Little Devils Stairs in the Shenandoah Mountains, September 19, 2010

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Last updated March 17, 2014


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About | Carpool Meeting | Cadillac Trails | Adkins | Allegheny | American Chestnut | Anacostia | Appalachian Trail | Bear Run | Black Hill | Blackwater Falls | Blackwater Refuge | Brandywine | Bull Run Mountain | Calvert Cliffs | Canaan Valley | Capital Crescent | Catoctin Mountain | Cedarville | C&O | Coopers Rock | Cunningham Falls | Dolly Sods | Elk Neck | Flag Ponds | Fran Uhler | Gambrill | George Washington | Glendening | Gorman Stream Valley - Gorman Park | Great Falls | Green Ridge | Greenbelt | Greenbrier | Gunpowder Falls | Gwynns | Harpers Ferry | Henson Creek | Herrington Manor | Jug Bay Wetlands | Kain | Kelly's Run | Mason-Dixon | Mason Neck | Meadow Mountain | Merkle | Michaux | Morgan Run | Mount Vernon | New Germany | North Central Railroad | Ohiopyle | Old Rag | Oregon | Patapsco Valley | Patuxent Branch Trail | Patuxent Research Refuge | Patuxent River | Pine Creek | Poplar Lick | Potomac Heritage | Potomac-Garrett | Rachel Carson and Northwest Branch | Robert E. Lee | Rocks | Rocky Gap | Rocky Gorge (aka T. Howard Duckett) | Sassafras NRMA | Savage Park | Savage River | Scott's Run | Seneca Rocks | Seneca Creek Greenway | Shenandoah National | Shenandoah State | Sligo Creek | Soldiers Delight | Sugarloaf | Susquehanna | Swallow Falls | Tuckahoe | Union Mills/Hashawha | Villages of Dorchester | Wincopin | Wooten's Landing | York County Heritage


 
The image above is me hiking at Little Devils Stairs in Shenandoah National Park on September 19, 2010.



About Hiking Locations Below

I've done my best to organize and report the various hiking locations that make for a good day hike or weekend backpack trip from the Baltimore area.  Some of the information might be outdated.  If you see any errors, please contact me.  Information was primarily obtained from studying maps and various websites, then driving to the locations and checking them out.


Driving time, when given, is often expressed relative to Arbutus, Maryland which is at the southern end of Baltimore County, near where the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet.  It is also near the Baltimore Washington International (BWI) Airport and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I also express driving time relative to Hanover, Maryland which is near Arundel Mills Mall, where the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295) and route 100 meet. These are places I have lived.

With the exception of the Capital Crescent Trail, the Gwynns Falls Trail, the Mount Vernon Trail, Sligo Creek Trail, Henson Creek Trail, Anacostia Tributary Trail System, and the Villages of Dorchester Trail, all trails are not paved.



Carpool Meeting Points

Below I've listed a few places where hiking clubs commonly meet to carpool to other sites.

Bagel Bin in Ellicott City
The Howard County Sierra Club commonly meets at the Bagel Bin in the Enchanted Forest Commercial Center on the north side of Baltimore National Pike (route 40) just east of Bethany Lane and west of the Patuxent River in Ellicott City, Howard County. See Howard County ADC map 11 H7.

Broken Land Parkway and Route 32 Park and Ride
The Howard County Sierra Club commonly meets at the Park and Ride at the intersection of route 32 and Broken Land Parkway in Columbia, Howard County. The west side is the "bus patron" lot. See Howard County ADC map 19 J1.

Long Gate Parkway and Route 100 Park and Ride
Just east of route 29 off route 100 is a Park and Ride on the west side of Long Gate Parkway in Columbia, Howard County. See Howard County ADC map 12 C13.

Route 70 and Route 32 Park and Ride
The Howard County Sierra Club commonly meets at the Park and Ride at the intersection of route 70 and Route 32 in West Friendship, Howard County. The lot is northwest of the intersection. See Howard County ADC map 10 C1.

Vienna Metro Kiss and Ride
Several different hiking clubs sometimes meets at the Kiss and Ride (not the Park and Ride) in Vienna. See the Northern Virginia ADC map 14 E5.
Directions: From where highway 95 meets the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south.
At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), head west (counterclockwise) into Virginia.
Take exit 49 to highway 66 west.
Take exit 62 to Nutley Street/Vienna Metro (route 243).
Turn right onto Nutley Street.
Make the next left onto Virginia Center Boulevard.
The Park and Ride and the Kiss and Ride are on the left. The Park and Ride is the first lot and the Kiss and Ride is the second, with the parking meters.
Notes: About 45 minutes from Elkridge. No restrooms but if you head to the east side of the Metro, you can find a wooded area if you really need to pee.



Cadillac Trails

When people refer to something that is first class, they compare it to a Cadillac. Well there are a few famous trails that I would consider Cadillac Trails.

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail: Completed in 1937 and stretches 2175 miles between Maine and Georgia.
  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail: A planned 3100 mile back country route between Mexico and Canada through the Rocky Mountains. The trail, conce completed, will pass through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, including Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
  • Long Trail: A 270 mile footpath that is the oldest long distance hiking trail in the United States.
  • Pacific Crest Trail: Runs 2650 miles between Mexico and Canada passing through California, Oregon, and Washington state.
  • Tahoe Rim Trail: A trail that circumnavigates Lake Tahoe.


  • Adkins Arboretum

    Founded in 1980, Adkins Arboretum, a 400-acre native garden and preserve, promotes the conservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay region's native landscapes. As a model for land management and ecological restoration, the Arboretum fosters community engagement and inspires the adoption of land stewardship practices for a healthier and more beautiful world.

    Visitor center open daily 1000-1600 except Thanksgiving and Christmas. But even if the visitor center is closed, you can still walk the trails.


    Location: 12610 Eveland Road, Ridgely, Maryland 21660; Queen Anne's County ADC map 28 F6
    Phone: 410-634-2847
    Date: June 15, 2013
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east.
    Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pay $2.50 toll one way only.
    Turn left (east) onto Queen Anne Highway (route 404).
    After crossing over Tuckahoe Creek, turn left (north) onto Ridgely Road (route 480).
    Make the next left (north) onto Eveland Road. Follow for 2 miles. The Arboretum is on the left (west) side.

    Notes: Driving time is 1 hour and 18 minutes from Savage. This is an excellent place for a short beginner level or family friendly hike. The 4 miles of trails are extremely easy to follow. They are also suitable for hybrid bicycles. There isn't much to see at Blockston Overlook though maybe there is when there are no leaves on the trees. In the late spring, you'll see lots of mayapples. Walking along the trails near Blockston Branch is very scenic. No need for sunscreen if you are exploring the northern half of the arboretum. The trails connect to the Piney Branch Trail in Tuckahoe State Park. The arboretum has goats in a pen on the south side but as of 2013, there aren't many and they aren't all that friendly. This is an excellent short stop after a trip to Tuckahoe State Park. See my June 15, 2013 blog.



    Allegheny Highlands Trail

    The Allegheny Highlands Trail is a 335 mile work in progress. It will eventually link the C&O Canal Trail in Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On April 1, 2005, the first section of the 21 mile Allegheny Highlands Trail of Maryland officially opened. Together with 6 other trails in Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Highlands Trail is part of the Great Allegheny Passage.

    The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150 mile rail trail which is free of motorized traffic. It includes a 52 mile branch to the Pittsburgh International Airport. The passage will offer a 10-12 foot wide nearly level trail through the Allegheny Mountains along scenic river valleys.

    Allegheny Highlands Trail

    Location:
    Phone:
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions:
    Notes: None yet.


     
    American Chestnut Land Trust
     
    If you are looking for an easy, mostly flat hike of short to moderate length that isn't too far from Washington D.C., then this might be for you. Just don't expect to see any chestnut trees.

    Location: GPS: N38 32.821'/W76 31.982'; 676 Double Oak Road, Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678; Calvert County ADC map 10 F10
    Date: November 13, 2011
    Phone: 410-414-3400
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest. Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Turn left (east) on Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4, south exit). Follow for 23 miles.
    Turn left (east) onto Dares Beach Road (route 402). Follow for 2.4 miles.
    Turn right (south) onto Double Oak Road. Follow for about one mile.
    Make the only left (east) onto a dirt road that passes through a gate. Pass a house and park in a small lot.
    Notes: Check land trust hours and hunting schedule before planning a hike. Parking for about 8 vehicles unless you're willing to back someone in. Porta-john available. One hour and 20 minutes from Savage.

    See my November 13, 2011 blog to read about my hike in the land trust.


     
    Anacostia Tributary Trail System
     
    The Anacostia Tributary Trail System is a link in the national shore-to-shore American Discovery Trail. It provides approximately 18 miles of trails along the tributaries of the Anacostia River.

    Obtain a free map of the Anacostia Trail System and other Prince George's County trails at
         Public Affairs and Marketing Office
         6600 Kenilworth Avenue
         Riverdale, Maryland
    Monday through Friday 0800-1700.

    Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA, Inc.)
         4310 Gallatin Street, 3rd Floor
         Hyattsville, MD 20781
         phone: 301-887-0777
    Anacostia Tributary Trail Map


    Location: Mainly in Prince George's County. Some in Montgomery County. While there are many places one can access the trail, I believe the closest to Baltimore is the access at
         Cherry Hill Road Community Park
         9300 Cherry Hill Road
         College Park, MD 20740-1234
    Phone: 301-699-2407, 301-922-3044 (general), 301-918-8111 (Cherry Hill Road Community Park)
    Date: June 19, 2005
    Directions to Cherry Hill Road Community Park:
    From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) meets highway 95, take highway 95 south.
    Merge onto Powder Mill Road (route 212) west via exit 29B towards Calverton.
    Turn left onto Cherry Hill Road.
    After crossing over highway 495, turn left into the park, just before the College Park Marketplace. Do not confuse the community park with a park that occurs earlier on the right.
    Notes: 25 minute drive. Limited parking. No restrooms. Paint Branch Trail ends at Cherry Hill Road Community Park. I suggest starting a hike at this location then ending or passing through Lake Artemesia Natural Area, a 38 acre lake. Hiking from Cherry Hill Road Community Park to the lake, around the lake, and back is 8.5-9 miles. This natural area includes an aquatic garden and a fishing pier. It is open from dawn to dusk daily. Restrooms at lake. No vehicles are permitted on Lake Artemesia Natural Area grounds. Visitors should enter the park via trails at the 5200 block of Calvert Road in College Park or Osage Street and Swathmore Court in Berwyn Heights. Parking at Branchview/Ballew Avenue in Berwyn Heights.

    Lake Artemesia Natural Area
         55th Avenue and Berwyn Road
         College Park, MD 20740
         Phone: 301-927-2163
    Lake Artemesia
         600 Cleveland Avenue
         College Park, MD


     
    Appalachian Trail
     
    The Appalachian Trail is a continuous, marked footpath stretching from Maine to Georgia, covering 2168 miles.

    Appalachian Trail
    Tales from the Appalachian Trail - History and Archaeology
    White Blaze: A community of Appalachian Trail enthusiats.


    Bear Spring Cabin/Locust Valley Church of God
    Location: Locust Valley, Frederick County ADC map 26 D2 or Washington County ADC map 35 H4
    Date: December 24, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway 340 west.
    At exit 2, turn right (north) on Burkittsville Road (route 17) to the town of Burkittsville.
    Turn left (northwest) on Main Street/Gapland Road. Follow for about 0.3 miles.
    Turn right (north) on Mountain Church Road. Follow for 2.5 miles. When the road splits, be sure to veer left to remain on Mountain Church Road. DO NOT follow the signs for "Locust Valley Bible Church."
    About 0.9 miles after the split, you'll see "Locust Valley Church of God." Park behind the church at the tree line.

    Notes: Lot holds about 20 vehicles. Might be tight on Sunday mornings. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) Bear Spring Cabin is less than a quarter mile away. Take the steep, blue blazed White Rocks Trail to reach the Appalachian Trail at the White Rocks overlook, about 0.9 miles away. Special thanks to Sarah for introducing me to this location.

    11.35 mile car shuttle hike
    Meet group at the parking lot behind the Locust Valley Church of God near Bear Spring Cabin.
    Leave some cars and take the others to Weverton/South Mountain Natural Environmental Area via the following route:
    Take Mountain Church Road south for 1.5 miles.
    Turn right (west) on Arnoldstown Road. Follow for a half mile to Gathland State Park.
    Turn right (west) on Gapland Road and follow for one mile. At the split, veer left to remain on Gapland Road.
    Turn left (south) on Rohrersville Road (route 67). Follow for 4.8 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Weverton Road. Follow for 0.2 miles and park on the right (south) side of the road in the dirt lot.

    Access the Appalachian Trail east of the lot.
    The first stop is the scenic Weverton Cliff which provides a great view of the Potomac River.
    After a little over 6 miles from the start, you'll come to Gathland State Park.
    In another 3.5 miles, you'll come to the White Rocks overlook which will proivde a nice view to the south.
    On the east side of White Rocks (left if you face the overlook from the trail), the blue blazed White Rocks Trail meanders it way down steeply to Locust Valley Church of God near Bear Spring Cabin.
    Special thanks to Sarah for introducing me to this route. See my December 24, 2006 blog.

    Blackburn Trail Center
    Location: 34899 Appalachian Trail Road, Round Hill, Virginia 20141, about 12 miles south of Harper Ferry (hiking distance via Appalachian Trail).
    Phone: 443-621-2648 (caretaker)
    Date: February 19, 2007
    Directions from Baltimore: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway/route 340 west. Drive into Virginia where route 340 is also called Jefferson Pike. Just before an Exxon gas station on the left is Harpers Ferry Road (route 671).
    Turn left (south) on Harpers Ferry Road (route 671). Drive for about 8 miles.
    At Charles Town Pike (route 9), turn left (southeast) towards the town of Hillsboro. Drive for about 1 mile.
    Turn right (south) onto Cider Mill Road (route 751). Watch for a not-so-well-marked turn to the right (south) in about 1.5 miles, just before crossing over a stream. This is Woodgrove Road.
    After about 1.9 miles, turn right (west) on Appalachian Trail Road (route 713), which is a gravel road. In 0.6 miles, state maintenance ends.
    At the sign which reads "End of State Maintenance," head to the right, following the signs for Blackburn Trail Center. People going to center can ignore the "Private Road, No Trespassing" sign.
    Continue around until you reach a three way split.
    Take the center road, cross a wooden bridge and follow the road between two fields. In an ice storm, you may want to park in the field on the left before the road starts heading uphill then have someone with a 4 wheel drive vehicle come get you. Only about a mile left.
    At end of the fields the road enters the woods and starts to climb.
    Drive up the mountain staying on the dirt road following signs for Blackburn.
    There may be a gate on the dirt road. If the caretaker is expecting you, he/she will have it unlocked.
    You can park at the Center to unload, but please move your car to the lower parking lot to allow others to do so as well.
    - OR -
    Directions from Washington D.C.: From where the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495) and highway 95 meet, take highway 495 counterclockwise.
    Take exit 45A to Washington Dulles Airport Access Road (highway 267) west.
    Take exit 1A northwest to Leesburg Pike (route 7).
    After passing through Leesburg, turn right (north) on route 9 heading to Hillsboro. Pay close attention when looking for the exit since it may not be well marked. This exit is about 3 miles after the route 7 and business 15 intersection.
    Turn left (south) on route 719 in Hillsboro. This is easy to miss. It will be shortly after routes 690 and 718.
    Watch for a not-so-well-marked turn to the left (south) in about a mile, just after crossing over a stream. This is Woodgrove Road though it might start out as Stoneypoint Road.
    After about 1.9 miles, turn right (west) on Appalachian Trail Road (route 713), which is a gravel road. In 0.6 miles, state maintenance ends.
    At the sign which reads "End of State Maintenance," head to the right, following the signs for Blackburn Trail Center. People going to center can ignore the "Private Road, No Trespassing" sign.
    Continue around until you reach a three way split.
    Take the center road, cross a wooden bridge and follow the road between two fields. In an ice storm, you may want to park in the field on the left before the road starts heading uphill then have someone with a 4 wheel drive vehicle come get you. Only about a mile left.
    At end of the fields the road enters the woods and starts to climb.
    Drive up the mountain staying on the dirt road following signs for Blackburn.
    There may be a gate on the dirt road. If the caretaker is expecting you, he/she will have it unlocked.
    You can park at the Center to unload, but please move your car to the lower parking lot to allow others to do so as well.
    Notes: There is a parking area for 4-6 cars on the left just before a gate. If the gate is open, you can continue another 100 yards or so to a second parking area for about 6 cars by some old chimneys. Beyond this, there is a sign that says "Authorized Vehicles Only." Continue up the road to the trail center. Follow the more northerly of the two blue-blazed trails to the Appalachian Trail (AT). This climbs via switchbacks to the AT. Northbound AT is to the right, southbound is to the left. Reservations for the Blackburn Trail Center should be made in advance. There are no flush toilets, though the center has all the modern kitchen conveniences, including two dishwashers, refrigerators, microwave oven, etc. There are enough beds for about 25 people. Much of this information was provided by the 2007 caretaker. I highly recommend getting the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club map called "Appalachian Trail Map 7: Western Virginia and Northern Virginia" if you plan on spending any time in this area.

    There are some good car shuttle day hikes that start, end, or pass by the Blackburn Trail Center. Note that these distances are approximate. Also see Cooties, Booties, and Snow.

    Snickers Gap to Blackburn (7 miles):
    Directions: From the Blackburn Trail Center, head south on route 719 towards Round Hill. Route 719 actually passes under route 7 (Harry F. Byrd Highway) but there should be signs that will lead you to the route 7 on-ramp.
    Head southwest on route 7 for about 4 miles.
    Turn right (north) on Pine Grove Road (route 679) then make an immediate right into the parking lot. The parking lot will hold about 6 vehicles. Head north and hike back to the Blackburn Trail Center.
    If heading south on the Appalachian Trail, cross route 7 then head east for less than a quarter mile. The trail will pick up on the right.


    Keys Gap to Blackburn (6 miles):
    Directions: From the Blackburn Trail Center, head northwest on Charles Town Pike (route 9). At the Harpers Ferry Road (route 671) split, veer left to remain on route 9. After about 3.5 miles, there should be parking near where route 9 meets route 32, on the northwest side of the Appalachian Trail.
    Head south and hike back to the Blackburn Trail Center.


    Harpers Ferry to Blackburn (12 miles):
    Directions: From the Blackburn Trail Center, drive to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

    Keys Gap to Snickers Gap (13 miles):
    Directions: See above directions for Keys Gap and Snickers Gap. Obviously, this will require more planning and coordination with the car shuttle.

    Black Rock Road
    Location: Black Rock Road and Loy Wolfe Road. See Frederick County ADC map 11 B1
    Date: June 2, 2007
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 42, turning right at the end of the ramp onto Main Street (route 17).
    Go into the center of Myersville and after 0.6 miles, route 17 will turn right onto Wolfsville Road.
    Continue on route 17 for 0.3 miles to the flashing lights at the intersection of Baltimore National Pike (route 40) and route 17.
    Turn left onto route 40, heading northwest for 2 miles.
    Turn right (northeast) on Pleasant Walk Road. Follow for 1.9 miles, driving slower as you get near mile 2 or you'll miss the next turn.
    Turn left (northwest) on Loy Wolfe Road. Follow for 1.9 miles.
    Look for parking near Black Rock Road. Note the no parking signs south of Black Rock Road.
    Notes: No restroom. The trail begins between two houses directly across from Black Rock Road. Head up this trail. At the split, stay on the right to continue uphill. After a mile, you'll reach the Appalachian Trail. Head left to go south and right to go north. See trip report on June 2, 2007.

    Caledonia State Park: Part of the Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania.

    Gathland State Park
    Location: Gapland Road and Arnoldtown Road, Frederick County ADC map 26 B7 or Washington County ADC map 35 F9
    Date: June 4, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway 340 west. Remain on highway 340 west for 15 miles.
    Turn right (north) on route 67 (Rohrersville Road).  Travel about 5 miles towards Boonsboro.
    Turn right (southeast) on Gapland Road. Travel about 1.5 miles.
    Just after Townsend Road, there will be a stone archway with parking on the left. This is Gathland State Park. Trail runs perpendicular to Gapland Road in either direction. The archway is called the Civil War Correspondents Memorial Arch.

    Notes: Soda machines. This location is about 7 miles from where the trail meets with Weverton Road.

    Greenbrier AT

    Location: Frederick County ADC map 10 G10
    Date: June 2, 2007
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 42, turning right at the end of the ramp onto Main Street (route 17).
    Go into the center of Myersville and after 0.6 miles, route 17 will turn right onto Wolfsville Road.
    Continue on route 17 for 0.3 miles to the flashing lights at the intersection of Baltimore National Pike (route 40) and route 17.
    Turn left onto route 40, heading northwest.
    Follow for 2.5 miles. The parking lot is on the left.
    Notes: Not sure what this place is actually called but since it is right outside of Greenbrier State Park, I'm calling it Greenbrier AT. The parking lot holds about 30 vehicles. No fee. No restrooms. The closest restroom is at the Visitor Center at Greenbrier State Park but there is an entrance fee. Access the Appalachian Trail at the west end of the parking lot. Once on the AT, walk across the highway 70 bridge to head south or walk along highway 70 to head north.

    Harpers Ferry: Yet another place to access the Appalachian Trail.

    Pine Grove Furnace State Park: Part of the Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania.

    Washington Monument State Park
    Location: Frederick County ADC map 18 D3
    Date: March 11, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 49 to Old National Pike (route 40 alternate), heading west.
    After 8.8 miles, turn right onto Washington Monument Road.
    After 0.9 miles, you'll reach a stop sign. Continue straight across the intersection, into the park and follow signs for parking.
    Notes: As of March 2006, the entrance fee is two dollars. Restroom and museum available. Hike 5.5 miles north to Annapolis Rock, a popular climbing area with a scenic view of Greenbrier Lake and an eco-toilet where human waste decomposes quickly with the help of red wiggler worms. Special thanks to Tim R. of the Howard County Sierra Club for introducing me to this area.

    Weverton/South Mountain Natural Environmental Area
    Location: Weverton Road, Weverton, Washington County ADC map 37 D9
    Date: March 16, 2014
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway 340 west. Remain on highway 340 west for 15 miles.
    Turn right (north) on route 67 (Rohrersville Road).  Travel about 0.2 miles.
    Turn right (east) on Weverton Road.  Travel about 0.2 miles.
    There will be a parking lot on the right side of the road before the road turns north.  Trail is towards the east.

    Notes: No restrooms.  This location appears to be the closest connection to the Appalachian Trail from Baltimore. Parking lot holds about 25 vehicles.

    Northeast: The first part of the northeast route is a somewhat rugged wilderness hike.  At the top of the hill is a scenic overlook of the Potomac River called Weverton Cliffs that can be found by following the blue blazes at the top of the ridge.  It is six miles to the next road, Gapland Road, at the Gathland State Park (see below).  Another 5 miles to Reno Monument Road and another mile to Old National Pike (route 40 alternate).  This area, known as Turners Gap, has Dalhgren Backpacker's Campground, which is has real showers, fresh water, and places to pitch your tent. Washington Monument State Park, less than one mile north has restrooms and a telephone.  The highest section of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland is about 2 miles south of Reno Monument Road and is known as Lambs Knoll, elevation ~1750 feet. See my December 24, 2006 and March 9, 2014 blogs.

    Southeast: Travel southwest to get to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park and Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park.  The railroad bridge at Harper’s Ferry is 2.25 miles from Weverton Road.

