland’s recovery.

walking along a path outdoors

Oct. 7th marks the 6th Annual Walk Maryland Day with the annual theme - "Walk Towards Wellness". Walk Maryland Day is a call to action to promote walking for physical activity and improved health. Walk Leaders are the change agents from different sectors of the community who see the health benefits of walking and encourage fellow Marylanders to take time out of their day to enjoy a walk within their community. 

Walktober Walkinar Series with MDOT: Throughout Walktober, join the Maryland State Department of Planning for their free Walkinar series of virtual panels and discussion sessions on how to advance walking and pedestrian infrastructure across Maryland communities.  Panelists include state, local, and regional professionals from the transportation, health, planning, and tech sector. Sessions are at 9:30 AM on Thursday: Oct. 15, Oct. 22, and Oct. 29.


Green Spaces On Campus:

Our entire College Park campus is a convenient and easily accessible Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. There are many lovely gardens in our 1,250 acre campus, including  At the Arboretum Outreach Center near Stadium Drive and the Denton community, you can find garden-related events and activities. 

Fortunately, there are numerous safe and forested trails on, around, and near campus worth exploring! 

Trails adjacent to campus:

  • paved path through forest with bicycleAnacostia Tributary Trail System - the campus is embedded within the extensive 29.9-mile trail system that spans across the Greater Washington Region. 
  • Paint Branch Trail- a 3.5 mile trail that runs between the Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park and Lake Artemesia (image to the right).
  • Indian Creek Trail- connects Lake Artemesia to Berwyn Heights. From there you can connect to the Lake Artemesia Trail and the rest of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System.
  • Trolley Trail- along Rhode Island Avenue down towards DC, 3.8 mile hiker/biker path. A permaculture garden resides on the trail in the Berwyn area.
  • The Lake Artemesia Trail connects to the Paint Branch Trail, Trolley Trail, Indian Creek Trail and Northeast Branch Trail.  Part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System.
  • Northeast Branch Trail- begins at Lake Artemesia and runs south of Hyattsville.  Goes Past The College Park Airport And Through The Discovery District And Riverdale Park.  

The City of College Park has walking tours with markers at historic landmarks.  

Parks near campus: 

Find Trails Near You:

  • For people who are at home (and away from campus), we could provide some tips on finding trails near them to explore (like, state parks, etc.). 


Walking can keep you healthy: reducing air pollution while spending time outdoors to enjoy some sunshine, greenery and fresh air (great for our mental health as well as physical)! Eliminating car trips under 5 miles round-trip would save billions in health benefits thanks to improved air quality. Replacing half of these car trips with bike trips could save billions in reduced health care costs by increasing physical activity. (Source)


NatureRx@UMD is a new and burgeoning movement, represented by numerous individuals and units within the University of Maryland College Park community, who have come together with a shared passion for the many ways in which the landscape of our campus arboretum and other recreation spaces can heal and preserve the health and well-being of every person. Also recognized as healing spaces are the extensive network of trails throughout Maryland, as well as other natural areas within the Mid-Atlantic, including the Chesapeake Bay.

Walking as Sustainable Transportation:

One quarter of all trips in the U.S. are 1 mile or less, and yet most of these trips are taken by car.  Car trips of under 1 mile add up to about 10 billion miles per year.  If we all chose to power half of these short trips with our feet instead of petroleum, we would save about $575 million in fuel costs and about 2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. That’s like taking about 400,000 cars off the road each year. The total financial savings are even bigger — almost $900 million dollars — when you include savings on maintenance and tire replacement. Walk to a destination you are headed to, especially if it's less than 5 miles away (the store, cafe, etc.)! Source: What If We Kept Our Cars Parked for Trips Less Than One Mile? | US EPA

Learn more about sustainable transportation on campus with DOTS. 

This guide was launched October 7th, 2020 in honor of Walk MD Day

UMD's Walk Maryland Day Partners: UMD Department of Transportation Services  |  UMD Recreation & Wellness | UMD Arboretum & Botanical Gardens | UMD Residence Life  |  UMD Office of Sustainability


Back to Top