July 11, 2013 | by Bucky Mitchell
Rock Creek and beyond
Rock Creek Park, golf, sports, gay news, Washington Blade

Rock Creek Park Golf Course (Photo courtesy of Golf DC)

Does the concrete jungle have you feeling cagey? Feel like you’ll go crazy with one more gym workout? Despite the urban setting, there are plenty of spots great for outdoor workouts in the region. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Go Ape. Nestled in Rock Creek Park’s Lake Needwood area of Silver Spring  you’ll find people hang gliding and swinging between the trees. The “Go Ape” treetop adventure course is made up of multiple zip lines, numerous rope ladder courses and an amazing Tarzan swing. This adventure is not one to be missed.

The course not only challenges your upper body strength, it also challenges your ability to be competitive and take risks. As you climb more than 150 feet in the air, you have the choice to take the harder or easier path from one tree to the next. Naturally, if you’re with a group of friends or on a date, you will want to prove that you aren’t afraid to do the harder challenges. The course took me about two-and-a-half hours and the highlights included the Tarzan swing, in which I felt like I was free falling in mid-air for 30 seconds, and the 100-foot zipline at the end.

2. Adventure Park. In New Market, Md., you’ll find a place called Adventure Park where you can escape back into your childhood and get a fantastic workout.  Although Adventure Park promotes itself as a family destination for children, it is indeed for adults.

From laser tag to the rope course to the rock-climbing wall, this place is packed with things to do. I loved this place so much because the facility does a great job of accommodating both adults and children but making separate courses for each. The energy of the children kept me on my toes and motivated. My entire body was exhausted and achy after my day here.

3. Rock Creek Park (Tennis Center Field). Rock Creek Park makes my “staycation guide” list twice because there’s so much to do here.

The Rock Creek Tennis Center makes my list because most people don’t take advantage of the obstacle course apparatuses that are part of the large field that is right next to the center. Although football and soccer are practiced in the fields at the Tennis Center, most people forget there’s a quarter-mile track and obstacle course apparatuses that are around the perimeter of the field.

The obstacle courses combined with the quarter-mile track make for a great aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (resistance/lifting) workout. I often do an obstacle course circuit of pull-ups, push-ups, crunches accompanied by two or three laps around the track. I repeat this circle through four or five rounds.

4. Rock Creek Park: running, horseback riding, golfing and more. On my many runs through Rock Creek Park, I’ve been fortunate to discover all that the park has to offer. The key to making the most of Rock Creek Park is exploring the northern part of the park from Pierce Mill on.

Among the many things that lie north of the park is Beach Drive, which is closed on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. so people can run or bike uninterrupted.

In addition to the Beach Drive section of the park, it also has a great horseback riding trail. Although the two-hour ride through the park is slow paced, it allows you to see parts of the park you don’t get to see if you’re just doing the running trails.

While on the horseback ride, I discovered some new hiking trails in the park as well. Some of the hiking trails are fairly challenging for novice hikers. Last but not least, the park is home to a golf course. Although I’m not much of a golfer, I went to the course and was pretty pleased with it. It’s not the best course but it’s pretty good if you just want to get some practice in.

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