    If you want to camp near the Appalachian Trail without "roughing it," check out Maple Tree Campground at
         20716 Townsend Road
         Gapland, Maryland 21779
         Phone: 301-432-5585
    This campsite has a picnic pavillion, tree cottage, summer tree house, group rental tent sites, and field sites. Be sure to ask about alcoholic beverage restrictions.
    Click to send e-mail to Maple Tree CampgroundClick to send e-mail

    White Oak Lane
    Location: End of White Oak Lane. See Frederick County ADC map 10 G1 or Washington County ADC map 28 A3
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 42, turning right at the end of the ramp onto Main Street (route 17).
    Go into the center of Myersville and after 0.6 miles, route 17 will turn right onto Wolfsville Road.
    Continue on route 17 for 0.3 miles to the flashing lights at the intersection of Baltimore National Pike (route 40) and route 17.
    Turn left onto route 40, heading northwest for 4.1 miles.
    Turn right (north) onto Crystal Falls Drive (or Road). Follow for 2 miles.
    Turn right (east) on White Oak Lane. Follow to end.

    Notes: Some maps call this White Oak Lane while others call it White Oak Road. The trail travels up Black Rock Creek for a mile to the Appalachian Trail. In this area is Pogo Campsite. Turn left to head north or right to move south. Unexplored.


     
    Bear Run Nature Reserve
     
    The Ohiopyle area of Pennsylvania is full of many things to see such as the Frank Lloyd Wright houses, Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle Falls, the Youghiogheny River, and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. If you get a chance, be sure to also hike at Bear Run Nature Reserve. This 5000 acre reserve has over 20 miles of marked trails. It is owned and operated by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC).

    Bear Run - Watson's Choice
    Bear Run - Local Hikes

    Location: Route 381, 3.5 miles north of Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
    Phone: 724-329-8501
    Date: February 17, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick). Follow for 91 miles.
    Merge onto highway 68 west/route 40 west via exit 1A on the left, towards Cumberland. Follow for 66 miles.
    Merge onto route 40 west via exit 14B towards Uniontown. Follow for 0.7 miles.
    Turn left onto route 40/National Pike which will take you into Pennsylvania. Follow for 20 miles.
    Turn right onto route 381. Follow for eight miles to Ohiopyle. In Ohiopyle, this will also take on the name Mill Run Road. Look for the nature reserve 3.5 miles north of Ohiopyle on the right (east) side of the road.

    Notes: 3.5 hours from Hanover, Maryland. Please wear blaze orange during hunting season (late autumn and winter). Parking for about 30 vehicles. No outdoor restroom though there might be one at Bear Run Center if it is open.

    On the Laurel Run Trail, there is a blue blazed offshoot called Laurel Glen. I highly recommend taking this route down to Laurel Run then hopping across it and up the other side. If there is a good amount of water, you'll see some very nice falls.

    Here's a photo of a map at the parking lot. I added some annotations to denote the trail markings (blazes). Unfortunately, there was no scale so I don't know the lengths of the trails.
         Photo of Bear Run Nature Reserve trail map at parking lot

    There are campsites for backpackers. To make reservations or to just get more information, contact the
         Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC)
         Mill Run, Pennsylvania 15464

    E-mail icon

    If you're in the area, also check out Ohiopyle State Park.

    Read my trip report at Grantsville, Maryland President's Day 2008.


     
    Black Hill Regional Park
     
    Black Hill Regional Park is a terrific place for a family or group outing. There are boat rentals, a fishing pier, paved paths, dirt trails, a dog exercise area, a playground, and covered picnic shelters. The park surrounds Little Seneca Lake. It is a spectacular area for both paved and dirt trail running, casual biking, and casual hiking. However, the hiking trails lack the scenic overlooks common in many other parks and leave the serious hiker wanting much more. The paved trails are often within a stone's throw of homes. They are somewhat reminiscent of the paved trails in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland.

    K9 Trail Blazers: Black Hill Regional Park


    Location: 20930 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, Maryland 20841, Montgomery County ADC map 9 C9
    Phone: 301-972-9396 (park manager)
    Date: May 6, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 35 to highway 270 north.
    Take exit 16A to the Father Hurley Boulevard (route 27) east. This will become Ridge Road.
    Turn left (north) onto Frederick Road (route 355).
    Turn left (west) onto Old Baltimore Road.
    Turn left (southwest) onto Lake Ridge Road.

    Notes: 55 minute drive from Elkridge. Note that the above route is definitely faster than driving via highway 70 toward Frederick. The park has no entrance fee. Restrooms available. Open 0600 to sunset. Boat rental and lauch with access to Little Seneca Lake. One can access the natural surface connector to Black Hill Trail at the Lake Ridge Drive and Black Hill Road intersection. Access to the paved section of Black Hill Trail at the northwest side of Lake Churchill is near the Wynnfield Drive and Shore Harbour Drive intersection. The park offers easy hiking over circuitous dirt trails. I recommend bringing a compass if hiking on on overcast day. I have not yet explored the trails west of the contact station. The trails are not blazed but there are numerous signs at key locations.


      Blackwater Falls State Park
     
    Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River whose amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through an eight-mile long gorge.
    - from Blackwater Falls State Park

    The following information about the park is from a paper titled "Facts and Figures":
  • 3100 feet about sea level
  • 2465 acres
  • 120-150 inches of snowfall per year
  • The gorge is 525 feet deep and 2000 feet wide between the Lodge and Pendleton Point
  • The height of the falls is nearly 60 feet or five stories
  • 1937 - State Park established

  • Blackwater Falls State Park - Wikipedia
    Blackwater Falls Travel Guide


    Location: County Route 29, Davis, West Virginia 26260
    Phone: 304-259-5216
    Date: March 6, 2011
    Directions: From Savage, Maryland, take route 32 west for 18.3 miles.
    Take highway 70 west towards Frederick. Follow for 79.1 miles. If you come of Sykesville Road, you've gone 0.1 miles too far.
    Merge onto highway 68 west via exit 1A on the left, heading towards Cumberland. Follow for 66.9 miles.
    Merge onto highway 219 south via exit 14A toward Oakland. Follow for 48.2 miles, crossing into West Virginia.
    In the town of Thomas, continue straight (don't turn left on 219) onto Spruce Street (route 32 south). Follow for 2.6 miles.
    Turn right (west) onto Blackwater Falls Road (route 29). Follow for 1.1 miles. If you reach Thomas Avenue, you've gone too far.

    Notes: The park has numerous short trails, scenic views, cross country ski trails, and nice cabins for rent. For more information, see
  • October 8, 2006: My first trip to the park.
  • February 14, 2010: Snowshoeing to Lindy Point.
  • March 4-6, 2011: Staying at a cabin with Norma's family.
  • January 11-13, 2013: Cross country skiing with the kayakers.

  • Blackwater Falls State Park - A retreat here makes life there easier.
    - from "Facts and Figures"


     
    Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
     
    The Refuge was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary. It consists of over 27,000 acres of freshwater impoundments, brackish tidal wetlands, open fields, and mixed evergreen and deciduous forests. Currently, the Refuge is managed by the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
    Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Home Page - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


    Wildlife Drive, Refuge Office, and Visitor Center
    Location: 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, Maryland 21613; Dorchester County ADC map 29 G2
    Phone: 410-228-2677
    Date: December 31, 2005
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east.
    Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pay $2.50 toll one way only.  On the eastern shore, highway 50 will split into highway 50 and highway 301.  Stay on highway 50. Pass through Easton. Cross over Senator Frederick C. Malkus, Jr. (Choptank River) Bridge. Follow route 50 (approximately 4 miles) until you come to a traffic light just past the Dorchester Square Shopping Center (Center includes Wal Mart and Food City).
    You will see a brown sign directing you to the refuge. Turn right at this light onto route 16 West (Church Creek Road). Follow route 16 straight through a traffic light at Snow's Turn, until you pass the South Dorchester High School.
    At the blinker light, turn left onto Egypt Road just past the school buildings (first road past the traffic light). Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive.
    You will see a brown refuge sign directing you to turn left onto Key Wallace Drive to go to the Wildlife Drive. Or turn right onto Key Wallace Drive to get to the Refuge Office and to the Visitor Center. If turning right onto Key Wallace, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left, and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left about 2 miles.

    Notes: The Wildlife Drive is about five miles long on a paved road. The entrance to the drive is about a third of a mile southeast from the Egypt Road and Key Wallace Drive intersection. There is a self service pay station near the entrance for both vehicles and bicycles (probably pedestrians too). There are two hiking trails off the drive: a one-third mile trail called Marsh Edge and a one-half mile called Woods Trail. There is parking at the start of both trails. There is also a restroom at the far end of the Marsh Edge parking lot. The Wildlife Drive and associated trails are open from dawn to dusk every day. Pets are not allowed out of vehicles on the Wildlife Drive or on the trails, even if on a leash.

    There is a 2 mile dirt trail that is new as of 2005 located on the northwest side of the Egypt Road and Key Wallace Drive intersection. There is a dirt parking lot at the start of the trail.

    Visitor Center hours are Monday through Friday 0800-1600 and on Saturdays and Sundays 0900-1700. One can purchase the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Paddling Trails map and gifts at the Visitor Center. Restroom available.

    There is a 20 and 25 mile bike loop, both of which start and end at the Visitor Center. These loops overlap only for 2.5 miles. They are on well maintained paved roads. If biking the 25 mile loop, note that Andrews Road may not have a sign.

    If looking to camp overnight, see Taylors Island Family Campground.


     
    Brandywine Creek State Park
     
    This 933-acre park is divided by grey stone walls built of local stone in the late 1800's. At that time the property was a dairy farm owned by the du Pont family. This unique area became a state park in 1965, one of the first parks in the nation to be purchased with Land and Water Conservation Funds.
    - from Delaware State Parks - Brandywine Creek State Park

    Nature Center and Park Office
    Location: Intersection of routes 100 and 92 near 41 Adams Dam Road, Greenville, Delaware 19807; New Castle, Delaware ADC map 3 B11
    Phone: 302-577-3534 (park office), 302-655-5740 (nature center)
    Date: April 14, 2012
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 north.
    At exit 8 in Delaware, take route 202, Concord Pike/Avenue, heading north. Follow for 1 mile.
    Turn left (west) on Powder Mill Road. This is directly across from Murphy Road. Follow for 0.4 mile. The road will change name to Childrens Drive. Follow for another 0.1 mile.
    Turn right (northwest) on Rockland Road (route 232). Follow for 1.6 miles.
    Immediately after crossing over Brandywine Creek, veer right (northwest) onto Adams Dam Road (route 232). Follow for a half mile.
    Turn right (north) into park. Follow 0.6 mile to nature center and park office.

    Notes: One hour and 50 minutes from Savage. Restrooms in park office building and porta-john outside. Picnic area. Access to Indian Springs and Hidden Pond Trail. Tons of parking available. About a half mile walk to Brandywine Creek and the Freshwater Marsh Nature Preserve. Lots of stone ruins along the way. For more information, see April 14, 2012.

    Thompsons Bridge
    This location at the north side of the park provides access to the Northern Delaware Greenway and Rocky Run Trails along with parking for about 16 vehicles and a restroom. For more information, see April 15, 2012.

    As of April 2012, there is no place to camp in the area, either in Delaware or Pennsylvania. So the next best option is to stay at the Days Inn at 5209 Concord Pike (route 202), at the southeast corner of the intersection with route 202 and Beaver Valley/Naamans Road (route 92). This is only 1.5 miles from Thompsons Bridge and 4 miles from the nature center and park office. Their rates are very good for the area and they have a nice breakfast included in the price.


     
    Bull Run Mountain
     
    On August 28, 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee arrived at Thoroughfare Gap with most of his Army of Northern Virginia. They were attempting to reinforce the rest of his army under Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson around Manassas before the Federal Major General John Pope his Army of Virginia could crush them. This last obstacle for Lee was defended by about 12,000 Union troops under the command of Brigadier General James Ricketts. But Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet and his roughly 48,000 troops were able to push the Union Division out of the gap clearing the way to Jackson. This short but important battle allowed for the reunification of the Army of Northern Virginia and the defeat of the Union Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).
    - from Chuck and Cynthia of the Maryland Outdoor Club

    Trailhead Kiosk, Mountain House
    Location: P.O. Box 210, Broad Run, Virginia 20137
    Phone: 703-753-2631
    Date: July 22, 2007
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south to the Washington D.C. Beltway (highway 495).
    Follow highway 495 counterclockwise.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west.
    Take exit 40 to James Madison Highway (route 15) south.
    Turn right (west) onto John Marshall Highway (route 55).
    Turn right (north) onto Turner Road. If you come to route 628, then you've gone too far.
    Just after crossing route 66, turn left (west) onto Beverley Mill Road. Follow to end.

    Notes: There is parking at a stone house on the left. No restroom. Five dollar entrance fee at the trailhead to be paid on the honor system. Maps available at the trailhead. There are several short trails with a gorgeous view to the west at an area north of the designated natural area on the west side.


     
    Calvert Cliffs State Park
     
    These cliffs dominate the shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay for thirty miles in Calvert County.  They were created over 15 million years ago when Southern Maryland was covered by a warm, shallow sea.  Over 600 species of fossils have been identified from these cliffs, with the teeth of various species of shark being the most abundant.

    Calvert Cliffs State Park 1
    Calvert Cliffs State Park 2


    Location: Calvert County ADC map 17 B12
    Date: January 31, 2004
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest.  Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Take Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4) east.  Bear to the right at the split.  Route 4 will turn into Southern Maryland Boulevard.  It will then merge with Solomons Island Road (route 2).
    About 14 south of Prince Frederick, turn left (east) at the sign for Calvert Cliffs State Park.

    Notes: The park has a few short but scenic trails that lead to a beach known for harboring prehistoric shark teeth.


     

    Capital Crescent Trail

    The Capital Crescent Trail is an 11 mile rail-trail path that goes from Georgetown to Silver Spring, Maryland. The southern 7 miles between Georgetown and Bethesda has a 9-foot wide asphalt surface and is in excellent condition. The northern Georgetown Branch extension provides a crushed gravel surface for the last 4 miles between Bethesda and Silver Spring. The two trails are connected by a tunnel located under downtown Bethesda.


    Capital Crescent Trail - DC Rail Trail
    The Capital Crescent Trail Website Homepage
    Fletcher's Boat House

    For a detailed four color trail map, send a self addressed stamped envelope to
         CCCT
         Box 30703
         Bethesda, Maryland 20824

    Fletcher's Boat House
    Location: 4940 Canal Road, Washington D.C. 20007, Montgomery County ADC map 40 K10
    Phone: 202-244-0461
    Date: October 30, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 41 to Clara Barton Parkway.
    Follow the Clara Barton Parkway until it becomes Canal Road at Chain Bridge.
    Continue on Canal Road until the entrance of Fletcher's Boat House at Canal and Reservoir.
    Notes: Plenty of parking available. Picnic area, public phones, and refreshments sold. This location is about 3 miles from the southern end of the trail. Food and restrooms available. Restrooms are on the opposite side of the canal as the boathouse. Special thanks to Susanita for helping scout this trail.



    Catoctin Mountain Park

    In the 1930's, the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration area was created to provide recreation for federal employees.  One of the camps eventually became Camp David, the Presidential retreat.  This retreat is not open or accessible to the public, but the eastern hardwood forest of Catoctin Mountain Park has many other attractions for visitors including camping, picnicking, fishing, and 25 miles of hiking trails.


    Address
         6602 Foxville Road
         Thurmont, Maryland 21788-1598

    Phone
         Visitor Information (TTY): 301-663-9388
         Headquarters: 301-663-9330
    Click to send e-mail to Catoctin HeadquartersClick to send e-mail

    Catoctin Mountain Park

    Location: Frederick County ADC map 6 K5
    Date: January 5, 2004
    Phone: 301-663-9330/9388
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.  This will turn into Catoctin Mountain Highway.  Follow to Thurmont.
    Take the exit to Main Street West turning right (west) at the offramp.  Main Street West will turn into Foxville Road (route 77).  Travel about 2.25 miles.
    Turn right onto Park Central Road then make and immediate right into the visitor center.

    Notes: One hour and 10 minutes from Arbutus. One hour and 17 minutes from Hanover. Visitor center hours are Monday through Thursday 1000 to 1630, Friday 1000 to 1700, and Saturday and Sunday 0830 to 1700.  Telephone, restrooms, trail access, water, and small book and map shop are available at the visitor center.  Several other parking lots and access points to trails exist on Park Central Road.

    There is also parking and immediate trail access on both sides of Foxville Road (route 77) near the bridge over Hunting Creek at Camp Peniel, Frederick County ADC map 7 B6. Room for about 6 vehicles on the north side and 10 vehicles on the south. The trailhead to Chimney Rock is about 100 meters west on the north side of the road.

    Additional parking just west of Catoctin Hollow Road and east of the dam at Hunting Creek Lake. Room for about 20 vehicles. See Frederick County ADC map 6 J6. The Dam Overlook Trailhead is about a tenth of a mile south on the east side of Catoctin Hollow Road. This is the start of the Old Misery Trail.

    There is an overflow dirt lot on the west side of Park Central Road (directly across the visitor center) that holds about 40 vehicles.

    The Hog Rock parking lot off Park Central Road has room for about 40 vehicles. There are toilets at this lot but they may not be open during the winter.

    No parking fees for any lots in Catoctin.

    The trails on the Catoctin side are not blazed but there are signs and the trails are fairly well worn.

    If you are heading from Thurmont Vista to Blue Ridge Summit Overlook, the trail junction is east of the parking lot. The map from the park service does not clearly indicate this.

    Be flexible in planning your hike since Catoctin is home to Camp David, the Presidential retreat. When the President visits, some trails may be closed off. Don't even think of hiking on the closed trails or you'll be in deep sh*t when you get caught.

    Some scenic views include South Bob's Hill Overlook, Chimney Rock, and Thurmont View. Good places for a little rock scrambling include Cat Rock and Wolf Rock.

    On the return trip, there are plenty of gas stations and restaurants at Thurmont Boulevard and Frederick Road which is located at the first exit off Catoctin Mountain Highway (route 15) south from Foxville Road (route 77).  Mountain Gate Restaurant is an old fashioned American buffet.

    See my February 9, 2008 and March 1, 2008 Catoctin and Cunningham Falls hike trip reports.

    Here's a map that I downloaded from the National Park Service then cropped and added my own annotations showing mileage estimates between grey dots.
         Enlarged map of Catoctin area with mileage superimposed

    Be sure to check out Cunningham Falls State Park for more hiking options in the same area.


    Cedarville State Forest

    Cedarville State Forest straddles the Prince Georges County and Charles County boundary. It has 19.5 miles of marked trails built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is home to over 50 species of trees and rare carnivorous plants that thrive in an actively managed 3510 acre forest. Just don't expect to see any of these carnivorous plants.


    Address
         10201 Bee Oak Road
         Brandywine, Maryland 20613

    Location: Charles County ADC map 5 G11
    Date: February 27, 2010
    Phone: 301-888-1410, reservations: 888-432-2267
    Directions: From where highway 95 meets the Washington DC beltway (highway 495), drive clockwise on the beltway.
    Take exit 7A to route 5 south. This will merge with route 301 after 9 miles.
    After another 2 miles, turn left (east) on Cedarville Road at a traffic light. You should see a large white warehouse on the left. Follow for 2.2 miles.
    Turn right (south) on Bee Oak Road. Follow for 1 mile to the park office parking lot on the right.

    Notes: Parking for about 20 vehicles. Restroom. About one hour from Savage. The terrain is wooded and mostly flat. This area is popular with both mountain bikers and hikers. For more information see my February 27, 2010 and June 9, 2013 trip reports and Cedarville State Forest.


     
    Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal/Towpath
     
    The Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) canal follows the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.  The canal served as a transportation route from 1828-1924.  Many original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, remain standing.  The canal's towpath provides a nearly level, unbroken trail through the natural scenery of the Potomac River Valley.  The towpath also makes for an easy hike, run, or bicycling with a road bike.

    C&O Canal National Historical Park, Headquarters
    1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100

    Hagerstown, Maryland 21740-6620
    Phone: headquarters 301-739-4200, visitor information 301-739-4200
    Click to send e-mail to Chesapeke and Ohio InformationClick to send e-mail


    Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal 1
    Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal 2
    Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal 3

    Anglers Inn/Billy Goat Trail
    Location: MacArthur Boulevard, C&O Canal National Historical Park and Trail, Montgomery County ADC map 34 A12
    Phone: 301-767-3714
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 41 to Clara Barton Parkway.
    Turn left (west) onto MacArthur Boulevard.
    There will be a parking lot on the left after about one mile.  Park here.

    Notes: Port-a-johns available.  No fee.  About a half mile northwest on the C&O towpath is the south side of section A (northernmost section) of the Billy Goat Trail.  This is the most rugged part of the trail and one of my personal favorites.  Very rocky but only 1.7 miles long.  About a tenth of a mile southeast on the towpath is the north side of section B of the Billy Goat Trail.  This is an easier section about 1.4 miles long. The Billy Goat Trail can also be accessed at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and Carderock. See Hiking Trails of Great Falls Maryland for a map. My co-worker, Pete, tells me there is a nice beach area off the Potomac River just south of the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center.

    Big Slackwater

    Brunswick Bridge

    Canal Road

    Carderock
    Location: Clara Barton Parkway, C&O Canal National Historical Park and Trail, Montgomery County ADC map 34 E13
    Date: January 5, 2008
    Phone: 301-767-3714
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 41 to Carderock/Great Falls, the last exit in Maryland.
    You will be heading west on the Clara Barton Parkway.
    Go about a mile to the first exit (at the Naval Surface Warfare Center), and follow signs to Carderock.
    Head left to go over the bridge then bear right on the other side of the bridge.
    After the tunnel under the canal, turn right where the road comes to a T.
    There is plenty of parking but the closest is at a lot on your immediate left.

    Notes: Restrooms available.  No fee. The Carderock area is popular with rock climbers. Head east on the towpath to access the east end of the C section of the Billy Goat Trail. Head west to access the west end of the C section or walk a little further to catch the east end of the B section. The Billy Goat Trail can also be accessed at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center and Anglers Inn. See Hiking Trails of Great Falls Maryland for a map. For a trip report of a hike in this area, see January 5, 2008.

    Cushwa Basin
    Location: Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, National Historical Park, 205 West Potomac Street, Williamsport, Maryland 21795; Washington County ADC map 19 H13
    Phone: 301-582-0813 Date: June 6, 2009
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west towards Frederick.
    At exit 26, take highway 81 (Veterans Memorial Highway) southwest.
    Take exit 2 to Potomac Street/Virginia Avenue (route 11) west. After one mile, the road will turn to the left (south). At this point, go straight instead, right into the park.

    Notes: Restrooms, store, and Building America's Canals museum. One hour and 20 minutes from Hanover. The museum is open 1000-1600 daily but seasonal. Admission is free. Consider catching a bite to eat at Desert Rose Cafe at 21 North Conococheague Street in historic Williamsport. For more information, see my trip report from June 6, 2009 and November 24, 2011.

    Edwards Ferry

    Lock 29

    Monocacy Aqueduct
    Location: Montgomery County ADC map 6 H7
    Date: January 5, 2004
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53A to Dwight D. Eisenhower highway (highway 270) southeast.
    Take exit 22, Old Hundred Road (route 109) left (west) at end of ramp.
    Turn right at Comus Road (route 95).  This will lead to the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.
    At the parking lot area at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, bear left at Mount Ephraim Road.  There may not be a sign for this road.  If you are on this road, you should pass the pond on your right.
    Turn right at Mouth of Monocacy Road.  Cross over single lane bridge.
    At the split in the road, stay on the right.

    Notes: Porta-john available.  Limited parking but more available just a short walk to the boat ramp area.  This area connects to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath.  An 8 minute walk northwest on the towpath leads to Indian Flats campground where a porta-john is available.  A 24 minute walk southwest from the parking lot leads to a private whitewater kayaking course.  I think this is where the Olympians train.

    Nolands Ferry
    Location: Tuscarora, Frederick County ADC map 44 E10
    Date: May 22, 2004
    Phone: 301-739-4206
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise) to exit 16, highway 70 west. (to Frederick).
    Take highway 70 to exit 53A, Dwight D. Eisenhower highway (highway 270) southeast.
    Take exit 31 to Buckeystown Pike (route 85), turning right (south) at the end of the ramp.
    Turn right (southwest) onto route 28.  Follow route 28 as it veers to the right and becomes Tuscarora Road.
    Turn left onto New Design Road and follow to the end.  It eventually turns into a gravel road that leads to a park.

    Notes: Porta-john available.  65 minutes from Arbutus.  One can also follow Nolands Road to the park but this appears to be less maintained.  Limited parking but more just before crossing the C&O canal in a dirt area.  Closed sunset to sunrise.

    Point of Rocks

    Seneca Landing Park

    Violettes Lock
    Location: Seneca, Montgomery County ADC map 26 F9
    Date: November 25, 2005
    Phone: 301-739-4206
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 39 to River Road (route 190), heading northwest.
    Turn left onto Violettes Lock Road and follow to end.

    Notes: This may not be the fastest route but it is the simplest. Two porta-johns available. Parking for about 17 vehicles. This site is special in that it has a small gravel boat ramp for those who wish to paddle in the canal. Violettes Lock is at lock 23 and just south of Rileys Lock (lock 24) in Seneca.

    Fletcher's Boat House

    Harpers Ferry


     
    Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
     
    Canaan Valley is the largest high-elevation valley east of the Mississippi River. This position gives it a cool, most climate, harboring plants and animals normally found much further north. Thirty-one miles of access roads and trails are open at various times to hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, and cross country skiers.
    - from Geico Direct, Fall 2006

    Mailing address:
         HC 70, Box 200
         Davis, West Virginia 26260

    Links
    Canaan Valley NWR
    GORP - Canaan Valley
    Hiking in Canaan Valley

    Location: Tucker County, West Virginia
    Date: January 12, 2007
    Phone: 304-866-3858
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Stay on highway 66 until it ends at highway 81.
    Take highway 81 southwest. Stay on highway 81 until the route 55 (second) exit.
    At the stop sign on the exit ramp, turn right (north) on route 55 toward Wardensville. Head into West Virginia. Pass through Wardensville, Moorefield, Petersburg, and into the Seneca Rocks.
    At the stop sign in Seneca Rocks, turn right (west) on route 33/55. Stay on 33/55 until you get into Harman. There will be a sign for the State Parks (Canaan Valley and Blackwater Falls).
    Turn right (north) on route 32. Only 9 miles to go! Stay on route 32. The refuge headquarters is on route 32, about 2 miles past Canaan Valley Resort State Park.

    Notes: About 4.5 hours from Elkridge.

    See January 14, 2007 for a description of a day hike on Table Rock Overlook Trail (TR13) and Railroad Grade Trail (TR110).


     
    Coopers Rock State Forest
     
    Location: 61 County Line Drive, Bruceton Mills, West Virginia 26508
    Date: July 3, 2011
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west. (to Frederick). Follow for 86.3 miles.
    Take exit 1A on the left to merge onto I-68 W/US-40 W toward Cumberland. Continue to follow I-68 west, entering West Virginia. Follow for 97.3 miles.
    Take exit 15 for County Road 73/12 heading north toward Coopers Rock. Follow for 0.3 mile.
    Turn left (west) onto Co Rd 73/73. Follow for 0.9 mile. I'm not so sure about this last part so if you see signs to the park, just ignore my directions and follow the signs.

    Note: 3.5 hours from Savage, Maryland. Lots of things to do. Beautiful rock formations and scenic views. No entrance fee. Check out my July 2, 2011 trip report.

    Coopers Rock State Forest


     
    Cunningham Falls State Park
     
    Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the Catoctin Mountains.  It is known for its history, scenic beauty, and a 78-foot cascading waterfall.  In 1954, this area was split into two parks, divided by Maryland Route 77.  The northern part became Catoctin Mountain Park, a unit of the National Park Service.  The southern part is now Cunningham Falls State Park.   $2 or $3 entrance fee.  Camping only in designated areas for $20 per night.

    Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks, Inc.
    14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
    Thurmont, Maryland 21788

    Cunningham Falls State Park


    Manor Area
    Location: Manor Area Visitor Center, Catoctin Mountain Highway, Thurmont, Maryland 21788, Frederick County ADC map 7 B13
    Date: January 5, 2004
    Phone: 301-271-7574
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.  This will turn into Catoctin Mountain Highway.  Follow towards Thurmont.
    Turn left (west) at Cunningham Falls Park Road.

    Notes: Visitor center, restrooms, campground, picnic tables, and plenty of parking available.  Area connects to Bob’s Hill Trail.  One hour from Arbutus.  This is probably the closest access point to the Cunningham Falls/Catoctin Mountain area from Arbutus.

    William Houck Area
    Location: Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Park, 14039 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont, Maryland 21788, Frederick County ADC map 6 G5 (Falls)
    Date: January 5, 2004
    Phone: 301-271-7574
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.  This will turn into Catoctin Mountain Highway.  Follow to Thurmont.
    Take the exit to Main Street West turning right (west) at the offramp.  Main Street West will turn into Foxville Road (route 77).  Pass the Catoctin Mountain Park visitor center on the right.
    Turn left (southwest) onto Catoctin Hollow Road.
    Turn right onto William Houck Drive.  Follow signs for falls parking lot.

    Notes: About one half mile from parking lot to falls.  Extra parking available near lake.  Restrooms, picnic area, soda machines, beach, and phone available.  One hour and 16 minutes from Arbutus.

    Please note that if you are anywhere near Cat Rock between mid-September and February 28 or mid-April and mid-May, you will want to wear blaze orange since these are the times when hunting is permitted nearby.

    See my February 9, 2008 Catoctin and Cunningham Falls hike trip report.

    Also see Catoctin Mountain Park for more hiking options in the same area.


     
    Dolly Sods
     
    The Dolly Sods Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, in the Monongahela National Forest. It is the highest plateau of its type east of the Mississippi River with altitude ranging from around 4000 feet at the top of a mountain ridge on the Allegheny Front to about 2700 feet at the outlet of Red Creek.
    - from Wikipedia - Dolly Sods

    Forests Roads (FR) 19, 75, and 70 are graveled, rough, steep, and narrow with sharp curves and no guard rails. Conditions can be snowy, idy, muddy, or dusty. There is no snow removal on these roads. FR75 is normally closed January through April. FR70 is closed March through September.
    - from sign at trail head

    The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy provides good topographical maps of the area.

    Additional information can be obtained from the following:

    Cheat-Potomac Ranger District, HC59
    Box 240
    Petersburg, West Virginia 26847
    Phone: 304-257-4488, extension 0
    Monogahela National Forest

    Monogahela National Forest
    200 Sycamore Street
    Elkins, West Virginia 26241
    Phone: 304-636-1800, 888-283-0303 (weekends and after hours)

    Seneca Rocks Discovery Center near the route 28/55 and route 33/55 intersection.

    Phone: 304-567-2827

    GORP - Dolly Sods

    In case of emergency, call
         Tucker County Communications: 911
         Grant County Communications: 304-257-1212

    Public phones are located at
         Canaan Valley Stores on Route 32
         Smokehole Caverns on Route 28

    Dolly Sods Scenic Area
    Scenic Overlook: a spectacular view to the east of the Potomac River valley and mountain ridges extending into Virginia.
    Northland loop trail: a half mile trail with interpretive signs. You'll see bogs and rocky heath barrens that include blueberries, azaleas, mountain laurel, and rhododendron.
    Bear rocks: an expansive view of huckleberry plains, wind blown spruce, and rock cliffs.
    - from sign at trail head

    For directions, see Dolly Sods Wilderness.

    Dolly Sods North
    The beauty of this backcountry is unmatched in its unique landscape, encompassing areas from rock outcroppings, to bogs and marshes, to spruce and hardwood stands offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and hunting.
    - from sign at trail head

    Flatrock and Roaring Plains
    This backcountry of bogs, berries, and rocky heath barrens offers opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and hunting. From the rocky plains, clear mountain streams descend steeply through lush northern hardwood forests.
    - from sign at trail head

    See September 13, 2007 for the description of a 6.7 mile loop hike on Boar's Nest Trail (TR518), FR70, and South Prong Trail (TR517).

    Dolly Sods Wilderness
    The Dolly Sods Wilderness was set aside to preserve the natural character of the land - not just to provide recreational activities. The presence of humans in the Wilderness should not be noticeable. To soften the effects of human use, campsites should be left with no evidence that you were there. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 10 people.

    The trails are not blazed and signs are found only at trail junctions (but not all). Some trails are hard to follow. You should have and know how to use topographical maps and compass. This area is not a place for the unprepared hiker.

    Highly explosive live bombs from World War II training can still be found in Dolly Sods. Do not touch! Report immediately to 1-888-283-0303.
    - from sign at trail head

    One should be advised that the junction of Rocky Point Trail (TR554) and Red Creek Trail (TR514) is particularly confusing. The maps show three trails emerging from this junction but there are in fact four as of September 2006. The trail that heads north and down to Red Creek (rather than northwest or southeast) is not shown on the map and is not maintained. It leads down to the creek but no further.

    Local Hikes - Red Creek Trail

    Location: near Laneville, West Virginia. Mostly in Tucker County. DeLorme West Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer map 38 F3 and F4
    Date: September 9, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 6 southwest to highway 340/522, Front Royal. Stay on route 340.
    After crossing over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River but before crossing the South Fork, turn right (west) on route 55 at the stoplight. Follow route 55 into Moorefield, West Virginia.
    In Moorefield, turn left (south) onto route 55/28, which merges with highway 220.
    In Petersburg, turn right on North Main Street to remain on route 55/28.
    Turn right on Jordan Run Road. If you come to the town of Hopeville, you've gone too far. Remain on Jordan Run Road for one mile.
    Turn left on Forest Road (FR) 19.
    Turn left and follow FR19 for 6 miles to the Dolly Sods Scenic Area. The wilderness is directly ahead of you at the intersection with FR75.
    Turn right for Wildlife and Fisher Spring trailheads; turn left for Rohrbaugh and Red Creek trailheads.

    Notes: The Red Creek trailhead appears south of Red Creek (prior to) on the east side just behind the cabins. Parking for about 8 vehicles. About 4.25 hours from Elkridge.

    Special thanks to Norma for taking me to Dolly Sods. For photos from our trip, see September 9-10, 2006.


     
    Elk Neck State Park

    This park is located on the peninsula formed by the North East and Elk Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.  It is comprised of sandy beaches, marshlands and heavily wooded bluffs.  A few trails wander through the area, including an easy walking trail to Turkey Point Lighthouse which provides a view of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay.

    Elk Neck State Park


    Location: Cecil County ADC map 19 F9
    Date: February 7, 2004
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 northeast through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
    At exit 100, take North East Road (route 272) south towards North East.  Route 272 will turn into Turkey Point Road.  Drive through the town of North East, then into Elk Neck State Park.
    For camping area, turn left at sign which reads “Elk River Area Camping, Cabins, Park Store,” Campground Road.

    Notes: Five short trails in park, the longest being 2 miles.  For camping reservations, call 1-888-432-2267 Monday through Friday 0800 to 2000 or make reservations via the internet.  70 minutes from Arbutus.


     
    Flag Ponds Park
     
    This 327-acre park just north of Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County, Maryland features one-mile of sandy beach on the Bay and over two miles of hiking trails.

    Location: Calvert County ADC map 16 H3
    Date: April 9, 2006
    Phone: 410-586-1477 (information), 410-535-5327 (reservations)
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest. Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Take Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4) east. Bear to the right at the split. Route 4 will turn into Southern Maryland Boulevard. It will then merge with Solomons Island Road (route 2). Stay on route 4 for a total of 28 miles.
    Just 10 miles south of Prince Frederick, look for the sign and turn left.
    If you get to the entrance to the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station, you've gone too far.

    Notes: The park has a few short but scenic trails that lead to a beach known for harboring prehistoric shark teeth. The park is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 0900-1800. In April through May, and September through October, it is open 0900-1800, weekends only. Annual Park Pass: 15 dollars for in-county residents, 20 dollars for non residents. April through October: 4 dollars for in-county residents, 6 dollars for non-residents. November through March: 3 dollars in-county resident or non-resident. Fee is per car. At the visitor center, there are restrooms, soda machines, water fountain, and pay phone. Trails are not blazed but easy to follow. Trail maps available at the entrance. The park has numerous boardwalks, bay and pond views, and beach access. Very scenic but very short trails. I suggest making this a dual trip and checking out Calvert Cliffs State Park also.


     
    Fran Uhler Natural Area
     
    This little area is centrally located to many people in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area yet known by few. With no trail blazes, few signs, and no published maps (to the best of my knowledge), it is no wonder why these trails remain so well hidden.

    Fran Uhler Natural Area/Race Track Spur
    Fran Uhler Natural Area Trail Reviews
    Fran Uhler Natural Area - Prince George's County Department of Park and Recreation

    Location: Prince Geoge's County ADC map 5291 A9
    Date: January 16, 2010
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295) and the route 32 meet, take 295 south.
    Take the Laurel Bowie Road (route 197) exit, heading southeast for 6.2 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Race Track Road. Follow for 0.9 miles.
    Make a next left immediately after Kimberwick Drive on the left.

    Notes: Parking for about 32 vehicles at the WB&A trail lot. Porta-john available. Trails begin at the northeast end of lot. Little elevation change. Lots of wetlands. For more information, see my January 16, 2010 trip report.


     
    Gambrill State Park
     
    On September 7, 1934, the city of Frederick presented land on Catoctin Mountain to the state of Maryland for use as a state park.  This park was named to honor the late James H. Gambrill, Jr., a Frederick resident and leading advocate of the conservation of natural resources.  The park offers fishing, hiking, and camping adventures.  I used to live in a town called Gambrills, but the park and the city are nowhere near each other.

    Gambrill State Park


    Friends of Cunningham Falls and Gambrill State Parks, Inc.
    14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
    Thurmont, Maryland 21788

    Location: 8602 Gambrill Park Road, Frederick, Maryland 21702. Frederick County ADC map 20 C9
    Date: October 15, 2005
    Phone: 301-271-7574 (park office), 1-888-432-CAMP (camping reservations), 1-800-825-7275 (park watch)
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.
    Take exit 13B to West Patrick Street (route 40) northwest.  Be sure to stay on route 40 at the split (right).  Do not take route 40 alternate. At the next split, again be sure to stay on route 40 (right lane). Do not take the ramp back onto highway 70.
    Turn right on Gambrill Park Road and follow one mile to the Rock Run Area entrance on your left to reach the campground or continue on Gambrill Park Road to reach the trail parking lot at the sign which reads "Gambrill State Park Trail System Parking Area."

    Notes: The park has over 16 miles of wooded trails and campground. Open 0800 to sunset. No overnight parking except for campers. About 0.6 miles north of the trail parking lot on the left is the visitor center where maps can be purchased for $3 as of October 2005. No fee to park in the trail parking lot which will hold about 16 vehicles. Three dollar honor system fee (for Maryland residents) to use the High Knob area just 0.4 miles northwest of the trail parking lot. Four dollar fee for out-of-state residents. About 57 minutes from Arbutus and Savage. See my February 1, 2014 blog.


     
    George Washington National Forest

    GORP - George Washington National Forest
    George Washington National Forest

    Big Schloss
    Location: Liberty Furnace, Virginia
    Date: November 3, 2006
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take highway 81 south.
    At Woodstock, exit onto route 42 west.
    Prior to Columbia Furnace (in 5.5 miles) bear right onto Union Church Road (Church and Graveyard at intersection).
    Turn right onto route 675.
    Bear right at junction with route 717 which is straight ahead. Stay on route 675 (Wolf Gap Road).
    In 2 miles, turn right onto FR 92. Travel 4 miles. Park on the right before crossing creek.

    Notes: Directions provided by Mike J.. When monitoring the weather, check Woodstock, Virginia then subtract 5 degrees. Read my backpacking trip report of this area at November 3-4, 2007.

    Buzzard Rock Trail
    Location: Waterlick, Virginia
    Date: August 27, 2006
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 6 southwest to highway 340/522, Front Royal. Stay on route 340.
    After crossing over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River but before crossing the South Fork, turn right (west) on route 55 at the stoplight. Drive for 6.2 miles.
    Turn left at Fort Valley Road (road 678) in Waterlick. Drive for 1.2 miles.
    Turn left on Mountain Road (road 619). Cross over Passage Creek. Drive for 1.2 miles.
    Turn right into the parking lot. It will be across from address 3094. Look for the "Buzzard Rock Trail" sign.

    Notes: Parking for about 8 vehicles. No restroom. About 2.25 hours from Elkridge. No fee.

    Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area

    Location: Waterlick, Virginia
    Date: August 27, 2006
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 6 southwest to highway 340/522, Front Royal. Stay on route 340.
    After crossing over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River but before crossing the South Fork, turn right (west) on route 55 at the stoplight. Drive for 6.2 miles.
    Turn left at Fort Valley Road (road 678) in Waterlick. Drive for 4 miles.
    Turn left into the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area (past the group camping sign). Parking is on the right over a small bridge.

    Notes: Location not verified via car. Passed by recreation area on other hike.

    Signal Knob
    Location: Waterlick, Virginia
    Date: October 13, 2007
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 6 southwest to highway 340/522, Front Royal. Stay on route 340.
    After crossing over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River but before crossing the South Fork, turn right (west) on route 55 at the stoplight. Drive for 6.2 miles.
    Turn left at Fort Valley Road (road 678) in Waterlick. Drive for 3.5 miles.
    Turn right into the parking lot at the sign which reads "Massanutten Trail, Signal Knob Parking."

    Notes: Parking for about 20 vehicles in a dirt lot. No restroom but there is one about an eighth of a mile further on the left at the sign that reads "Group Camp." For a writeup of Signal Knob hike I did, see October 13, 2007. Also see HikingUpward: Signal Knob.


     
    Parris N. Glendening Nature Preserve
     
    This set of trails is for the most part unknown. There are approximately 4 miles of easy to follow trails and a large number of less used trails. The trails are not blazed or blazed infrequently. Some fade away and others just come to a dead end. For those willing to add a little more fun to their hike, try Letterboxing (not sure if this still takes place here). If it does, pamphlets will be at the Wrighton Road entrance should describe this challenge.

    Black and white copies of this map are available at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Visitors Center. Many of the trails on this map are not maintained and have been lost through lack of upkeep.

    Location: Bristol, Maryland, Prince George's County ADC map 28 A5 and A7 (note that the Sanctuary is located in Anne Arundel County and also appears on the Anne Arundel County ADC map)
    Date: December 21, 2008
    Phone: 410-741-9330
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest. Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Turn left (east) on Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4, south exit). Follow for 1.6 miles.
    Turn right onto Waysons Corner Annapolis (route 408, Mount Zion Marlboro Road). This will eventually run parallel and just south of Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4). You may see signs that refer to it as Southern Maryland Boulevard. Follow for 0.9 miles until it ends. If you miss this exit or if you want somthing a little faster, take the Service Road exit then turn left.
    Turn right (southeast) onto Plummer Lane.
    Make an immediate right (west) onto Entrance Road.
    Park at the Plummer House.
    Notes: The area is open for hiking on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 0900 to 1700. There is a $3 admission fee. Visitors should call ahead or check in at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary visitor center before hiking. The Plummer House has restrooms but they may not always be open. There are restrooms at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Visitors Center.

    The red and blue trails seems to be fairly well maintained. Near the northernmost end of the red trail is a picnic table and an open area. Some small prickly pear too. There is a white trail that leads to the Plummer House which is at the northeast end of the Sanctuary.

    See December 21, 2008 to read about my hike in the Preserve.


     
    Great Falls
     
    Great Falls is a spectacular, rocky area along a white water rapids section of the Potomac River. It is popular with hikers, rock climbers, and white water kayakers. One set of trails exists along the Maryland side while another is along the Virginia side. As of April 2006, the entrance fee for either park is five dollars per vehicle. Your receipt will get you back into either side for three days.

    Difficult Run Stream Valley Park
    Location: 8801 Georgetown Pike, Fairfax County, Virginia, See Maryland Montgomery County ADC map 33 H13
    Date: April 30, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 44 to Georgetown Pike (route 193) west.
    Follow Georgetown Pike for about three miles. The parking lot for Difficult Run Stream Valley Park will be on your left, before Old Dominion Drive (route 738).
    Notes: No fee, no restroom. Dirt parking lot has space for about 26 cars. One can access Difficult Run Trail on the southwest side of Georgetown Pike (route 193). On the other side of Georgetown Pike (route 193), immediately across from the parking lot, there is an unmarked dirt trail that heads northeast. This unmarked trail leads to Ridge Trail in Great Falls Park. To get to Swamp Trail from the unmarked trail, head left (northwest) on Ridge Trail, then turn right (north) on the dirt trail with the wooden fence that reads, "No bikes, no horses." Or, venture onwards, almost to Old Dominion Drive (route 738), to see Verizon cell phone tower site AJ-165. Notice how the tower has been cleverly disguised as a tree, about 50 meters tall. See photo below. This photo was created by pasting three photos together to capture the entire tree, hence the lighting irregularities.
         
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.

    Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Maryland
    Location: 11710 MacArthur Boulevard, C&O Canal National Historical Park and Trail, Rockville, Montgomery County ADC map 33 H9
    Date: April 30, 2006
    Phone: 301-767-3714
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 41 to Clara Barton Parkway.
    Turn left (west) onto MacArthur Boulevard.
    When the road splits at route 189 (Falls Road), stay on the left.  Follow to the end at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor’s Center.

    Notes: Fee to enter the Visitor’s Center.  Restrooms, historic buildings, tours, snack stand, and a shop available.  One quarter of a mile south on the C&O towpath is a short trail/boardwalk that connects to the Great Falls Overlook, a scenic waterfall view of the Potomac River.  About a third of a mile further is the north side of section A (northernmost section) of the Billy Goat Trail.  This is the most rugged part of the trail.  Very rocky but only 1.7 miles long.  There are also a significant number of wooded trails east of both the Billy Goat Trail and the C&O towpath. To avoid the entrance fee, see Anglers Inn or Carderock. See Hiking Trails of Great Falls Maryland for a map. For more information, see June 18, 2011.

    Great Falls Park, Virginia
    Location: Fairfax County, Virginia, See Maryland Montgomery County ADC map 33 G9
    Date: April 30, 2006
    Phone: 703-285-2965
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 44 to Georgetown Pike (route 193) west.
    After about 3 miles, turn right (north) at a traffic light onto Old Dominion Drive (route 738).
    The entrance to the park is about one mile down the road on Old Dominion Drive.
    Notes: Fee to enter the Visitor’s Center. This well maintained park has a visitor center open Monday through Friday 1000 to 1700, Saturday and Sunday 1000-1800. The visitor center has a book store. There is ample parking, a snack bar, and rest rooms. Rock climbers must sign in. About 48 minutes from Elkridge. To avoid the entrance fee, enter the park via Difficult Run Stream Valley Park. Special thanks to Dr. Chuck for helping explore this location. The hiking in this park is good but not as challenging as the hiking on the on the Maryland side. This park is popular with families out for a leisure picnic. For more information, write to
         Great Falls Park
         George Washington Memorial Parkway
         Turkey Run Park
         McLean, Virginia 22101


     
    Green Ridge State Forest
     
    Location: 28700 Headquarters Drive NE, Flintstone, Maryland 21530-9525, Allegany County ADC map location TT6
    Date: November 1, 2009
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick). Follow for 91 miles.
    Merge onto highway 68 west/route 40 west via exit 1A on the left, towards Cumberland. Follow for 16.9 miles.
    Take exit 64, turning right (south) onto M.V. Smith Road.
    After crossing back under highway 68, turn right onto Headquarters Drive and follow to the end where you will arrive at the State Forest Headquarters and Visitors Center.
    Notes: The park has several hiking trails, ATV trails, mountain bike trails, campsites, and kayak launch sites. It is also one of the few places to go backpacking in Maryland other than the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Towpath. See my trip report from November 1, 2009.


     
    Greenbelt Park
     
    Location: 6565 Greenbelt Road (route 193), Greenbelt, Maryland 20770, Prince Georges County ADC map 5410 F4
    Date: May 2, 2009
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) head south on the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295).
    Take the Greenbelt Road (route 193) exit. It is the exit right after highway 95.
    At the traffic light, turn left (south).
    Veer right (west) onto Greenbelt Road (route 193).
    The park entrance will be after 0.75 miles on the left (south).
    Notes: The park has a few short trails and a campground. 30 minutes from Hanover. See my trip report from May 2, 2009. For more information, see
         Greenbelt Park - NPS


     
    Greenbrier State Park
     
    Greenbrier is a multi-use park with a 42-acre man-made freshwater lake providing many kinds of recreation. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park. Visitors enjoy hiking, camping, sunbathing, mountain biking, hunting, boating, and fishing opportunities. Swimming is permitted May through September (lifeguards Memorial Day to Labor Day).

    For more information, see Greenbrier State Park.

    Location: Frederick County ADC map 10 F9
    Date: June 2, 2007
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 42, turning right at the end of the ramp onto Main Street (route 17).
    Go into the center of Myersville and after 0.6 miles, route 17 will turn right onto Wolfsville Road.
    Continue on route 17 for 0.3 miles to the flashing lights at the intersection of Baltimore National Pike (route 40) and route 17.
    Turn left onto route 40, heading northwest.
    Follow for three miles. The park is on the left.
    Notes: The park has several trails...enough for a moderate day hike but that's all. However, with the Appalachian Trail passing right by, this park would make a nice base camp for a weekend event. Best of all, on a hot summer day, a swim in the designated swimming areas of the lake will help one keep cool. There is a large beach on the northeast side fo the lake. Park near the visitor center to access the rocky Bartman Hill Trail which connects to the Appalachian Trail. As of June 2, 2007, there is a $4 per vehicle entrance fee. If you only want to hike the AT and don't want to pay the entrance fee, see Greenbrier AT. About 70 minutes from Hanover. See June 2, 2007 for a 10 mile Appalachian Trail and Greenbrier State Park hike.


     
    Gunpowder Falls State Park
     
    Gunpowder Falls State Park is comprised of nearly 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties.  It  was created to protect the stream valleys of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River.  This long, narrow park contains tidal marshes, wetlands, and steep, rugged slopes.  There are over 100 miles of trails, including the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT).  Park areas include the following:

    • Hereford Area along York Road in Parkton
    • North Central Railroad Trail which extends from Ashland to the Pennsylvania line
    • Central Area which extends from Baldwin to Days Cove along both river valleys and includes the historic village of Jerusalem
    • Hammerman Area which is located in Chase near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Grace Quarters Road and offers a swimming beach on the Gunpowder River
    • Dundee Creek Marina, also located in Chase which offers boat launching, rowboat rental, fuel and a marina store

    Gunpowder Falls State Park

    For more information, call 410-592-2897 or write to
         Gunpowder Falls State Park
         2813 Jerusalem Road
         P.O. Box 480
         Kingsville, Maryland 21087
    In case of emergency or to report a violation, call 1-800-825-PARK

    Bel Air

    Location: Baltimore County ADC map 29 G1
    Date: January 8, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 northeast through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
    Take exit 64B to the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) counterclockwise (towards Towson). Note that this exit may not have an exit number on the sign. Follow for a mere 1.3 miles.
    Take exit 32B to Bel Air Road (route 1) northeast. Pass Miller Road and the Park and Ride, both on the left. Crossing over Gunpowder Falls. Park in the lot on the right just after the bridge over Gunpowder Falls.

    Notes: There are four options for hiking. One can head southeast on the north side of the river or the south side. Or, one can head northwest on the north side of the river or the south side. The northwest side on the north side has the most trails that branch from the river. This section is known as the Sweathouse Branch Wildland Stocksdale Trail and Sweathouse Trail. Medium sized dirt lot with overflow parking. One can also park at the Park and Ride southwest of the bridge just off Bel Air Road (route 1) on the north side. If crossing the bridge on foot, cross on the dirt trails on either side of the road that lie several meters below. The trail on the northeast side of the river that heads southeast goes to at least highway 95, maybe further. The trail on the southwest side of the river that heads southeast probably goes to at least to Pulaski Highway (route 40). Not sure if there are maps of the trails in this area. The parking lot has a drawn map on a sign but no map handouts. 34 minutes from Arbutus. Special thanks to Susanita for helping scout this area.

    Bunker Hill Trail and Gunpowder North Trail

    Location: Baltimore County ADC map 6 D8
    Date:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 27 to Mount Carmel Road (route 137) right (east).
    Take York Road (route 45) left (north).
    Turn left (northwest) onto Bunker Hill Road.  Travel about one mile to the Bunker Hill South Parking Lot lot on the left.  About 0.35 miles further (just after the Gunpowder Falls) is Bunker Hill North Parking Lot.

    Notes: The south parking lot has access to the Bunker Hill Trail while the north lot has access to Gunpowder North Trail

    Gunpowder South Trail and Highland Trail
    Location: Baltimore County ADC map 6 K7
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 31 to Middletown Road left (northwest).
    Turn left onto Falls Road.  Shortly after crossing over the Gunpowder Falls is the Falls Road Parking Lot on the right.  About 0.45 miles further is the Highland Trail Parking Lot.

    Notes: The Falls Road Parking lot connects to the Gunpowder South Trail while the Highland Trail Parking Lot connects to the Highland Trail.

    Mingo Trail
    Location: Baltimore County ADC map 7 C11
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 27 to Mount Carmel Road (route 137) left (west).  The Mount Carmel Road Parking Lot is about 0.4 miles from the turnoff on the left.  If you come to Miller Lane or Masemore Road, you have gone too far.

    Notes: The Mount Carmel Road Parking Lot connects to Mingo Ridge Trail and Mingo Valley Trail.  Both of these trails connect to the Mingo Forks Trail.

    Gunpowder North and Gunpowder South Trail
    Location: Baltimore County ADC map 7 J8
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 27 to Mount Carmel Road (route 137) right (east).
    Turn right (south) at York Road (route 45).
    Make an immediate left at Monkton Road (route 138).
    Turn left onto Big Falls Road.  The Big Falls Road Parking Lot is on the left just before crossing over the Gunpowder Falls.

    Notes: This is the easternmost side of the Gunpowder Falls State Park Hereford Area.  It is an excellent location to catch either the Gunpowder Falls North or South Trail.

    For a unique getaway in the Gunpowder River valley, check out Mill Pond Cottage.


     
    Gwynns Falls Trail
     
    The Gwynns Falls Trail is a 15 mile linear greenway connecting over 30 neighborhoods and almost 2000 scenic acres of parkland in the western and southwestern sides of Baltimore City. There are 9 trailheads with parking. Located in West Baltimore, Gwynns Falls and Leakin Park together comprise more than 1,000 acres which makes it one of the larger urban wilderness preserves in the United States.

    Gwynns Falls Trail Council
    800 Wyman Park Drive, 010
    Baltimore, Maryland 21211-2821
    phone: 410-448-5663, ext. 135
    Gwynns Falls Trail

    Gwynns Falls Trail Headquarters
    Baltimore City Recreation and Parks
    1901 Eagle Drive in Leakin Park
    Baltimore, Maryland 21207-7353
    phone: 410-396-0440

    Winans Meadow Trailhead
    Location: 4500 North Franklintown Road, Baltimore County ADC map 33 K11
    Date: November 12, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise). Take exit 16, to highway 70 east (towards the Park-and-Ride).
    Take the exit 91 ramp, turning right at the end of the ramp onto Security Boulevard north.
    From Security Boulevard, make a right onto Forest Park Avenue (just before the stop light).
    Make an immediate right onto Franklintown Road.
    At the stop sign at the bottom of the hill, make a left to stay on Franklintown Road.
    Proceed 1.6 miles (passing Winans Way) to Winans Meadow Trailhead which will be on your left.

    Notes: Restroom available. Several dirt trails in Leakin Park and some paved trails meet at Winans Meadow Trailhead. 20 minutes from Elkridge in light traffic.

    Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway

    While you are in the area, check out the Carrie Murray Nature Center which is a short walk from Winans Meadow Trailhead.
         1901 Ridegtop Road
         Baltimore, Maryland 21207
         phone: 410-396-0808


     
    Harpers Ferry

    Harpers Ferry is a national historic park in West Virginia established in 1944. It is located where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River. The park is full of Civil War era history represented by an old town re-built in the motif of the mid-1800s and documented by several informative signs placed at key locations both in the town and on the hiking trails. There are a multitude of hiking opportunities in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia that all originate from Harpers Ferry.

    The park rangers are quite helpful in recommending trails. They don't leave maps out on their desk but they have them behind the desk and will provide you with one if asked. Many people leave their car at the visitors center to do overnight backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. Just make sure you let the rangers know and fill out a form at the visitors center before leaving your vehicle after closing hours.

    Kettlecorn lot
    Location: Jefferson Pike (U.S. Route 340), Loudoun County, Virginia
    Date: May 13, 2007
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway/route 340 west. Follow for 16 miles. Drive into Virginia where route 340 is also called Jefferson Pike. Just before an Exxon gas station on the left is Harpers Ferry Road (route 671), but don't turn on it. I just give it as a key landmark.
    Just after the gas station is a dirt parking lot on the left. We call this the "kettlecorn" lot because there is often a kettlecorn vendor there on weekends. Park in this lot. Lot will hold about 40 vehicles. 65 minutes from Hanover.
    Notes: About 1 hour and 3 minutes from Arbutus. The Exxon station has restrooms. No need to ask for the key. No fee. At the west end of the lot (the side furthest from the Exxon) is a trail that leads to Loudoun Heights.

    Tri-State Circuit Hike
    On May 27, 2006, I learned of a nice nine mile circuit hike that includes Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Loudoun Heights, Harpers Ferry, and Maryland Heights. Be sure to bring $4 (as of June 2007). Parking may be free but there is still a charge to get into Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. See fees and reservations for details:
  • Begin at the kettlecorn lot in Virginia.
  • Walk east on Jefferson Pike (route 340) towards the Exxon. Use the restroom at Exxon. Be sure to buy gas or snacks there later.
  • At Harpers Ferry Road, cross route 340 to the north side (opposite the Exxon).
  • Cross the route 340 bridge over the Potomac River into Maryland.
  • Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left onto an unmaintained dirt trail that leads steeply down to the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath and the Appalachian Trail. The two reside as one for about 0.9 miles. Follow this trail heading west (towards Harper's Ferry).
  • At canal lock 32 (a stony decrepid one which hasn't been restored), turn right (north). You are now 1.46 miles from the start. Head up the railroad embankment, over the tracks, and onto Sandy Hook Road.
  • Turn left (west) on the road, and follow towards the roadway bridge over the railroad tracks. Stay well to the side of the road, walking in single file as there is little room for traffic and buses often use this road. Walk along Sandy Hook Road for about 0.2 miles.
  • Just before you cross the bridge, take the trail leading up to Maryland Heights via a back entry not shown on maps. This entry is behind a concrete wall that connects to the east side of the bridge. The trail starts out very steep but soon turns into a gradual incline. It is narrow but well defined. No blazes.
  • The trail will head west and eventually come to a small rocky overlook. This is not Maryland Heights though the view is almost the same. Walk uphill just a bit and pick up the trail again on the left. The next rocky overlook (about a 2 minute walk) is Maryland Heights. There should be a sign to your right as you come to the overlook mentioning the history of the area.
  • After a break and photo shoot, head uphill on the Overlook Cliff Trail. This should be blazed red.
  • Once the trail comes to a 'T,' head left (west). If you go to the right (east), the trail will go downhill and out of the park onto private land. It will literally dead end.
  • If you want to add an extra two miles to your hike, include the Stone Fort Loop which is quite hilly. Otherwise, walk northwest on the trail which will curve counterclockwise, down to the trailhead at Harpers Ferry Road.
  • Walk southeast on the C&O Towpath.
  • Cross the Potomac River on the Appalachian Trail Footbridge to reach Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. Use the restrooms in Harpers Ferry.
  • Follow the Appalachian Trail through West Virginia. Pass through town, Jefferson Rock, and to route 340. Have lunch at Jefferson Rock.
  • Turn left (southeast) on route 340. Cross over the Shenandoah River into Virginia.
  • Cross under the route 304 bridge to the Appalachian Trail. Head uphill, crossing Chestnut Hill Road.
  • Take the Loudoun Heights Trail (second left) after the powerlines. Head northeast.
  • The Loudoun Heights scenic overlook is the one without the view of the powerlines.
  • After the overlook, head downhill.
  • At the split in the trail after the overlook, head right to get back to the kettlecorn lot. If heading left, you will get to route 340, east of the lot.
  • The entire hike without the Stone Fort Loop is 9 miles. With the Stone Fort Loop, it is 11 miles. Special thanks to Tim R. for leading the trip which taught me this great circuit hike. See May 27, 2006, May 12, 2007, June 24, 2007, October 20, 2007, and November 8, 2009 for more information and photos.

    Tri-State Circuit Hike Reversed
    On May 12, 2007, I tried to do a slightly modified and longer version of the Tri-State Hike but in reverse. Special thanks for Dr. Chuck for joining me on this scouting hike. Note that our pace was pretty slow (about 2.5 mph). Be sure to bring $4 (as of June 2007). Parking may be free but there is still a charge to get into Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. See fees and reservations for details:
  • Begin at the kettlecorn lot in Virginia.
  • At the southwest side of the lot, pick up the Loudoun Heights Trail heading west. Pass by a good deal of litter.
  • After about 4 minutes, there will be an intersection. Turn left to head uphill.
  • In 0.57 miles (~15 minutes), you should be at Loudoun Heights a scenic overlook to your right. Don't know the elevation here but I'm guessing about 600 feet above sea level. From this overlook, to your immediate front you'll see the Potomac River and to your left, Harpers Ferry.
  • At mile 1.12 (~29 minutes), you'll be at the power lines, which has a similar though not as impressive view as the Loudoun Heights overlook.
  • At mile 2.18 (~56 minutes), you should be at the intersection of the Loudoun Heights Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Turn right (northwest) on the Appalachian Trail and begin walking downhill.
  • At mile 2.39 (~62 minutes), come to the intersection of the Orange Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Supposedly, we passed where the Orange Trail met with the Loudoun Heights Trail before reaching the Appalachian Trail though we never saw this junction.
  • At mile 2.75 (~1 hour 10 minutes), the Appalchian Trail will cross Chestnut Hill Road (route 32).
  • Continuing north, cross over the Sheandoah River at the route 340 bridge. You are now in West Virginia.
  • At the north end of the bridge, you'll see a parking lot at mile 3.62 (~1 hour 36 minutes). Walk down the road (south) to get to this lot.
  • Cross Shenandoah Street and continue on an open dirt area. This is a popular launch site for whitewater kayakers.
  • Before reaching the railroad tracks, there will be a dirt trail about the width of a vehicle. Turn left (east) and follow this path.
  • The trail will lead under the railroad tracks at mile 4 (~1 hour 45 minutes). Follow to Virginius Island which is not really an island.
  • Continue east, walking parallel to the Shenandoah River, heading downstream.
  • At mile 4.6 (~2 hours 7 minutes), you should be in Harpers Ferry near the restrooms and information center. There are various grassy areas just south of Shenandoah Street that make for nice lunch stops. One can also venture north on High Street for less than a quarter mile to buy lunch or find various ice cream shops at places like "The Coffee Mill." A 45 minute lunch break should suffice.
  • Pass through the east side of Harpers Ferry to "The Point" where you'll have a nice view of where the Shenandoah River merges with the Potomac River to head east.
  • Cross the footbridge over the Potomac River.
  • You are now in Maryland.
  • At the base of the bridge, head northwest on the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath. You should be near mile 61 on the towpath at lock 33.
  • At mile 5.79 (~3 hours 20 minutes, assuming a 45 minute lunch was taken), cross over the footbridge to your right to get to the other side of the C&O Canal. You should then see where the trail that leads to Maryland Heights picks up on the opposite side of Sandy Hook Road.
  • Start heading up the trail. It is green blazed and called Military Road; a moderate ascent on a dirt road suitable for a vehicle.
  • At mile 6.35 (~3 hours 32 minutes) you should come to an intersection. Take the left side.
  • At mile 6.6 (~3 hours 39 minutes) you'll come to another intersection where there is a large information sign and where Stone Fort Trail and Overlook Cliff Trail meet.
  • Tired hikers or those preferring a shorter hike should stay on Overlook Cliff Trail (red blazed) which goes southeast. They can wait for the rest of the group at the overlook by walking another 0.65 miles on Overlook Cliff Trail then turning right at the intersection and following the trail for 0.36 miles to the overlook.
  • Assuming there are no tired hikers, follow the Stone Fort Trail (blue blazed) which heads left (north). The dirt path will ascend steeply. This is the most challenging part of the hike.
  • At mile 7.65 (~4 hours 6 minutes), you'll come to an area called Breastworks, which is the northernmost part of the trail. The elevation here is about 1438 feet above sea level; the highest part of the hike. If you don't see a post or sign that reads Breastworks, then you'll know you're near it when you come to stairs built into the trail.
  • The trail will turn south. You'll see many stone walls left over from the Civil War.
  • At mile 8.64 (~4 hours 34 minutes) you should come to an intersection. To your right is a small wooden bridge. Head left to stay on the main trail.
  • At mile 8.83 (~4 hours 40 minutes), the Stone Fort Trail (blue blazed) and Overlook Cliff Trail (red blazed) will meet. Turn left to head east.
  • At mile 8.91 (~4 hours 43 minutes), you'll come to an intersection. Turn right and follow to end to get to the Maryland Heights overlook. You'll be walking downhill for awhile.
  • At mile 9.27 (~4 hours 53 minutes), you should arrive at the overlook. Take a 20 minute break for snacks and photos.
  • Literally 6 paces down from the information sign at the overlook, a small trail leads to the left (southeast). This is the back entrance to Maryland Heights. Follow this to a second, smaller overlook that pretty much offers the same view as Maryland Heights. Only about a 2.5 minute walk to this second overlook. I think the rock climbers use this spot.
  • Walk downhill towards to get a better view and you should find the trail picks up again on the left.
  • Follow this narrow, unblazed trail to Sandy Hook Road. It will meet the road just on the east side of a small bridge. Watch traffic as the road is narrow and visibility limited. The total distance from the Maryland Heights overlook to Sandy Hook Road via the back route is 0.28 miles. Only takes 10 minutes.
  • Walk along the road, hugging the side as closely as possible, walking in single file. There is a steep break in the trees about 40 meters from the bridge that leads down to the railroad tracks. Take this to avoid walking on the road and to find interesting metal things along the tracks. Note that the tracks are in use so be alert for trains and don't wear headphones when walking in this area.
  • After 0.2 miles, you'll see big cut stones on your right through the trees. This is Lock 32. Just a bit further is a steep break through the trees that leads one on the east side of the lock to the Towpath. There are two steel gates directly across the lock. The route to get down to the lock is across from the midpoint between these gates. Now the Towpath is merged with the Appalachian Trail. Follow this for about 0.9 miles.
  • At the Harpers Ferry Road Bridge (route 340), climb up a steep hill on the west side to get onto the bridge.
  • Cross the route 340 bridge to get back into Virginia. Follow route 340 back to the kettlecorn lot. Total hike is about 11 miles (~6 hours). It will be about 1.66 miles (the toughest 1.66 miles) shorter for those choosing the shorter route. Maximum elevation 1438 feet, minimum elevation 233 feet. Total ascent around 2800 feet.

  • No need to wear sunscreen for the tri-state hike unless you're extremely sun sensitive. You'll be in the shade almost all the time. The only sunny part is on some of the Towpath.

    I've found it hard to find detailed maps for the above area. The following document describes my tri-state circuit hike reversed and depicts the area in fairly good detail.
         Tri-State Circuit Hike Reversed

    Harpers Ferry parking lot at highway/route 340 overpass
    Location: U.S. Route 340, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia 25425
    Date: May 7, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway/route 340 west. Drive into Virginia.
    Just after crossing the bridge over the Shenandoah River into West Virginia, turn right onto Shenandoah Street.
    Follow Shenandoah Street downhill and make the first right into the parking lot.
    Notes: About 1 hour and 7 minutes from Arbutus. No restrooms. This location is ideal if you plan to hike the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. There is a six dollar per vehicle fee. At the southwest corner of the lot is a small pipelike structure with envelopes to place money for the fee. There may also be park rangers in the lot enforcing this fee. There is a dirt trail that leads directly to the Shenandoah River from this lot. White water rafters can park here and easily carry their boats to the river to launch. Good spot for river tubing too. Lot will hold about 32 vehicles. Note that personal floatation devices (PFDs) must be worn on the Potomac River for boaters and tubers. For questions regarding river safety, rules, or regulations, call 1-800-628-9944.

    Mailing address:
         Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
         P.O. Box 65
         Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425
         Phone: 304-535-6298

    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor's Center
    Location: U.S. Route 340, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia 25425
    Date: April 5, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway/route 340 west. Drive into Virginia, then West Virginia.
    Look for a sign that reads "Park Entrance" and turn left onto Shoreline Drive (there probably isn't a sign for this road) to get to the visitor center. A parking lot will be on the right. Pay for parking at the visitor center (6 dollars per vehicle as of March 2005).
    Notes: About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Arbutus. There are restrooms at the visitor center.

    Historic town
    One can take a bus to the historic town. The bus runs every 15 minutes from the visitors center (Cavalier Heights). Bus fare is included in the park fee.

    I recommend hiking the scenic 2.2 miles to get to the town. From the visitors center, head south and look for a sign that reads "Virginius Island, Hall's Island, Lower Town." This is where the trail begins. This will lead down the hill and down a rock staircase, past a small waterfall. Cross the street and walk along Shoreline Drive. Cross under route 340.

    You can continue following Shenandoah Street (an extension of Shoreline Drive) into town or take the more scenic route. To take the scenic route, turn left and head north as if trying to get onto route 340. Before actually reaching route 340, you should see trail signs. Turn right and head east. This will take you on the Cliff Trail which has white blazes. This trail is actually most of the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia. The trail will split. Stay on the left to remain on the main part. The right side takes you down a stone staircase to Shenandoah Street near a sign that reads "Visitor Center Parking and Exit Next Left." If you want to vary your route on the way back, try going up the staircase on your way back, looking for this sign.

    Slightly further ahead, the trail splits again with light blue blazes to the left. The blue blazed area goes through a college with some historical significance, then continues through town. Not sure where it ends. Signs for it read "ATC" which I believe stands for Appalachian Trail Conference through I saw nothing to indicate this along the small part of the blue blazed area I hiked. I recommend avoiding this tributary of the trail.

    Continuing the trek into town along Cliff Trail, there is a small, easily ignored split off to the left that leads just a few feet to a plateau. On this plateau is a historic cemetery.

    Cliff Trail goes past Jefferson Rock, the old church, and down a stone staircase. Note how much of this staircase was carved out of a single stone! At the bottom of the staircase (at the paved road), head right.

    At the end of the road, turn left and head northeast to get to the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge or head right just a few feet to get to the restrooms. Further off to the right near the railroad trestle is where the bus stops.

    Hiking from the visitor's center into town via the scenic route will take about 45 minutes.

    Appalachian Trail in Maryland
    After getting off the bus, face the railroad trestle then turn left. Walk parallel to the trestle (into town if you like) heading northeast. The railroad will eventually cross over the Potomac River. Next to the railroad bridge is the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge. Cross over the footbridge. While walking across this bridge, look to your left and to your right oblique. That is the Potomac River. To your right behind you is the Shenandoah River. As you walk across the bridge, keep in mind that you just came from West Virginia, Virginia is to your right, and Maryland is in front of you. Stepping off the bridge, facing away from the river, note that to your left and right is the C&O Towpath. To your right, the Towpath coincides with the Appalachian Trial. This is the southern and westernmost point of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.

    Appalachian Trail in Virginia
    To get to the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, you have to walk across route 340 which is the bridge you took to get into West Virginia from Virginia. There is parking on the West Virginia side just off route 340 (the northeast side) just before it crosses over the Shenandoah River. You can also access this parking lot by driving from the visitors center along Shoreline Drive towards the historic town. To get to route 340 by foot from the visitors center, see historic town.

    Bolivar Heights
    Directions: When heading west on route 340 in West Virginia, instead of turning left (southeast) on Shoreline Drive to get to the visitors center, turn right (northwest).
    Turn right (northeast) onto Washington Street.
    Turn left (northwest) onto Whitman Avenue. Follow to the end, where it meet Prospect Avenue.
    The trail begins on the southwest side. There are just over a mile of trails here. I have yet to explore this area.

    Loudoun Heights
    Loudoun Heights branches off from the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. After walking about a half mile on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia from route 340, cross under some powerlines. After less than another half mile, the trail will split. Off to the left is the Orange Trail (blazed in light blue...go figure). The trail heads northeast towards the powerlines, meanders a bit, joins Loudoun Heights Trail (also blazed in light blue), then comes to a scenic overlook at the Potomac River. There are scenic overlooks at the power lines but the best one is a little further east on the trail away from any power lines. One can see the town of Harpers Ferry and Maryland Heights from this overlook. Continuing east will take you to route 340 and drop you off just east of the Jefferson County sign. There is also a split and dropoff on this easterly section of the trail that will take you to the dirt parking lot just west of the Exxon on route 340 where you can park for free (the kettlecorn lot).

    If heading back to the Appalachian Trail, follow the Loudoun Heights Trail from which you came but consider veering left at the fork to see the rest of the Loudoun Heights Trail instead of the Orange Trail. Once the Loudoun Heights Trail merges with the Appalachian Trail, turn right (north) to get back to Harpers Ferry.

    Maryland Heights
    After getting off the bus, face the railroad trestle then turn left. Walk parallel to the trestle (into town if you like) heading northeast. The railroad will eventually cross over the Potomac River. Next to the railroad bridge is the Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge. Cross over the footbridge. While walking across this bridge, look to your left and to your right oblique. That is the Potomac River. To your right behind you is the Shenandoah River. As you walk across the bridge, keep in mind that you just came from West Virginia, Virginia is to your right, and Maryland is in front of you. Stepping off the bridge, facing away from the river, note that to your left and right is the C&O Towpath. Head left along the Towpath for about a half mile. Cross over a footbridge to your right. Continue across Sandy Hook Road. You should see a sign and a dirt trail immediately ahead.

    From the Harpers Ferry visitors center, it is 3 miles to the base of Maryland Heights if you take the scenic hiking route described in historic town. From where the bus drops people off in the Harpers Ferry historic town, it is about 0.8 miles. You can minimize any unnecessary hiking by parking in the lot just northwest of the base of Maryland Heights just off Sandy Hook Road in Sandy Hook, Maryland. Directions follow:

    Location: Washington County ADC map 36 G10 Date: March 16, 2014
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 52 to highway/route 340 west.
    After the route 67 turn off and before crossing into Virginia, make a left (east) onto Keep Tryst Road (route 180) at the signal light. Follow for 0.3 miles.
    Turn right (southwest) onto Sandy Hook Road. Be careful crossing through the area with the 15 mph sign. You really do want to go 15 mph! After crossing under two bridges, look for the start of the trail on the right. There will be a small pedestrian bridge over the C&O Canal on your left just across from the trail start. Slightly beyond this (about 50 meters) will be a small dirt parking lot on your right that will hold about 12 vehicles. If this is full, there will be another dirt parking lot on your right just a little bit further.
    Notes: Pay for parking on the trail (6 dollars per vehicle or 4 dollars per person arriving on foot or bicycle as of May 2007). Be sure to bring the money, know your plate number, and bring a pen (just in case theirs runs dry) unless you want to walk back to your vehicle. No restrooms. The nearest are in the historic old town of Harper's Ferry which is 0.8 miles away.

    Facing away from the Potomac River, the main trail is to the left and blazed in green. To the right, it only extends a few feet to what appears to have been the foundation to a house or building.

    The trail heads up Elk Ridge. It starts with Military Road which is blazed in green. This is a dirt road just wide enough for a vehicle. This is fairly steep and continues uphill for about a half mile. This road levels off a bit and splits. On the left is the Stone Fort Trail blazed in blue. This trail may also be called (or part of) Grant Conway Trail, depending on what map you view. On the right is the Overlook Cliff Trail blazed in red.

    To get to Overlook Cliff, follow the red blazed trail. At a post with two red blazes, the trail will split. Heading straight will take you downhill on a trail with no blazes. Then after about a half mile, you will leave the park and see "No Trespassing" signs. Instead, you want to head to the right to get to the overlook. The trail will get narrow and rocky. Then, it will end at Overlook Cliff. In my opinion, the view from Overlook Cliff is the finest in Maryland. From here, you will see for miles northwest (right) on the Potomac River and southwest on the Shenandoah River, depending on visibility. Straight ahead, you will see the historic town of Harpers Ferry. This is truly a picture postcard view and well worth the hike. If you want good photos, I suggest going in the morning. If you wish to return to the base of Maryland Heights, the round trip is 2.8 miles. The elevation at the overlook, according to my global positioning system (GPS) is 642 feet above sea level.

    Stone Fort Trail loops around connecting at Overlook Cliff Trail twice. The eastern side of the trail is rocky and narrow. The western side is wide enough for a vehicle. This is a fairly steep hike rising up to 1400 feet at the northernmost point. From the base of Maryland Heights to the northernmost point of Stone Fort Trail and back is about 6 miles. At one time, there was a long trail that continued for several miles north of the northernmost point of Stone Fort Trail. This was called Elk Ridge Trail. It ran along the ridge of Elk Ridge to Gobblers Knob. My map lists this trail as being unmaintained. I tried to find this trail but could not. I found an aqua colored blaze where it should begin but found nothing else.

    A challenging day hike I recommend is to start at the Harpers Ferry Visitors Center then hike the scenic trail route into historic town. From there, cross the footbridge and head to the base of Maryland Heights. Hike to the scenic overlook. Whenever the trail splits, stay on the right. There are a few minor trails that splinter off the main trail in Maryland Heights but they eventually come back to the main trail. From the overlook, head to the east side of Stone Fort Trail and walk the loop. Once arriving back at Overlook Cliff Trail, return to the visitors center. If you don't take the bus, the hike will take about 5.5 hours.

    See my March 9, 2014 blog along with blogs from the Tri-State Circuit Hike.

    Murphy Farm Trail
    This is a 2 mile trail with an overlook and historical ruins. It begins at the visitor center. I have yet to explore this trail. There is a pretty nice place here called Murphy Farm Overlook. There is also the Murphy House.

    Schoolhouse Ridge Battlefield
    Never been there.

    Fort Duncan
    There is a 0.4 mile trail at the end of Pleasantville Road in Maryland that leads to this site. I have never been there.

    Virginius Island
    Virginius Island is not really an island but a peninsula though it was once an island. The trail loops are only about 1.25 miles long and should appeal to history buffs. There are lots of rock structure remains from when the island was used to support industry. Virginius Island is on the south side of the Shenandoah Canal and north of the Shenandoah River just west of the Harpers Ferry historical town. Railroad tracks pass through the island.

    Be sure to check out my Tubing page if you're interested in river tubing in this area.


     
    Henson Creek Trail
     
    Location: Henson Creek Neighborhood Park, Prince George's County ADC map 24 D5
    Date: January 13, 2008
    Phone: 301-699-2255
    Directions: From where the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) meets highway 95, take highway 95 south to the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495).
    Head east (clockwise) on highway 495.
    Take exit 7A towards Waldorf to merge onto Branch Avenue (route 5). Follow for 0.8 miles.
    Take the Linda Lane ramp (heading west/right) to Old Branch Avenue. Follow for a tenth of a mile.
    Turn right (north) onto Old Branch Avenue. Follow for half a mile.
    Old Branch Avenue will become Henderson Road and veer to the left (west). Follow Henderson Road for 1.3 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Temple Hill Road then make an immediate right into Henson Creek Neighborhood Park.

    Notes: About 45 minutes from Hanover, Maryland. Parking for about 25 vehicles. Park closes at dark. This trail is only 6 miles long and paved. It follows Henson Creek. The Neighborhood Park is the north end of the trail. Check out the trip report of my January 13, 2008 bike ride.


     
    Herrington Manor State Park
     
    Location: 222 Herrington Lane, Oakland, Maryland 21550; next to Garrett State Forest, Garrett County ADC map D23
    Date: February 11, 2012
    Phone: 301-334-9180
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise. Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 14A in Keysers Ridge, heading south on Garrett Highway (route 219). Follow for 19.2 miles.
    Turn right (east) on Mayhew Inn Road. Follow for 4.3 miles.
    Stay straight to continue on Oakland Sang Run Road. Follow for 0.3 mile.
    Turn right (east) on Swallow Falls Road. Follow for 2.5 miles, crossing over the Youghiogheny River.
    Veer left (south) onto Herrington Manor Road. Follow for 2 miles.
    Turn right (east) onto Herrington Manor Lake Road then follow signs into the park.
    Notes: About 3.5 hours from Savage. There is swimming at Herrington Lake along with a boat launch and fishing. The concession stand rents cross country skis, snowshoes, and sleds for a half day or full day. Two day rentals are available for cabin guests only. This is an excellent location for cross country skiing. There is no non-cabin camping but there is camping at the nearby Swallow Falls State Park. One can hike or ski 5.7 miles to Swallow Falls State Park. For more information, check out the trip report of my December 26, 2010, January 17, 2011, and February 11, 2012 cross country ski trips.


     
    Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
     
    The Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, created in 1985, is comprised of 1250 acres of tidal freshwater wetlands, upland forests, and open farm fields along the eastern shore of the Patuxent River. It has over 8 miles of trails and boardwalks which traverse a variety of habitats that are home to a wide variety of aquatic plants and many species of birds, fish, and other animals.
    Click to send e-mail to Jug Bay Wetlands SanctuaryClick to send e-mail
    Location: 1361 Wrighton Road, Lothian, Maryland 20711. Anne Arundel County ADC map 31 J7 or Prince George's County ADC map 27 J7
    Date: December 21, 2008
    Phone: 410-741-9330
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest. Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Turn left (east) on Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4, south exit). Follow for 1.6 miles.
    Turn right onto Waysons Corner Annapolis (route 408, Mount Zion Marlboro Road). This will eventually run parallel and just south of Pennsylvania Avenue (route 4). You may see signs that refer to it as Southern Maryland Boulevard. Follow for 0.9 miles until it ends. If you miss this exit or if you want somthing a little faster, take the Service Road exit then turn left.
    Turn right (southeast) onto Plummer Lane. Follow for 0.5 miles.
    Turn right (southwest) onto Wrighton Road. Follow for 0.6 miles.
    At a sign with red writing which reads "Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary," turn left on a gravel road. The Sanctuary is 0.6 miles at the end of the road.

    Notes: Stop by the visitor center to sign in and pay the 3 dollar per person fee. The Sanctuary is open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 0900 to 1700. Pets are not allowed. Trails that pass near the water often have scenic overviews. I recommend starting at the visitors center, heading towards the north end of Forest Trail, then walking along the outside perimeter of the Sanctuary, heading in an overall clockwise direction, turning left at splits and intersections. As of August 2005, part of the southwest loop of Pindell Bluff Trail appears to end at a swamp. It is about an hour and 50 minutes to the Sweet Flag Picnic Area at River Farm Point along this route. The rest of this "left turn" hike including out to the west end of Railroad Bed Trail and Marsh Boardwalk will take you back to the visitors center in about one hour and 10 minutes. The Sanctuary is about 60 minutes from Arbutus.

    As of 2007, park naturalists can provide group canoe or hiking trips. They have 9 canoes which can accommodate 18 paddlers and a third passenger in the middle. Trips last about 4 hours and include hiking to the launch site, basic canoe instruction, and a naturalist led canoe trip up some part of the Patuxent River, such as the western branch. The actual canoeing lasts about 2 hours (4 miles) and costs $5 per person. Though you should get permission, it is likely the park will not have a problem if you bring your own boat as long as you paddle it to the boat launch, which is near the end of the Railroad Trail Bed peninsula on the south side.

    The land-based hiking option lasts 2-4 hours and the only fee is the entrance fee. Either trip should be made well in advance. Naturalists can focus on history, vegetation of the bay, and/or animal life. Contact Lindsay, Chris, or Elaine to make a reservation.

    On March 4, 2007, I scouted out a pre-canoe trip hike. This 5 mile hike covers the trails that won't be seen during the walk to and from the boat launch so it makes for a great pre-canoe route. It can be done in 2 hours but I recommend at least 2.5 hours for a good size group or 3 hours if you plan to stop at Sweet Flag Picnic Area for a snack or lunch. For the route, download the park map. Trails are generally well marked with colored metal circles except for one spot we encountered on Beech Trail. A short detour took us by a collapsed barn in an un-marked section. If you need to shorten the route, I suggest skipping Beech Trail and finishing the last part of the hike on Utility Road instead of Middle Trail.

    The Friends of Jug Bay acts to preserve the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and to support its education and research programs.
         Friends of Jug Bay
         Post Office Box 6218
         Annapolis, Maryland 21401-0218


     
    William H. Kain County Park
     
    Location: Jacobus, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 29 K9
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Drive into Pennsylvania.
    At exit 14, take Leader Heights Road left (west) for a half mile. Turn left (south) on Susquehanna Trail (not an actual trail) and follow into Jacobus. The road will change name to Main Street.
    For Lake Redman Area: Turn left (east) on Hess Farm Road in Jacobus. Follow for a half mile to boat launch area on left (north).
    For Lake Williams Area: Turn right (west) on Water Street in Jacobus. Drive a half mile to main parking area on right (north).

    Note that the following directions are not certain. It depends on if Twin Arch Road can be accessed from the York County Heritage Trail.
    Directions from Brillhart Station: Continue south for 1.2 miles on the YCHT past the South Branch of Codorus Creek. Make an immediate left (southeast) on Twin Arch Road.
    After an extremely short distance, turn left (northeast) on Reynolds Mill Road.
    After about a fifth of the mile, turn right (southeast) on Water Street. Trails should appear on the right and left after 0.6 miles.


    Notes: Kain County Park has 12 miles of multi-use trails that collectively circumnavigate Lake Williams and Lake Redman. This area is closed to mountain biking during "muddy conditions," as determined by the park rangers. For up-to-date trail conditions, refer to the trail open/close signs located in designated parking lots, or call the park office at 717-840-7440. Trail updates are available 24 hours a day. Pavilion rentals. Open year round 0800 to dusk.
         Mountain Biking Trails in Pennsylvania: Kain County Park
         William H. Kain County Park


     
    Kelly's Run/Tucquan Glen
     
    Location: Holtwood, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 44 J5
    Date: October 4, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 north.
    Upon reaching highway 695 again, head northwest (counterclockwise) towards Towson.
    Take exit 32B off highway 695. This will put you on Belair Road North (route 1). Follow for about 15 miles. In approximately 11-12 miles there will be a junction for business route 1. DO NOT turn right here. Continue straight on main route 1 north.
    Look for an exit for route 24 north toward Forest Hill and take this. Go north on route 24 for 9.5 miles.
    Turn right at the traffic circle onto route 165 north/east. Proceed about 5-6 miles on route 165.
    Route 165 will turn into route 74 north in Pennsylvania. Follow for 6 miles.
    Turn right onto route 372 east. Follow for 2 miles.
    Cross the Susquehanna River. Once across the bridge you will travel approximately 0.8 miles.
    Look for a left turn onto Crystal Drive. Take this left and proceed 0.6 miles to a stop sign.
    Directly ahead across two roads you will see a parking lot, picnic grounds, and a pavilion. This is the Holtwood Recreation Area picnic ground.

    Notes: Parking for about 35 vehicles. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season. For more information, see Holtwood Preserve and read my October 4, 2008 trip report. Special thanks to John F. for introducing me to this trail.



    Mason-Dixon Trail

     
    The Mason-Dixon Trail connects with the Appalachian Trail and passes through Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  It is 190 miles long though one must pass on paved roads at times to link with discontinuous footpaths.  In some areas, the trail is poorly maintained and even with maps, finding the trail can at times be difficult.

    As of January 2004, the Mason-Dixon Trail is blocked between the rocky promontory, south of Cuff’s Run and Apollo County Park due to new land ownership.  A 2.5 mile relocation on a rocky slope below the old trail is being built but will not be completed in 2004.

    The following locations list some of the places along the Mason-Dixon Trail closest to Baltimore.
         Mason-Dixon Trail


    Conesteo Street
    Location: Havre de Grace, Harford County ADC map 21 C5; Mason-Dixon Trail Map 7
    Date:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 northeast through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.  Follow for about 36 miles.
    Take the Aberdeen/Churchville exit (exit 85) to the Aberdeen Thruway (route 22).  At the fork, turn right (east).
    Turn right onto Pulaski Highway (route 40) heading east.
    Turn right (east) onto Otsego Street (route 7).
    Turn left (north) onto Juniata Street.
    Turn right (east) onto Erie Street.
    Turn left (north) onto Conesteo Street.

    Notes: Next to the Susquehanna Museum at the Lockhouse.  Ample parking.  Closed 2200 to 0600.  This is the easternmost section of the Mason-Dixon Trail west of the Susquehanna River.  The trail immediately east of the Susquehanna River is not worth hiking, hard to find, and poorly maintained.  Marina area on Conesteo Road has restrooms and water in the summer.  Also, Jean S. Roberts Memorial Park at the end of Otsego Street has a restroom.  About one hour from Arbutus.  Several tourist attractions in short walking distance.

    Lapidum Road
    Location: Susquehanna State Park, Harford County ADC map 13 H10; Mason-Dixon Trail Map 6
    See Lapidum Boat Launch Facility and December 3, 2011 for more information.

    Railroad Trestle
    Location: Susquehanna State Park, Harford County ADC map 13 E7; Mason-Dixon Trail Map 6
    Date: December 23, 2006
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 northeast through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.  Follow for about 41 miles.
    Take the Level Road (route 155) exit (route 89) northwest.
    Take the first right onto Earlton Road.
    Earlton Road merges with Webster-Lapidum Road heading northeast.  Stay on Webster-Lapidum Road.  Drive carefully since this road sometimes gets very narrow.  Follow to end.
    Turn left (north) onto Lapidum Road. Turn left (northwest) onto Stafford Road. Follow for 1.5 miles. Park on either side of the road at the railroad trestle which passes over Deer Creek.

    Notes: No restroom. Parking for about 25 vehicles. If accessing trail south of Deer Creek. you'll need to walk on or next to Stafford Road for 0.4 miles.

    Rock Run Road
    Location: Susquehanna State Park, Harford County ADC map 13 F8; Mason-Dixon Trail Map 6
    See Rock Run Grist Mill and November 20, 2011 for more information.


     
    Meadow Mountain Trail
     
    Trail System


    Location: Meadow Mountain in Savage River State Forest, Garrett County ADC map U12
    Date: December 25, 2007
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 22 and follow to Chestnut Ridge Road south to New Germany Road.
    Turn left onto New Germany Road and continue south.
    After roughly 10.5 miles, make a sharp right (north) onto Frank Brenneman Road. If you come to the end of New Germany Road at route 495 (Bittinger Road), you've gone about 2 miles too far.
    Head north on Frank Brenneman Road for about a mile. The trailhead will be on the right (northeast).

    Notes: Parking for about 2 vehicles along the side of the gate. No restroom. One can head west for about 0.8 miles to the overlook or east for about 4 miles to Otto Lane, a dirt road. I haven't explored beyond this. Special thanks to Norma to introducing me to this trail. For a trip report of a hike in 2007, see Christmas Day hike.


     
    Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary
     
    Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  It is the wintering ground for the largest concentration of Canada geese on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The sanctuary was named in honor of Edgar Merkle (1900-1984), a conservationist who devoted much of his life to protecting wildlife.

    Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary


    Location: 11704 Fenno Road, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772, Prince George’s County ADC map 34 K5
    Date: January 11, 2004
    Phone: 301-888-1377
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest.  Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Turn left (east) on Croom Road (route 382).
    Turn left (east) on Saint Thomas Church Road.  This road will eventually veer left (south) and turn into Fenno Road.
    Turn left onto Merkle Road at the sign which points to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary across from 11511 Fenno Road.

    Notes: The visitor center is open Saturday and Sundays from 1000 to 1600.  Trails open to hiking from 0700 to dusk. No pets allowed. Restrooms and drinking fountains available at the visitor center. Porta-john available outside the visitor center. Outdoor water refill station just west of the west end of the visitor center parking lot behind a bush. Shaded picnic tables just east of the visitor center.  $2 service charge at visitor center entrance.  The Critical Area Driving Tour (CADT) runs from Selby Point of Patuxent River Park (Jug Bay area) to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary but not the other way around. There are about 5.5 miles of trails in addition to the CADT. No pets allowed. Driving from Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary to the Patuxent River Park visitor's center takes ~15 minutes. The Mounds Trail is in my opinion the prettiest (except for the junk pile). It goes along Lookout Creek and the Patuxent River. In April 2005, there was a ~100 meter long beaver dam that can be seen from the east side of the trail. Later that year, the upstream side of the stream got low and was overgrown by vegetation, thereby making the dam nearly invisible. As of March 2007, it is once again visible though it is hard to tell if it is being maintained.

    On March 4, 2007, I scouted the hiking trails for an upcoming trip. From the visitor center, catch the Paw Paw Trail and at every trail junction, turn left. This will take you through the entire network of trails. If you have weak hikers, I suggest they bail out at the Paw Paw Trail/Poplar Springs Trail intersection after about 2 miles and head back to the visitor center. The rest of the group can complete the Poplar Springs Trail, finishing the 4.3 mile semi-circuit/semi-yo-yo hike. I recommend giving yourself 2 hours for this hike or 2.5 hours if leading a large group. For a copy of my route, download trail map.


     
    Michaux State Forest
     
    This forest is comprised of over 85,000 acres of managed forest land and three state parks.
         10099 Lincoln Way East
         Fayetteville, Pennsylvania 17222
         phone: 717-352-2211

    DCNR - Michaux State Forest
    Wildernet.com - Michaux State Forest

    If you plan on exploring this area, I highly recommend purchasing Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) map 2-3, Appalachian Trail, PA route 94 to US route 30.

    Caledonia State Park
    This park is comprised of about 1200 acres.
    Location: Franklin County, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles west of Gettysburg
    Date: Unexplored
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.  This will turn into Catoctin Mountain Highway.  Follow to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
    Turn left (west) on Hanover Road (route 116). Follow for 2 miles.
    Enter next roundabout and take second exit onto Chambersburg Street/Lincoln Highway/Route 30. Follow route 30 for about 13.5 miles to the Michaux State Forest Headquarters. Continue for another mile to reach the Appalachian Trail. This is the Caledonia State Park area.

    Notes: .

    Caledonia State Park - PA DCNR
    Caledonia State Park - StateParks.com

    Mont Alto State Park
    This park is comprise of about 35 acres and is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania.
    Date: Unexplored.

    Pine Grove Furnace Park
    This park is comprised of about 700 acres.
    Location: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles northwest of Gettysburg
    Date: December 13, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53B to Frederick Freeway (route 15) north.  This will turn into Catoctin Mountain Highway.  Follow to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
    Turn left (west) on Hanover Road (route 116). Follow for 2 miles.
    Enter next roundabout and take second exit onto Chambersburg Street/Lincoln Highway/Route 30. Follow route 30 for about 14 miles to Pine Grove Road (route 233).
    Turn right (northeast) on Pine Grove Road (route 233) and follow for about 13 miles.
    Route 233 will veer left at the park headquarters. Continue straight on Hunters Run Road. In 0.15 miles, there will be a road on the right that leads down to a large parking lot. The Appalachian Trail resides between the lot and stream. Pine Grove Furnace State Park will be on the right

    Notes: Parking lot holds maybe 40 vehicles. About a 2 hour drive from Hanover, Maryland. Walk south to see the iron furnace. See my February 2, 2008 and December 13, 2008 trip reports.

    Pine Grove Furnace - PA DCNR
    Pine Grove Furnace State Park - StateParks.com


     
    Morgan Run
     
    Morgan Run makes for a nice hike within a reasonable driving distance. Great for those short winter days.

    Location: Carroll County ADC map 30 E3
    Date: July 21, 2008
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 80 to Sykesville Road (route 32) north. Follow for about 10 miles.
    The parking lot is on the left (west side) about 0.3 miles after crossing the bridge over Liberty Reservoir.

    Notes: No restroom. Parking for 9 vehicles. No blazes on trail. Lots of shade. Many trails branch off the main one. Just keep yourself oriented with Liberty Reservoir and you won't get too lost. Share the trail with horses and mountain bicyclists. It is recommended to wear long trousers because of all the shrubbery under the power lines. Note that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website describes the entrance to a totally different part of Morgan Run. See my trip report at July 20, 2008.


     
    Mount Vernon Trail
     
    The Mount Vernon Trail was created in 1973 by the National Park Service.  Its 18.5 miles passes along the Potomac River, next to the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  The trail goes from Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, to Theodore Roosevelt Island in the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial.  It is a paved trail, hardly a wilderness hike, but excellent for joggers, bicyclists, in-line skaters, or hikers who want a scenic view of the nation’s capitol and the Potomac River. It connects with the Custis Trail and the Wayne F. Anderson Bikeway. Also see
    National Park Service - Mount Vernon Trail
    Trail Link - Mount Vernon Trail


    Daingerfield Island

    Gravelly Point

    Jones Point Park
    Location: Alexandria, Northern Virginia ADC map 24 J7
    Date: April 14, 2012
    Directions: From where route 32 and the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295) meet, take highway 295 south.
    Take exit 1C to the Washington Beltway (highway 495) heading south (clockwise) towards Richmond. Follow for 2 miles, crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
    Take exit 177C for route 1 north towards Mount Vernon.
    Merge onto Church Street heading east. Follow for 295 feet.
    Turn left onto George Washington Memorial Parkway heading north. Follow for 410 feet.
    Make the first right onto Green Street heading east. Follow for 0.2 mile.
    Turn right (south) onto South Royal Street. Follow for 0.1 mile.
    Turn left onto Jones Point Drive.

    Notes: 42 minutes from Savage. Access to both the Mount Vernon Trail and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail. See
    Prince George's County Parks - Woodrow Wilson Bridge
    Trail Link - Woodrow Wilson Bridge

    Theodore Roosevelt Island
    Notes: This area marks the northernmost part of the Mount Vernon Trail.  Also provides access to the Potomac Heritage Trail.


     
    New Germany State Park
     
    New Germany is at the westernmost edge of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It was named from the 19th century farming community that developed this area. These settlers claimed the area reminded them of their German homeland. The park has 12 miles of trails and is popular with cross country skiers.

    New Germany State Park
    New Germany State Park - Deep Creek Hospitality

    Location: 349 Headquarters Lane, Grantsville, Maryland 21536; Garrett County ADC map Z8
    Date: February 16, 2008
    Phone: 301-895-5453
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 22 and follow to Chestnut Ridge Road south to New Germany Road.
    Turn left onto New Germany Road and travel two miles.
    The park office is on the right and the entrance to the park headquarters is further down on the left.

    Notes: The park is about 3 hours west of Baltimore and Washington D.C. If you're in the area, be sure to check out Savage River State Forest.

    Allegany Expeditions handles the cross country ski rentals and lessons as of February 2008.

    Read my trip report at Grantsville, Maryland President's Day 2008.


     
    North Central Railroad Trail
     
    The 19.7 mile Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT) reaches from Ashland Road in the Hunt Valley area (Cockeysville) to the Pennsylvania state line. The trail is 8 to 10 feet wide with a stone dust surface and little change in elevation. The most popular activities on the trail are hiking, jogging, bicycle riding and horseback riding. Though the trail is not paved, it is quite hard. The trail from Monkton and further south often receive heavy use on weekends and may have parking filled by late morning. All restrooms are handicap accessible porta-johns unless otherwise stated. All pets must be on leash.

    In 2007, the Board of Public Works approved the renaming of the NCRT to the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail. The board also approved the dedication of the trail's Monkton Train Station in honor of Dr. Brown, who served as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) secretary under Governors Harry R. Hughes and William Donald Schaefer from 1983 to 1995. Brown was the major driving force in developing the abandoned North Central Railroad as the state's first multi-use recreational trail, which was dedicated in 1984.

    The NCRT is part of Gunpowder Falls State Park. It closes at sunset. For more information, call 410-592-2897. For emergencies or to report violations, call 1-800-825-PARK.

    Friends of the NCR Trail
    NCR Trail - Motels, Camping, Bicycle Rentals, Attractions
    North Central Railroad Trail
    The Northern Central and York County Heritage Trails

    The following parking lots are listed in order of southernmost to northernmost. At the northernmost part of the NCRT, the trail heads into Pennsylvania and becomes the York County Heritage Trail (YCHT).

    Ashland Road North
    Location: Hunt Valley, Baltimore County ADC map 18 J2
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 18, Warren Road east (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn right (east) on Ashland Road.
    After about 0.4 miles, turn right onto a different Ashland Road (it may be called Ashland Road North).
    Follow to the end.

    Notes: This is the southernmost point of the NCRT. Mile markers begin from this point so Ashland Road North is mile zero. There is only parking for about 12 vehicles. This parking lot is not well publicized. There is significantly more parking at Paper Mill which is only about a mile away.

    Paper Mill
    Location: Hunt Valley, Baltimore County ADC map 18 J1
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 18, Warren Road east (right). Follow for one mile.
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45). Follow for 1.1 miles. If you need to use the restroom or fill up with gasoline, there is an Exxon on the southwest side of the intersection (right).
    Turn right (east) on Ashland Road. Follow for about 0.4 miles. If you need to use the restroom or fill up with gasoline, there is a Shell station and 7-11 on the northeast side of the intersection (right).
    Bear left onto Paper Mill Road (route 145).  Follow for about 0.4 miles.
    Look for parking along the road shoulder near Arrowwood Road and Snowberry Court, or if you arrive before 0930 on a nice day, look in the main parking lot on the left which holds about 50 cars.

    Notes: The trail is just past Arrowwood Road and Snowberry Court and west of the parking lot.  The trail only goes about 0.4 miles south of Paper Mill Road to the southernmost point.  Paper Mill is the best access point on the NCRT from Arbutus; a 32 minute drive in light traffic. Phone available. Porta-john about 0.6 miles north on right at Loch Raven Reservoir.

    After biking, consider visiting Cold Stone Creamery at 10015 York Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030, phone: 410-628-8001.

    Phoenix
    Location: Hunt Valley, Baltimore County ADC map 13 A10
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 20, Shawan Road east (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn right (northeast) on Phoenix Road.  Bear right as the road bends. Travel 1.7 miles to parking lot on the right.

    Notes: The parking lot is south of the bridge over Gunpowder Falls and on Phoenix Road, between Philpot Road and Carroll Road. It is 2 miles from the southernmost part of the trail. There is a porta-john about 1.4 miles south and another about 1.8 miles north on the NCRT. There is room for about 16 vehicles at Phoenix. Immediately west of the parking lot is a staircase that provides excellent access to Gunpowder Falls.

    Sparks
    Location: Sparks, Baltimore County ADC map 12 H7
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 20, Shawan Road east (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn right (east) onto Sparks Road. Cross the bridge over Gunpowder Falls. The parking lot is less than one mile on the right, just after the trail.

    Notes: Porta-john available. Parking for about 25 vehicles, including along the side of the road near the bridge. Behind the Sparks Nature Center are 3 picnic tables and a water refill station. There is excellent access to Gunpowder Falls under the bridge. The Sparks parking lot is about 3.8 miles from the southernmost part of the trail.

    Glencoe
    Location: Sparks, Baltimore County ADC map 12 J5
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 20, Shawan Road east (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45). Pass Sparks Road.
    Turn right (east) onto Lower Glencoe Road. Follow for about a mile.
    Turn right (east) onto Glencoe Road, crossing a bridge over the Gunpowder Falls. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn left onto Home Road, just before the NCRT. There is parking on the right for about 8 vehicles.

    Notes: There is excellent access to Gunpowder Falls under the bridge on the east side. The Glencoe parking lot is about 4.6 miles from the southernmost part of the trail. This parking lot is not well publicized.

    Monkton
    Location: Monkton, Baltimore County ADC map 8 B13
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 27, turning right (east) on Carmel Road (route 137). Follow for a quarter mile to the town of Hereford.
    Turn right (south) on York Road (route 45). Get in the left lane since you'll only be on this road for a tenth of a mile.
    Turn left (east) on Monkton Road (route 138). Follow for 2.7 miles. The road will split with Monkton Road on the left (the main part) and Old Monkton Road West veering right. Look for parking anywhere in this area. After parking, walk on Monkton Road for another 0.2 miles after the split to get to the NCRT.

    Notes: 45 minute drive from Arbutus in light traffic. The trail is after the bridge over Gunpowder Falls and before Monkton Methodist Church. It is also just 3 feet east of Old Monkton Road East. Restrooms, water (from a well with a foot pedal), telephones, and picnic tables available at the north end. Nice grassy area for pinicing. Souvenir shop. A convenience store is open 0700-1900 on weekdays and 0900-1900 on weekends at Monkton Village Market. They serve cold summer drinks, hot meals, and ice cream. All products are vegetarian and many are vegan or can be modified for vegan diets. Very limited parking in lot but you can park along the side of the road before coming to the bridge over Gunpowder Falls. The main lot is closed on weekends. The Monkton parking lot is about 7.3 miles from the southernmost part of the trail.

    The Monkton area is fantastic for a variety of activities. For information on tubing, see tubing.

    Bluemount Road: About 9.1 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Hicks/Wilson Road: About 9.6 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Hunters Mill Road: About 10.4 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    White Hall
    Location: White Hall, Baltimore County ADC map 7 K5
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 31, Middletown Road southeast (right).
    Turn right (south) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn left (east) on Wiseburg Road. Bear right at the split. Don't go on Graystone Road.
    The road will split again, this time with White Hall Road on the left. Due to small details and long names, it may appear Schoolhouse Road is on the right but this is actually Wiseburg Road. Bear right, staying on Wiseburg Road.

    Notes: There will be some parking immediately on the right with the main lot a little further ahead and the entrance also on the right. If heading to the main parking lot, be sure to bear right at the split. Heading left will take you to Schoolhouse Road while veering right will keep you on Wiseburg Road. There is a porta-john, and picnic tables near the north end. There is a phone closer to the road on the east side. About 10.6 miles from the southernmost part of the trail.

    Graystone Road: About 11 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Parkton
    Location: Parkton, Baltimore County ADC map 7 E2
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions from west: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 31, Middletown Road southeast (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Make the first (southernmost) left (west) onto Frederick Road (route 463) and park at 18858 Frederick Road.

    Notes: There used to be a store here called "Little Falls General Store" but it burnt down. There is parking in this area that is supposed to be for store patrons only but until another business takes over, this shouldn't be an issue if you wish to use it. Looks like there is room for about 12 vehicles in the area. Nice grassy areas by a stream with picnic tables. A store called "Park Inn" near Hillcrest Avenue sells cold drinks. No car access across the NCRT. About 12.8 miles from the southernmost part of the trail.

    Directions from east: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 31, Middletown Road southeast (right).
    Turn left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Make the second left (southwest) onto 18838-18858 York Road (yes, the sign really says all that). This is near Calder Avenue, just after Miller Road on the right.
    Follow to the dead end and park on the left.

    Notes: Looks like there is room for about 14 vehicles in the area. No car access across the NCRT. About 12.8 miles from the southernmost part of the trail. This parking area is not well publicized.

    Hillcrest Avenue: About 13.1 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Walker Road: About 14.1 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Bentley Springs
    Location: Bentley Springs, Baltimore County ADC map 3 C9
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 33, turning left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn left (northwest) on Kaufman Road.  Follow for less than one mile.
    Turn left (west) onto Bentley Road and proceed to parking lot on the left.

    Notes: If you come to a split in the road or cross over the trail, you have gone too far. Parking for about 14 vehicles. Restroom and phone at the north end. Phone is broken (receiver literally cracked in half) as of September 3, 2005. About 15.4 miles from the southernmost part of the trail.

    BeeTree
    Location: BeeTree, Baltimore County ADC map 3 D7
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 33, turning left (north) on York Road (route 45).
    Turn left (northwest) on Kaufman Road.
    Kaufman Road will turn into BeeTree Road. Bear left onto BeeTree Road. Parking on left (south side).

    Notes: The lot only holds about 3 cars. If you cross over the NCRT or come to a sign indicating the road has become private, you've gone too far. About 16.2 miles from the southernmost part of the trail. This parking area is not well publicized.

    Much of the area north of BeeTree Road, east of the NCRT, and west of Kaufman Road is known as the BeeTree Preserve. It is comprised of 263 acres and is owned by the
         Towson Presbyterian Church
         200 West Chesapeake Avenue
         Towson, Maryland 21204
    It is generally open during daylight hours to the public but large groups should reserve times prior to use. A campsite is available (reservations must be made). No alcohol permitted. There is a fairly large grassy area just south of the BeeTree Road and Kaufman Road intersection that would be great for throwing the flying disk. For general information, call 410-823-6500. This area is fairly unknown.

    Freeland
    Location: Freeland, Baltimore County ADC map 3 B3
    Date: September 3, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north.
    Take exit 36 to Old York Road (route 439) west (turn right at end of ramp).
    Turn right (northwest) onto York Road (route 45).
    Turn left (west) onto Freeland Road.  Follow for two miles.
    Turn right (north) onto Railroad Avenue which leads to the parking lot.

    Notes: Lots holds about 28 vehicles. Composting restroom and water refill station just east of the lot. About 18.2 miles from the southernmost part of the trail. According to my global positioning system (GPS), the elevation for this spot is 678 feet above sea level. My GPS software claims the actual value is 689 feet.

    Orwig Road: This is the first stop in Pennsylvania and it is somewhere near here that the NCRT ends and the YCHT begins. Though there is no road sign at the trail, there will be a large sign which reads "Welcome to New Freedom." It is likely the names of places in this area (New Freedom and Freeland) are because the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland comprises the Mason-Dixon Line, which separated the slave states from the free states. About 19.7 miles from the southernmost end of the NCRT. No parking.

    Paper Mill to York City
    Date: July 8, 2007
    Directions: From Paper Mill, head west on Paper Mill Road. Follow for 0.4 miles. The road will merge with Ashland Road. Follow another 0.4 miles to end.
    At York Road (route 45), turn right (north). Follow for 0.2 miles.
    At Shawan Road, turn left (west). Follow for 0.6 miles.
    Take highway 83 north.
    Drive into Pennsylvania. At the highway 83/business 83 split, veer right via exit 15 to get on business 83.
    Business 83 will turn into South George Street. Follow north for 3 miles.
    Turn left (west) on West Princess Street. Follow for 2 blocks. There will be a McDonalds on the right on West Princess Street. You might want to stop there since the restrooms at the Visitor Center are only open 0930-1600 daily.
    Turn right (north) on Pershing Avenue. Note that there may not be a street sign for Pershing Avenue so be sure to count the number of blocks you've driven. Follow 3 blocks to the parking area on the west side of the street, north of West Market Street and south of West Philadelphia Street. A good landmark when looking for the lot is a huge brick chimney/tower about a block north.
    End at York City.

    Notes: Approximate driving time is 45 minutes.

    York City to Paper Mill
    Date: July 8, 2007
    Directions: From York City in Pennsylvania, drive south on Pershing Avenue for 3 blocks.
    Turn left (east) on Princess Street. Follow for 2 blocks.
    Turn right (south) on George Street. Follow south for 3 miles. Follow signs for highway 83.
    Drive into Maryland.
    Take exit 20A to Shawan Road, heading east. Follow for 0.9 miles.
    Turn right (south) on York Road (route 45). Follow for 0.3 miles. There will be a 7-11 and Shell station on your left just before Ashland Road. There is no restroom at the destination so you may want to stop there to answer nature's call.
    Turn left (east) onto Ashland Road. Follow for about a mile to Paper Mill.

    Notes: Approximate driving time is 45 minutes. Be sure to check out my trip report at November 17, 2007.


     
    Ohiopyle State Park
     
    The park was made possible through the vision and generosity of members and donors of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC). The evolution of this state park began in 1951 when WPC bought Ferncliff Peninsula to protect the globally threatened plant species there, documented by botanist Otto E. Jennings. In 1971, the Conservancy conveyed almost 10,000 acres it had purchased to the Commonwealth, and negotiated the purchase of the remainder of the initial 18,000-acre park.
    - from park sign

    Today, Ohiopyle State Park is comprised of 19,052 acres and more than 14 miles of the Youghiogheny River Gorge that passes through the heart of the park. This river has some of the best whitewater kayaking/rafting in the eastern United States along with spectacular scenery. There is much to do in this area regardless of whether you are a serious kayaker/rafter, hiker, backpacker, or more interested in beginner activities.

    Cucumber Falls
    Ohiopyle Falls
    Ohiopyle State Park - DCNR
    Ohiopyle State Park - Fay West
    Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Map
    Youghiogheny River and Trail - Fay West
    Youghiogheny River Trail
    Youghiogheny River Trail - Neon Web
    Youghiogheny River Trail - Watson's Choice

    Location: Fayette County, Pennsylvania
    Date: February 17, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick). Follow for 91 miles.
    Merge onto highway 68 west/route 40 west via exit 1A on the left, towards Cumberland. Follow for 66 miles.
    Merge onto route 40 west via exit 14B towards Uniontown. Follow for 0.7 miles.
    Turn left onto route 40/National Pike which will take you into Pennsylvania. Follow for 20 miles.
    Turn right onto route 381. Follow for eight miles.

    Notes: There is parking in several places near where route 381 passes over the Youghiogheny River. The 1.8 mile Ferncliff Trail is a scenic circuit hike that offers spectacular waterfall views as well as other great views of the Youghiogheny River.

    If you're in the area, also be sure to check out Bear Run Nature Reserve.

    Below are a couple of photos of trail sign maps that you might find useful if you print them big enough. The first map shows the whole area while the second shows the Ferncliff Trail area.      Ohiopyle area trail map      Ferncliff Trail area map

    Read my trip report at Grantsville, Maryland President's Day 2008.


     
    Oregon Ridge Park
     
    Oregon Ridge Park has been owned and operated by Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks since 1969. It is the largest county run park in Baltimore County, encompassing 1,043 acres. The park has about 6 miles of hiking trails, a swimming hole, a dinner theater, tennis courts, a playground, and a large number of pinic areas.

    Location: Cockeysville, Maryland
    Date: July 2, 2005
    Phone: 410-887-1818
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 20B to Shawan Road.
    Turn left (west) on Shawan Road.
    Turn left (south) on Beaver Dam Road at the Oregon Grille.
    Make an immediate right into Oregon Ridge Park.
    - OR -
    Continue along Beaver Dam Road for about a half mile. There will be another entrance on the right. If you come to Ivy Hill Road, you've gone too far.
    Notes: The first entrance leads to the swimming hole and the Nature Center. The swimming hole is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day 1000-1800 during the week and 1000-2000 on weekends. Entrance to the swimming hole is $6 on weekdays and $7 on weekends. They've got some pretty strict rules: take a swim test to use the deep area, no floatation aids, no ball throwing, and no Frizbee playing. At the end of the road into the first entrance is the Nature Center. There are regular restrooms in the Nature Center and a porta-john in the parking lot. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. No entrance fee unless swimming. The south side trail (near Baisman Run) and the west side of Loggers Red Trail are scenic. There is also a scenic overlook at the southeast end of Loggers Red Trail. This overlook allows one to see miles into Cockeysville down a grassy slope (ski slope). While the trails are marked, there are parts where they branch off into unmarked territory that doesn't appear on the map. There is also a Natural Riches Loop which is a self guiding eduational trail that begins near the bridge by the Nature Center. This loop won't appear on the trail system map.

    The second entrance leads to the tennis courts, dinner theater, lodge, and stage. To access Loggers Red Trail from this entrance, find the stage and look uphill. This is a ski slope that is just a grassy hill during the warmer months. Walk to the top of the hill. Now you are at the scenic overlook. You can pick up the trail on the left.

    Oregon Ridge Park

    The Oregon Ridge Nature Center
         13555 Beaver Dam Road
         Cockeysville, MD 21030
         Phone: 410-887-1815
         Nature Center open Tuesday through Sunday from 0900-1700.
    Click to send e-mail to Oregon RidgeClick to send e-mail

    Beaver Dam Swimming Club
    Less than 2 miles from Oregon Ridge Park is a much larger swimming hole with fewer restrictions than the Oregon Ridge Park. This swimming hole has a cliff for jumping off, a rope swing, beach volleyball courts, a basketball court, grills, and a snack bar that serves hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and soda.
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695) clockwise.
    Take exit 24 to the Baltimore Harrisburg Expressway (highway 83) north.
    Take exit 18 to Warren Road east.
    Turn left (northwest) onto Beaver Dam Road.
    Just after Cockeysville Road, turn left into the Club.
    - OR -
    Directions: From Oregon Ridge Park, continue southeast on Beaver Dam Road.
    At the end, turn right. You'll still be on Beaver Dam Road.
    After about a quarter mile, turn right into the Club.


     
    Patapsco Valley State Park
     
    Patapsco Valley State Park extends along the Patapsco River for 35 miles.  It meanders from Elkridge in the east to Woodbine in the west.  This river park encompasses over 15,000 acres and several distinct recreational areas.

    Some of the unmaintained trails, particularly those in the Elkridge area, are shared with dirt bikes and quad runners. Many of these trails are very difficult to follow and some seem to pass through private property...or at least property with "no tresspassing" sign. Lots of litter in the Elkridge area.

    Patapsco Valley State Park


    Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove Areas - Main Entrance
    Location: Elkridge, Baltimore County ADC map 41 H12
    Date: 2005
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions from Baltimore: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) head south on the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295).
    Merge onto highway 195 heading west towards Catonsville.
    Take exit 3 onto Washington Boulevard (route 1) south.
    After passing under highway 195, turn right onto South Street.
    Make an immediate right onto Park Entrance Road.


    Directions from the south: From Howard County, take highway 95 north.
    Take exit 4 to highway 195, heading towards the BWI Airport.
    Take exit 3 onto Washington Boulevard (route 1) south. Turn right at the end of the ramp.
    In 0.1 mile or less, turn right (west) onto South Street.
    Make an immediate right onto Park Entrance Road.


    Once in the park, you can get to the swinging bridge in the Orange Grove area.
    Directions to swinging bridge: Once in the park, follow Park Entrnace Road for one mile until the road ends.
    Turn left (south) onto Gun Road for 0.1 mile to the end.
    Turn right (west) onto River Road and follow 1.6 miles to the end.


    Notes: Two dollar entrance fee per vehicle as of 2012.  While there are plenty of well known trails that travel northwest along the Patapsco River, there are also many that travel east along the river as well as many that travel southwest along highway 195 and the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295).  Open from 0900 until sunset. My favorite place to meet is the big parking lot next to the restroom on the Howard County side, near the swinging bridge. For more information, see April 16, 2005, March 12, 2006, November 12, 2011, and February 25, 2012.

    Daniels Area
    Location: Across from Gary Memorial United Methodist Church at 2029 Daniels Road, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043
    Date: January 20, 2014
    Directions: From anywhere on highway 29, take highway 29 north until it ends.
    Turn right (east) on Rogers Avenue. Follow 0.6 mile to the traffic circle.
    Take Old Frederick Road east. Follow 0.5 mile.
    Turn left (north) on Daniels Road. Follow 0.8 mile. There will be a paved parking area on the left and a much larger one further down on the right.

    Notes: 24 minutes from Savage. Parking for about 6 vehicles in the left lot and maybe 15 in the right lot. No entrance fee. No restroom or water fountain. Across from the right lot is a dam. Futher downstream is the CSX railroad bridge. Pedestrians cannot cross this bridge as it is clearly marked that it is on private property. There is a boat launch area just off the left lot. The Department of Natural Resources website states,
    Paddlers can enjoy this section of the Patapsco year-round. Water is backed up behind the dam to provide about 2 miles of flat water even during low water conditions and when the river is running high paddlers can travel from Woodstock Road (Rt. 125) to the Daniels area, approximately 4.7 river miles.
    For more information, see my January 20, 2014 blog.

    Glen Artney Area - Side Entrance
    Location: Arbutus, Baltimore County ADC map 41 G8
    Date: March 12, 2006
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) head south on the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295).
    Merge onto highway 195 heading west towards Catonsville. Follow to the Park and Ride parking lot and park. If you come to Rolling Road (route 166), you've gone just a bit too far.

    Notes: Just walk across Rolling Road (route 166) to the park. There are a few trails that lead southwest into the main area at Patapsco River. This is a good way to avoid the entrance fee. You can also park on the dirt area on the west side of Rolling Road. This area is very popular with mountain bikers to hikers should be attentive.

    Hilton Area - Main Entrance
    Location: Catonsville, Baltimore County ADC map 41 C8
    Date: 2005
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 47B towards Catonsville.
    Turn right (northwest) onto Rolling Road (route 166).
    Turn left onto Brook Road, Ridge Road, or Park Drive.
    Turn left onto Hilton Avenue.  Follow for 1.5 miles to the park entrance on the right.

    Notes: There are a variety of short trails along with a swinging bridge across the river to the Orange Grove area which hosts another network of trails.

    Hilton Area - Ilchester Road entrance
    Location: Ellicott City, Howard County ADC map 4816 H10
    Date: February 25, 2012
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 47B towards Catonsville.
    Turn right (northwest) onto Rolling Road (route 166) Follow 2 miles to the end.
    Turn left (west) on Frederick Road (route 144). Follow 0.6 mile.
    Turn left (south) on South Hilltop Road. It may change names to Hilltop Place. Follow for 1.6 miles to the end.
    Turn left (southeast) on River Road. This will change names to Ilchester Road. Follow for about 0.1 mile, crossing over the Patapsco River. Park near the Ilchester Road foot bridge.

    Notes: Cross the Ilchester Road foot bridge (right after the Ilchester Road/River Road vehicle bridge) towards the east to enter the Hilton Area. Head up the concrete steps on the west side of Ilchester Road and directly across from the foot bridge to enter what I call "Ilchester Ghost Town." Or, to get to the ghost town, head up the big, grand stairs on the southwest side of the Ilchester Road/River Road intersection with the CSX railroad tracks. No restroom. For more information, see February 25, 2012.

    Hilton Area - South Hilltop Road (Ilchester Rocks) entrance
    Location: Catonsville, Baltimore County ADC map 41 A7
    Date: February 25, 2012
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 47B towards Catonsville.
    Turn right (northwest) onto Rolling Road (route 166). Follow 2 miles to the end.
    Turn left (west) on Frederick Road (route 144). Follow 0.6 mile.
    Turn left (south) on South Hilltop Road. It may change names to Hilltop Place. Follow for one mile and park on the right in a dirt lot under the power lines.

    Notes: From here, one can catch Buzzard Rock Trail, heading either northeast or southwest. If heading southwest, it is about a third of a mile to Ilchester Rocks, a popular rock climbing area. No restroom. Parking for about 15 vehicles. For more information, see February 25, 2012.

    Hollofield Area
    Location: Near Ellicott City, Howard County ADC map 12 H4
    Date: December 29, 2007
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise) to exit 15, Baltimore National Pike (route 40) west.  Follow for 2.5 miles, crossing over the Patapsco River.  Park exit is on both sides of route 40 shortly after crossing over the river.
    Notes: This area has a scenic river valley overlook, picnic sites including rental pavilions, fishing and camping.  There are 73 campsites, some with electric hookups, a pet loop and a camp store.  The trail along the Patapsco River is on the (west) Howard County side north of route 40 and on the (east) Baltimore County side south of route 40. Special thanks to Norma for helping scout this area. Check out my December 29, 2007 hike in this area.

    Hugg-Thomas Wildlife Management Area
    Location: Near Sykesville, Howard County ADC map 5 A5
    Date:
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 80 to Sykesville Road (route 32) north (right).
    Turn left onto West Friendship Road (turns into Main Street) before crossing into Carroll County (before the railroad tracks).
    Turn left onto Forsythe Road.  Parking is on the right.

    Notes: The nature trail is open to hikers on Sundays from February 16 to August 31.   The trail has has few or no blazes.  Parking facilities can be accessed off Forsythe Road.

    McKeldin Area
    Location: Near the Carroll County/Howard County/Baltimore County border.  Howard County ADC map 6 D6
    Date: February 28, 2010
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west. (to Frederick).  Stay on highway 70 for 9 miles.
    Take exit 83 to Marriottsville Road north (right).  Travel for 3 miles.  The park entrance is on the right.

    Notes: This 1403 acre area may is known for its varied, steep, and wooded terrain, similar to the mountains of Western Maryland.  There are several short trails, the longest being the Switchback Trail at only 4 miles.  There are also plenty of longer trails just outside of the immediate McKeldin Area.  Open 0800 to sunset from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  During the rest of the year, the area is open from 1000 to sunset. Pets not allowed. As of February 28, 2010, there is a two dollar entrance fee per vehicle. For more information, see April 16, 2005 and February 28, 2010.

    North End (near Freedom Park Recreation Area)
    Location: Near Sykesville, Howard County ADC map 5 B6
    Date:
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 80 to Sykesville Road (route 32) north (right).
    Turn left onto West Friendship Road (turns into Main Street) before crossing into Carroll County (before the railroad tracks).
    Turn right onto River Road.
    Parking on the left after 0.6 miles, just after crossing over a small stream.

    Notes: Several trails to the east on both sides of the river.

    Woodstock
    Location: Woodstock, Howard County ADC map 6 F11
    Date:
    Phone: 410-461-5005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west. (to Frederick).  Stay on highway 70 for 9 miles
    Take exit 83 to Marriottsville Road north (right).
    Turn right (east) at Old Frederick Road (route 99).
    Turn left (northeast) onto Woodstock Road.  Parking is on the left just before crossing over the Patapsco River into Baltimore County.

    Notes: Several trails in either direction along the Patapsco River.


     
    Patuxent Branch Trail
     
    The Patuxent Branch Trail is part of a 20-mile trail system over and around the rolling hills of Howard County that follows a former Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad line along the Patuxent River. It begins in Savage Park and ends at Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. There are several trails in this area that comprise the trail system that I've described below.

    On December 20, 2009, I moved to Savage. Hence, this area is like my backyard. Literally, my backyard connects to Savage Park so in a way, this statement is somewhat true.

    Patuxent Branch Trail Introduction
    Trails.com - Patuxent Branch Trail
    TrailLink - Patuxent Branch Trail

    Savage Park
    Location: 8400 Fair Street, Savage, Maryland 20763
    Date: March 31, 2012
    Phone: 410-313-4700
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south to exit 38.
    Take route 32 southeast. Follow for 1.4 miles.
    Take Washington Boulevard (route 1) southwest. Follow for 0.1 miles.
    Turn right (northwest) on Howard Street. This will merge with Baltimore Street after 0.2 miles. Follow for a half mile to the end.
    Turn right (north) on Fair Street. Follow for a tenth of a mile into the park.

    Notes: Savage Park of Howard County is not to be confused with Savage River State Forest. Just to the east of the playground, at Google map coordinates 39.13925, -76.828415 is a marker that reads
    This survey point, set September 2001, marks the symbolic center of population for the state of Maryland. This point is where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the state of Maryland would balance perfectly if all its 5,296,486 residents (based on census 2000) were of identical weight.

    Wincopin Area
    Location: 9299 Vollmerhausen Road, Jessup, Maryland 20794; Howard County ADC map 5053 G7
    Date: March 31, 2010
    Phone: 410-313-4700
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south to exit 38.
    Take route 32 southeast. Follow for 1.4 miles.
    Take Washington Boulevard (route 1) southwest. Follow for 0.1 miles.
    Turn right (northwest) on Howard Street. This will merge with Baltimore Street after 0.2 miles. Follow for an additional 0.4 miles.
    Turn right (north) on Savage Guilford Road after the post office. Follow for 0.7 miles to the stop sign.
    Turn left (west) on Volmerhausen Road. Follow for 0.4 miles crossing over the Little Patuxent River. Entrance is on the left.

    Notes: Porta-john. Easy hiking trails. See my March 31, 2010, July 25, 2010, March 3, 2014, and March 17, 2014 trip reports. For more information, see
  • Wincopin Access - Horseshoe Area
  • Lands End Area - Wincopin Park
  • Wincopin Trail
  • Howard County Sierra Club - Directions to Wincopin Trail

  •  
    Patuxent Research Refuge
     
    The 12,750 acre Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation’s only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research.

    Patuxent Research Refuge

    The North Tract is comprised of 8100 acres that were at one time a military training area.  There are about 20 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding.

    Visitor Contact Station
    230 Bald Eagle Drive
    Laurel, Maryland  20724-3000
    Phone: 410-674-3304

    North Tract
    Location: Bald Eagle Drive, Laurel, Anne Arundel County ADC map 11 H5
    Date: January 10, 2004
    Phone: 410-674-4625
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295) south.
    Take the Fort Meade Road (route 198) exit heading east towards Fort George G. Meade.  Drive for 1.4 miles.
    Just before the softball field on the right, turn right onto Bald Eagle Road and follow to the end.
    Notes: Open November through February 0800 to 1630, March 0800 to 1800, April through August 0800 to 2000, September 0800 to 1900, and October 0800 to 1830.  Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and on hunting days.  For more information on hunting in the refuge, call 301-317-3825 or 301-317-3819.  Visitors must check in at contact station.  Last visitor permit issued one half hour before closing.  This property is a former military installation and may contain unexploded munitions.  Report the discovery of munitions by calling 410-377-1335.

    South Tract
    Location: 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, Maryland 20708-4027, Prince George’s County ADC map 9 E4
    Date: January 31, 2004
    Phone: 301-497-5580, 301-497-5760
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take the Baltimore Washington Parkway (highway 295) south.
    Take the Powder Mill Road exit turning left (east) onto Powder Mill Road.
    Turn right (southeast) onto Scarlet Tanager Loop.  The National Wildlife Visitor Center will be on the right.

    Notes: The Visitor Center is open daily (except Christmas) from 1000 to 1730.  A few short trails and a very nice visitor center with plenty of exhibits.


     
    Patuxent River Park
     
    The Patuxent River Park is comprised of more than 6,000 acres of natural area parklands along the eastern boundary of Prince George's County. Note the Patuxent River Park is different from Patuxent River State Park.

    Jug Bay Natural Area
    This park consists of over 1400 acres, 90% of which is forested. The Jug Bay Natural Area is famous for its birdwatching.  More than 250 species of birds have been recorded there, with over 100 confirmed as nesting.

    Location: Patuxent River Park, 16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro 20772-8395, Prince George’s County ADC map 27 H11
    Phone: 301-627-6074.  Also call this number for canoe rental and guided tours.
    Date: April 15, 2007
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south. Follow for 9.8 miles.
    Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest.  Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301). Follow for 21 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Croom Road (route 382). Follow for 1.5 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Croom Airport Road. Some maps might show this as turning into Station Road. This is incorrect.
    To get to the park office or Jackson’s Landing, turn left on Park Entrance Road (look for sign) and follow for 1.4 miles to end.
    To get to Selby’s Landing boat ramp, continue on Croom Airport Road to the end, turn left and follow 0.9 miles to end.

    Notes: Stop by the park office if you have not obtained a special use permit.  The park is open year round.  It opens at 0800 except for June, July, and August when it opens at 0700.  Closing time varies from 1630 in winter months to 1930 in summer months.  Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the boardwalk. Dogs must be on leash in the park office vicinity. The park has about 8 miles of trails, none of which are blazed. However, there are often markers at trail intersections.  About 65 minutes from Arbutus. Check out my blog from June 25, 2011.

    A letter I received from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in January 2008 reads as follows:
    As we move into 2008, there will be some policy changes as well as exciting new activities. The most important news is a policy change in reference to the park's "annual" permit. Starting in 2008, we will no longer require the $5 and $10 "special-use" permit to use the park. Over the years as the park has expanded it has become increasingly difficult to manage and enforce the permit policy. In the long run, we felt it was no longer cost effective and not the best way to serve the public. This will not affect the overall management philosophy of the park. We will still only permit those activities that protect the nature resources and preserve the scenic character of the river. The permit change, however, will not apply to those permit holders with boat trailers. The annual $25 permit will still be required to use all three boat ramps. For those permitees, your renewal will be mailed in early March. Please note that the parking limitation at all three ramps will still be in effect.

    Camping
    There are 5 sites in the group camp area (A-E) which are open year round.  Each site has at least one picnic table and a fire grate with some firewood provided.

    Water is available at the white well building. This building has an outdoor cold water shower surrounded by wooden walls which provide limited privacy. Attached to this building is a water fountain and four water spigots.

    The area also has a pavilion on the south side of the white well building that is shared by all campers. As of December 2006, this pavilion has 20 picnic tables, a few electrical outlets, and a tri-grill.

    A barn is available for use during inclement weather, located on the east side of the pavilion. This barn has a basketball hoop on the outside west side. Inside are 13 picnic tables and several electrical outlets.

    A December 2006 recon showed poles set in concrete in tires that appear to be net stands for volleyball.

    Indoor restrooms are located in a white trailer just south of the barn. The men's side has two urinals and one toilet while the women's has three toilets.

    Between the indoor restrooms and the barn are two horseshoe pits.

    On the west side of the indoor restrooms is a trash dumpster.

    As of 2004, the camping fee is $3 per person per night for residents and $4 for non-residents.

    Campsite D is my favorite site because it has some tree cover that can also be used for hanging hammocks. This site is east of the barn and has a huge, open, grassy area to its north, ideal for throwing the frizbee. The southern side is wooded while the Critical Area Driving Tour (CADT) is to the east. This site is ideal for a very large group. Three picnic tables are present.

    My second favorite site is site B which is west of the barn on a grassy hill. To the west of campsite B are woods. The hill offers a nice view of the area but no privacy from campsite A which is on the north side at a lower elevation. If reserving two campsites, selecting A and B would be ideal. Both A and B can support extremely large groups.

    Campsite C is also good but better suited for a smaller group, perhaps 5 tents. It offers the most seclusion. It is south of campsite B and west of the barn. There are trees on three sides of campsite C. There is a dirt path that leads from campsite C to the pavillion. Sometimes the entrance to campsite C is quite muddy.

    Campsite E is the most secluded and the furthest from the parking lot. Campsites C and E, while secluded, might also be more buggy during the summer since their tree cover might limit any breezes that keep insects away.

    Call Butch at 301-627-6074 to make camping or canoe/kayak reservations. Camping reservations cannot be made until the year of the event. The camping fee is $3 per person per night for residents and $4 for non-residents.

    Canoe camping: A separate canoe campground just 0.3 miles north of Selby’s Landing Boat Ramp is available for groups of 20 or less from April to October.  A dirt road connects the campground to the main road.  The campground has picnic tables, a fire pit, and firewood.  Selby’s Landing has a porta-john with hand sanitizer.  The site is accessible to water during mid to high tide.  There is no drinking water on site.  Water must be obtained at the well house located in the group camp area 0.9 miles away.

    Park staff
    As of 2007, Greg Lewis is the park director. Gail K. works at the front desk as of December 2006. Butch handles campground and canoe/kayak reservations.

    Kayak and Canoe rental
    Daily canoe rental is $12 for residents and $15 for non-residents.  Overnight canoe rental is $17 for residents and $20 for non-residents as of 2004. As of 2006, the park has 7 canoes (each can hold 2 adults) and 8 kayaks. Given advanced notice, it might be possible they can obtain more for an event.

    The park offers a downriver canoe trip from Queen Anne Bridge to Jackson's Landing. They can take two people in their vehicles from the park office to the launch site. Others must provide their own transportation. The trip takes 5.5 hours and is 12 miles long. Must start by 0830. Try and time the trip with the passage from high to low tide.

    Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Driving Tour (CADT)
    This four mile road which connects Patuxent River Park with Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is open for self-guided driving tours on Sundays from 1000 to 1500 throughout the year.  It is open for bicyclists and hikers daily from 1000 to 1500, January through September.  Access for hiking and biking is from either end while the driving tour must begin on the Patuxent River Park side.

    The road starts at Selby’s Landing Boat Ramp.
    At mile one, it comes to a small observation tower and a wooden bridge that crossed over Mattaponi Creek.
    At mile 1.7, there will be a short trail on the left that leads to an approximately 60 foot tall observation tower.
    At mile 2.7, there will be a short trail on the left that leads to a boardwalk.
    On the right, at mile 2.7 will be a short trail that leads to a Catfish Pond. I find it reminiscent of the Pocomoke River because of the darkness of the water.
    At mile 2.9 will Lookout Creek Trail, a trail less than a mile long that leads to Lookout Creek.
    The total distance from Selby's Landing to the paved road at Merkle is 4 miles. Consider a combination bike/hike route where you bike along the CADT and stop to hike all the foot trails that branch from it. See Patuxent River Park to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Loop.

    Rural Life Museums
    From the visitors center, walk south for a short distance on a dirt trail to some small buildings. Here you will find a legacy of 19th century life featuring the W. Henry Duvall Tool Museum, the Tobacco Farming Museum, a log cabin, and a blacksmith and farrier shop. Open Saturday and Sundays April through October from 1300 to 1600. Park volunteers are available when open to answer questions.

    7.3 or 8.1 mile route
    Consider the following Patuxent River Park hike scouted by Saki, Norma, Lloyd, and Jennifer on December 2, 2006. The route marked in yellow is the first part of the trip to the lunch site while the part marked in orange is the return trip. See the route map.
    Starting at the barn at the group campsite, head south on the dirt road near the toilet building. This road is wide enough for vehicles. This road will turn west then meet at waypoint 013.
    Turn right (north) at waypoint 013 onto a dirt trail called Half Pone. The trail may become muddy at times.
    Turn right (north) at waypoint 014 then head for a short distance to (waypoint) 015.
    Croom Airport Road, a paved road, meets with 015. Turn left (northwest) at this road.
    At 016, turn right (north) onto another dirt trail.
    At 017, turn right (southeast) at a sign that reads "Environmentally Sensitive Area - Hikers Only." This means you shouldn't have to worry about stepping in horse crap. Note the scrap metal off to your right. Interestingly, the name of this trail is Lonesome Pine Horse Trail.
    Waypoint 018 is a scenic overlook with a bench near some stairs. This is a great place for a break or at least a good stop to take some photos. The area is quite marshy. People who venture into the lowlands should be cautioned of deep mud.
    After going down the stairs, then coming back up to the highlands, there will be a large metal object on the left that I like to call the "crashed UFO" at 019. Though I'm not certain, I believe this is a crashed aircraft that might have come from the old airfield about half a mile to the southeast.
    At 021 (yes, I know I missed 020) turn left (east) on a paved road. Note that there is no sign at this end telling horses to stay out but there was such a sign at the other end.
    After a very short distance, turn left (north) on the trail which should be marked by a red triangle at 022.
    At 023 you will cross Swan Point Creek via boardwalk.
    At 024 the trail becomes extremely muddy.
    Make a right oblique (heading north) at 025. You will see some large machine off to the right. Not sure what it is but the best guess I've heard it a cement mixer. This part of the map has inadequate resolution and may be a bit misleading since there are so many trails that come together in this area.
    After about 30 meters, turn right (east) at 026 to catch Chapman Hiking Trail. Pass through a gate after about 20 meters.
    At 027, you will likely cross a flooded part of the trail. Walking on the south side seems easiest to get around.
    The trail will come to a T at 028. From here, you will see Jug Bay straight ahead through the trees.
    One option is to turn right (south), head to the end of the trail, then head back. There is a mildly scenic stream off to the west side and the trail is somewhat scenic at the turnaround point. Taking this route will add another 0.8 miles to the trip.
    From 028, head north (left if 0.8 mile addition not taken) and continue. Note that the map enters a square. See the Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area to enlarge this section.
    At 029 there will be a sign that reads "No dogs, bicycles, or horses permitted in the Nature Study Area." Turn right (northeast) at this sign.
    After 5 meters, turn right (south). The trail will turn counterclockwise and head downhill to the water.
    At 030, turn right (east) on the boardwalk and continue to the Observation Blind. This is a good stop for a break and to take photos.
    Return from the Observation Blind to 030 then head right (north) along the water.
    At 031 the trail splits but this split may be barely noticeable on the left. Take the right side which leads along the water on the boardwalk. As you walk on the boardwalk, look to the left and see if you can find the knees of the Cypress Trees.
    At 032, the boardwalk will split. Take the right side (north). Cross over Black Walnut Creek.
    At 033 you will be at the parking lot for Jackson's Landing Boat Ramp. There will be two porta-johns on the right (east). Continue north.
    At 034 you will be at Jackson's Landing. Turn left (west) and head up the stairs.
    At 035 there will be a house, two benches, and five picnic tables. There will also be a nice a bird viewing telescope. This is a great place to have lunch and take photos. Note that there are restrooms just west of the house. People can explore the park office and meet back at the tables at a designated time. By now, you should have walked about 4.2 miles or 5.0 miles if the 0.8 mile additional option was taken.
    Now the route is highlighted in orange. Head northwest towards the Visitors Center.
    At the Visitors Center (036), head southwest on a driveable road that leads downhill.
    At 037, you will be at Patuxent Rural Life Museums. In this area is the Duvall Tool Museum. There will be a picnic table and a village bell. Be sure to ring the bell.
    The trail picks up again at the south side of the museum area at 038, heading south.
    On the map, the trail is supposed to come to a T but it appears to only head right (west). Follow the trail on the boardwalk counterclockwise.
    At 039, there will be a staircase. Turn right (south) at the staircase and head up to the Observation Platform on the west side. Stop for a view of the area then continue heading uphill from the Observation Platform.
    At 040, the trail will come to a T. Turn right (west), eventually leaving the Nature Study Area.
    At 041, the trail will come to a T. Turn right (west), now overlapping with the yellow route. You are now on Chapman Hiking Trail.
    At 026, turn left. This is where things get confusing. At 025, head right which will lead downhill as the orange and yellow routes now seperate.
    At 042 there will be a marker indicating the trail splits. The trail off to the right will be very faint. Stay on the main trail on the left, continuing to head downhill (south).
    At 043, cross a wooden bridge over Swan Point Creek.
    At 017, the trail will split. Take the right side heading south.
    Come back to Croom Airport Road at 016.
    Cross straight across Croom Airport Road to continue on the trail heading south.
    At 044, turn left (east) to get back to Half Pone. Connect back with 014 then turn right (southeast).
    At 013/045, turn left on the dirt road wide enough for a vehicle, heading east.
    At 046 the trail heads left (north) and passes campsite C on the right. Continuing just past campsite C there will be a small dirt shortcut back to the pavilion. Take this back to the start.
    By the time you are done, you should have completed about 7.3 miles or 8.1 miles if the optional 0.8 addtion was completed.


    4.8 or 5.6 mile route
    Consider the following Patuxent River Park hike scouted by Saki, Norma, Lisa, and Claudia on February 14, 2007.
    For maps, download Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area and route map. The route marked in orange is the first part of the trip while the part marked in yellow is the return trip.
    Start at 036, the Visitors Center on the Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area map.
    Head southwest on a driveable road that leads downhill.
    At 037, you will be at Patuxent Rural Life Museums. In this area is the Duvall Tool Museum. There will be a picnic table and a village bell. Be sure to ring the bell.
    The trail picks up again at the south side of the museum area at 038, heading south.
    On the map, the trail is supposed to come to a T but it appears to only head right (west). Follow the trail on the boardwalk counterclockwise.
    At 039, there will be a staircase. Turn right (south) at the staircase and head up to the Observation Platform on the west side. Stop for a view of the area then continue heading uphill from the Observation Platform.
    At 040, the trail will come to a T. Turn right (west), eventually leaving the Nature Study Area.
    See the other map for a lower resolution view of the trails.
    At 041, the trail will come to a T. Turn right (west), now overlapping with the yellow route.
    At 026, turn left. This is where things get confusing. You will see some large machine off to the right. Not sure what it is but the best guess I've heard it a cement mixer. This part of the map has inadequate resolution and may be a bit misleading since there are so many trails that come together in this area.
    A stones throw from the machine, at 025, head right which will lead downhill as the orange and yellow routes now seperate.
    At 042 there will be a marker indicating the trail splits. The trail off to the right will be very faint. Stay on the main trail on the left, continuing to head downhill (south).
    At 043, cross a wooden bridge over Swan Point Creek.
    At 017, the trail will split. Take the left side heading east. NOTE THAT THE PARTS SOUTH OF 017 ON THE MAP ARE NOT USED FOR THIS HIKE.
    You should see a sign that reads "Environmentally Sensitive Area - Hikers Only." This means you shouldn't have to worry about stepping in horse crap. Note the scrap metal off to your right. Interestingly, the name of this trail is Lonesome Pine Horse Trail.
    Waypoint 018 is a scenic overlook with a bench near some stairs. This is a great place for a break or at least a good stop to take some photos. The area is quite marshy. People who venture into the lowlands should be cautioned of deep mud.
    After going down the stairs, then coming back up to the highlands, there will be a large metal object on the left that I like to call the "crashed UFO" at 019. Though I'm not certain, I believe this is a crashed aircraft that might have come from the old airfield about half a mile to the southeast.
    At 021 (yes, I know I missed 020) turn left (east) on a paved road. Note that there is no sign at this end telling horses to stay out but there was such a sign at the other end.
    After a very short distance, turn left (north) on the trail which should be marked by a red triangle at 022.
    At 023 you will cross Swan Point Creek via boardwalk.
    At 024 the trail becomes extremely muddy.
    Make a right oblique (heading north) at 025. You will again see the large machine off to the right.
    After about 30 meters, turn right (east) at 026. Pass through a gate after about 20 meters.
    At 027, you will likely cross a flooded part of the trail. Walking on the south side seems easiest to get around.
    The trail will come to a T at 028. From here, you will see Jug Bay straight ahead through the trees.
    One option is to turn right (south), head to the end of the trail, then head back. There is a mildly scenic stream off to the west side and the trail is somewhat scenic at the turnaround point. Taking this route will add another 0.8 miles to the trip.
    From 028, head north (left if 0.8 mile addition not taken) and continue.
    Switch to the Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area map.
    At 029 there will be a sign that reads "No dogs, bicycles, or horses permitted in the Nature Study Area." Turn right (northeast) at this sign.
    After 5 meters, turn right (south). The trail will turn counterclockwise and head downhill to the water.
    At 030, turn right (east) on the boardwalk and continue to the Observation Blind. This is a good stop for a break and to take photos.
    Return from the Observation Blind to 030 then head right (north) along the water.
    At 031 the trail splits but this split may be barely noticeable on the left. Take the right side which leads along the water on the boardwalk. As you walk on the boardwalk, look to the left and see if you can find the knees of the Cypress Trees.
    At 032, the boardwalk will split. Take the right side (north). Cross over Black Walnut Creek.
    At 033 you will be at the parking lot for Jackson's Landing Boat Ramp. There will be two porta-johns on the right (east). Continue north.
    At 034 you will be at Jackson's Landing. Turn left (west) and head up the stairs.
    At 035 there will be a house, two benches, and five picnic tables. There will also be a nice a bird viewing telescope. This is a great place to have lunch and take photos. By now, you should have walked about 4.8 miles or 5.6 miles if the 0.8 mile additional option was taken.


     
    Pine Creek  

    As of 2009, the Pine Creek Rail Trail is 63.4 miles. While the trail is spectacular, be sure to make time for exploring the multitude of neighboring trails. In the springtime, consider kayaking, rafting, or tubing down the creek.

    I highly recommend sticking to the major roads. Just because you see a road on your map doesn't mean it will easily take you where you want to go.

    Big Meadows Canoe Access Area - Ansonia

    Robert McCullough Jr. Pine Creek Access - Blackwell

    North End: Wellsboro Junction
    Location: Butler Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, Pennsylvania
    Date: October 11, 2009
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania. Follow for 73.3 miles.
    Take exit 51A to highway 81 south/highway 322 west towards Carlisle/Lewistown. Make sure you take this exit and not any before. Follow for 2.4 miles.
    Take exit 67B-A to highway 22 west/highway 322 west towards Lewistown/State College. Follow for 13.3 miles.
    Merge onto highway 15 north towards Selingrove/Williamsport. Follow for 70.7 miles.
    Take exit 29 to remain on highway 15 north, heading towards Mansfield. Continue for 27.3 miles.
    Take the route 414 exit towards Morris/Liberty, turning left (west) onto route 414. Follow for 9.8 miles.
    Route 414 will become route 287 north. Continue for another 14.9 miles.
    After route 6 splits from route 287, take the next paved road on the left, Marsh Creek Road, heading west. This is directly across from Muck Road.
    After 100 meters, turn left (south) on Butler Road. Follow for 220 meters. Look for parking on the right (west).

    Notes: As of 2009, this is the northernmost end of the rail trail. Parking for about 15 vehicles. About 4 hours and 37 minutes from Hanover, Maryland. Porta-john available. Pine Creek flows downstream from this area. Thus, if you plan on biking the entire rail trail, it is recommended to start at this end. For more information see Pine Creek Gorge and my trip report from October 10-12, 2009.

    Ramsey Village
    Location: Intersection of Ramsey Drive and Route 44 in Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
    Date: February 15, 2009
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania. Follow for 73.3 miles.
    Take exit 51A to highway 81 south/highway 322 west towards Carlisle/Lewistown. Make sure you take this exit and not any before. Follow for 2.4 miles.
    Take exit 67B-A to highway 22 west/highway 322 west towards Lewistown/State College. Follow for 13.3 miles.
    Merge onto highway 15 north towards Selingrove/Williamsport. Follow for 68.7 miles.
    Take the ramp on the left to highway 220 south toward Lock Haven/Mansfield. Follow for 16.6 miles.
    Take the route 44 north exit towards Pine Creek/Waterville. Follow for 7.9 miles.
    Look for parking on the left at or near Ramsey Drive in Jersey Shore.

    Notes: Parking for 4 vehicles. About 4 hours from Hanover, Maryland. No restroom at lot but there is about a third of a mile across the bridge on the other side of Pine Creek. There is additional parking in small dirt lots just south of Ramsey Drive. For more information see Pine Creek Gorge and my trip reports, February 15, 2009 and July 3-5, 2009.

    South End: Jersey Shore
    Location: Intersection of Railroad Street and Humes Street in Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
    Date: October 11, 2009
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania. Follow for 73.3 miles.
    Take exit 51A to highway 81 south/highway 322 west towards Carlisle/Lewistown. Make sure you take this exit and not any before. Follow for 2.4 miles.
    Take exit 67B-A to highway 22 west/highway 322 west towards Lewistown/State College. Follow for 13.3 miles.
    Merge onto highway 15 north towards Selingrove/Williamsport. Follow for 68.7 miles.
    Take the ramp on the left to highway 220 south toward Lock Haven/Mansfield. Follow for 15.2 miles.
    Take the Thomas Street exit, turning left (south) and following for 0.2 miles.
    Turn right (west) onto Railroad Street. Follow for 0.2 miles.
    In 175 meters, turn left (south) into the parking lot across from Humes Street.

    Notes: As of 2009, this is the southernmost end of the rail trail. Parking for about 40 vehicles. About 3 hours and 50 minutes from Hanover, Maryland. Restroom available. For more information see Pine Creek Gorge and my trip report from October 10-12, 2009.

    Useful links:
    Pine Creek Gorge
    Pine Creek Rail Trail
    Pine Creek Valley
    Rail Trail Map
    Springtime on the Rail Trail
    Trails.com - Pine Creek Rail Trail

    The rail trail area is comprised of the following state parks:
    Colton Point State Park
    Leonard Harrison State Park
    Little Pine State Park
    Upper Pine Bottom State Park

    Also consider visiting
    Cherry Springs State Park
    Crystal Lake Ski Center
    Lyman Run State Park
    Pennsylvania Grand Canyon - Pine Creek Gorge
    Wellsboro Area - Pennsylvania Grand Canyon

    The best part of the rail trail is called the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Pine Creek Outfitters in Anacostia runs rafting, canoeing, bike and hike shuttles. The West Rim Trail is the much talked about backpacking trail in the area. One can find a nice day hike at Bee Tree Ski Trail if you can find the trails and are willing to do a little bushwhacking.


     
    Poplar Lick Trail
     
    Location: Savage River State Forest, Garrett County ADC map Y10
    Date: May 25, 2008
    Phone:
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 22 and follow to Chestnut Ridge Road south to New Germany Road.
    Turn left onto New Germany Road and continue south.
    Drive for about 3.5 miles. There will be a dirt lot on the left after Otto Lane and before Fairview Road.

    Notes: Parking for about 12 vehicles. No restroom. This is a yo-yo hike, 6 miles each way. There are drive-in campsites and several stream crossings along the way. Lots of off road vehicles. Not particularly good for hiking as there is quite a bit of traffic. Special thanks to Norma to introducing me to this trail. For a trip report, see May 25, 2008.


     
    Potomac-Garrett State Forest
     
    The Potomac-Garrett State Forest is located in southern Garrett County. It conists of over 19,000 acres. The forest features the highest point in any Maryland state forest -- Backbone Mountain, elevation 3220 feet. Over 30 miles of hiking trails are located within the forest. Thirty six undeveloped campsites are available on a first come basis. Sites for groups of 8 to 25 can be reserved by calling the forest headquarters. Pets are allowed in all areas of the forest.
    - from Potomac-Garrett State Forest flyer

    As of 2011, individual camp sites are only $10. Group sites are also available by reservation only. There is only one toilet that I know of in the park and no sinks as far as I can tell so plan accordingly.

    Location: Between the towns of Oakland and Westernport and partially bordering the Potomac River. 1701 Potomac Camp Road, Oakland, Maryland; Garrett County ADC map S31
    Date: March 25, 2007
    Phone: 301-334-2038
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 22 and follow to Chestnut Ridge Road south to New Germany Road.
    Turn left (south) onto New Germany Road. Follow for 9.7 miles.
    Turn slight left (southwest) onto Bittinger Road (route 495). Follow for 7.4 miles.
    Turn right (west) onto Swanton Road to stay on route 495. Follow for 3.2 miles.
    Veer right (west) onto Maryland Highway (route 135). Follow for about 3 miles to the town of Deer Park.
    Turn left (south) on Main Street. The road will change to Boiling Spring Road. Follow for about 3.25 miles.
    Turn right (south) on Eagle Rock Road. Follow for about a mile.
    Turn left (southeast) on Bethlehem Road. Follow for 1.4 miles.
    Turn left (west) on Combination Road. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn left (north) on Potomac Camp Road. Follow for 0.4 miles to the headquarters building where you can pick up a map.
    To reach the scenic Potomac River Overlook, continue on Potomac Camp Road for another half mile.
    Turn right (east) on Lost Land Run Road which is or at least will turn into a dirt road. You may want to avoid this road during heavy rains unless you have a four wheel drive vehicle. There are several campsites and picnic areas along the way. Follow to the end (about 3 miles) where there will be a dirt lot.

    Notes: No restroom at trailhad but there is one in the park closer to the entrance on the left side. You can't miss it. 3.5-4 hours from Baltimore or Washington D.C. Special thanks to Norma for introducing me to this area. For a description of our trip to Potomac State Forest, see March 25, 2007. Also check out November 25, 2011.


     
    Rachel Carson Greenway and Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park Trails
     
    This little gem is great for a short winter hike, an easy trail run, or a dog walk. Places like this are one reason Montgomery County real estate is so valuable.

    Location: Montgomery County ADC map 37 D3
    Date: January 4, 2009
    Phone: 301-625-7207
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 30 to Colesville Road (route 29) heading north. You might need to head south on route 29 then make a U-turn when you can. From the beltway, drive one mile north on route 29.
    Look on the left for the lot after you pass Crestmoor Drive. If you come to Hillwood Drive then you've gone too far. The parking lot is on the northwest side of route 29, about 175 meters south of Hillwood Drive but north of Crestmoor Drive.

    Notes: No restroom. Parking for about 20 vehicles. Special thanks to Betty S. for introducing me to this place. Check out my trip report at January 4, 2009.

    Trail Maps of Northwest Branch


     
    Potomac Heritage Trail
     
    The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (PHT) was designated part of the National System by Congress in 1983.  The Potomac Heritage Trail Association is working to complete the proposed 704-mile trail which will trace features of the Potomac River Basin in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.  Parts of the PHT are maintained by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.  There are many streams which are crossed by stepping on rocks which can be icy in the winter and muddy year round. 

    Fort Marcy Park
    Location: George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia, Metro Washington, D.C. ADC map 8 F8
    Date: February 14, 2004
    Phone: 703-289-2500
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Just after crossing into Virginia, take exit 43 east to George Washington Memorial Parkway.
    After passing Ronald Reagan (Washington) National Airport, turn left onto Marina Drive at Daingerfield Island.  Then head north on George Washington Memorial Parkway.

    After passing Chain Bridge, turn right into Fort Marcy.  Slow down quickly upon seeing the Fort Marcy sign as there is little warning.  Likewise, when leaving the park, speed up quickly as there is little room to merge.
    Notes: No restrooms.  No access to park from George Washington Memorial Parkway heading southeast.  Potomac Heritage Trail has blue blazes. I have heard from a reliable source that some parts are not well maintained.

    41st Street North
    Location: George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia, Metro Washington, D.C. ADC map 8 F8
    Date: November 27, 2005
    Phone: 703-289-2500
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Just after crossing into Virginia, take exit 43 east to George Washington Memorial Parkway.
    Take the Chain Bridge (route 123) exit heading southeast (left). Follow to the T.
    Turn right (west).
    Under the George Washington Memorial Parkway, North Glebe Road and 41st Street North will intersect. Park on 41st Street North.

    Notes: No restroom. Phone available. Parking for about 8 vehicles. There is also parking for about 3 vehicles just west of the Potomac River on the north side of Chain Bridge by the "Welcome to Virginia" sign. Special thanks to Susanita for helping scout this area.

    Theodore Roosevelt Island

    Location: George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia, Metro Washington, D.C. ADC map 15 E1
    Date: November 27, 2005
    Phone: 703-289-2500
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Just after crossing into Virginia, take exit 43 east to George Washington Memorial Parkway.
    After passing Ronald Reagan (Washington) National Airport, turn left onto Marina Drive at Daingerfield Island.  Then head north on George Washington Memorial Parkway.
    After passing Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge but before coming to Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge, turn right into the parking lot for Theodore Roosevelt Island.

    Notes: The northernmost side of the parking lot provides access to the southernmost side of the Potomac Heritage Trail.  Look for the blue blazes.  The southern side has a bridge that connects to Theodore Roosevelt Island.  The bridge closes at dusk.  The island has a few short trails.  Restroom available on the south end of the island. 55 minute drive from Elkridge. A real nice 9.2 mile circuit hike is to head north on the Potomac Heritage Trail, cross over Chain Bridge, head south on the C&O Towpath or Capital Crescent Trail, then cross over the Key Bridge to return to the start. Special thanks to Susanita for helping explore this loop.

    Turkey Run Park

    Location: George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean, Virginia, Metro Washington, D.C. ADC map 8 B2
    Date:
    Phone: 703-289-2500
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Just after crossing into Virginia, take exit 43 east to George Washington Memorial Parkway.
    Take the exit with the sign for Turkey Run Park.

    Notes: Restrooms and water refilling stations available.  Northeast is the Potomac River.  Trails are as follows: Potomac Heritage Trail has blue blazes, Turkey Run Loop has yellow blazes, and Woods Trail has red blazes.


     
    Robert E. Lee Memorial Park
     
    This is a dog-friendly park on over 450 acres. It offers miles of trails for hiking and jogging with one trail going around Lake Roland.

    Location: Falls Road and Lake Side Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21217. Baltimore County ADC map 26 H10
    Date: March 25, 2006
    Phone: 410-396-7931
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 23A to highway 83, heading south towards Baltimore.
    Take exit 10A east onto Northern Parkway, turning left at the light.
    Turn left (north) onto Falls Road (route 25).
    Take Falls Road about 0.7 miles to the intersection with Lake Avenue.
    Continue on Falls Road one block and turn right before the bridge.
    Make an immediate left onto Lakeside Drive.

    Notes: Park along the side of the road. Walk across the foot bridge to access trails. The park is closed from dusk to dawn.


     
    Rocky Gap State Park
     
    Location: 12500 Pleasant Valley Road, Flintstone, Maryland 21530. Allegany County ADC Map EE3
    Date: October 1, 2006
    Phone: 301-722-1480, 301-777-2139, 1-800-825-PARK (24 hour park watch)
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take highway 68 (not route 68) west to exit 50.
    The park headquarters is located on the right.

    Notes: The easy Lakeside Loop Trail goes around Lake Habeeb. Canyon Overlook Nature Trail has a nice overlook. Evitt's Mountain Homeside Trail has a 1200 foot climb from the lake. The incline is gradual over a long distance. It ends at the Mason Dixon Line.

    The campsites at the park are well maintained. There are warm showers and a camp store. At night, campers must have a gate combination to enter the park.

    Quiet hours are from 2300 to 0700. Check out time is 1500. Pets must be leashed at all times.

    The park office is open 0800-1630 Saturday through Thursday and 0800-2030 Friday.

    The 243 acre Lake Habeeb was dedicated in 1976 after a dam was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1970. The lake was named in honor of Edward Habeeb who inspired the creation of the park. Like all lakes in Maryland, Lake Habeeb is not natural. The average depth is 30 feet with some areas as deep as 90 feet.

    A spillway was built by cutting through sedimentary rock. Various types of marine fossils were discovered at the park including those of the trilobite, indicating that an inland ocean once existed at the park.

    There is an aviary near the Rocky Gap Lodge. Raptors are housed for the Scales and Tales program. These birds have been injured/hand raised and cannot survive in the wild. As of October 1, 2006, this aviary is only open to the public Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1600 to 1700. For more information, see
         Rocky Gap State Park


     
    Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA)
     
    Location: 13761 Turners Creek Road, Kennedyville 21645
    Date: August 12, 2012
    Phone: 410-820-1668
    Directions: From the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east. Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Pay $2.50 toll one way only. On the eastern shore, highway 50 will split into highway 50 and highway 301. Stay on highway 301 east for about another 6 miles. Take route 213 (Centreville Road) north through Centreville, Church Creek, across the Chester River, and through Chestertown. Stay on route 213 for a total of about 25 miles to Kennedyville. Turn left (north) on Kennedyville Road. After crossing route 298 (Lambs Meadow Road), the road will change names to Turners Creek Road. Follow Kennedyville/Turners Creek Road for about 3.1 miles.
    Turn left (northwest) on a dirt road that is likely unnamed. Follow for 0.6 mile to a parking lot.

    Notes: The parking lots holds about 40 vehicles. No restroom but there is one at Turner's Creek County Park. There are about 9 miles of trails open from sunrise to sunset. These trails are used by horses, hikers, hunters, and mountain bikers. From mid-July to mid-August, you can walk to a duck blind at the Tidal Pond and catch a view of the lotus flowers blooming. Download a map of the area at Sassafras NRMA map. For more information, see August 12, 2012.

    One can also catch the east end of the trail at the south side of the Knock's Folly Visitors Center (scroll down in this link). To get to this location, drive an additional half mile on Turners Creek Road. The visitor center will be on the right.


     
    Savage River State Forest
     
    Savage River State Forest is the largest of Maryland's State Forests and contains over 53,000 acres of forest land, streams, and wildlife habitat. This forest is located in Garrett County and forms part of the Appalachian Plateau. Within the Savage River State Forest are two state parks - New Germany and Big Run. These are developed, recreational areas offering housekeeping cabins, picnicking, improved campsites and other facilities. More than 10,000 acres of the forest have been designated wild lands. Also within the forest is the 360-acre Savage River Reservoir.

    Big Run State Park
    Savage River State Forest

    Location: Garrett County, Maryland. See Garrett County ADC map LL6
    Phone: 301-895-5759
    Date: November 25, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 22 and follow to Chestnut Ridge Road south to New Germany Road.
    Turn left onto New Germany Road and travel two miles.
    The entrance to the forest headquarters is on the right.

    The route Norma and I did on November 25, 2006 was the north end of Big Savage Mountain Trail just off Old Beall School Road. To reach this trailhead:
    Take exit 29 south from highway 68 onto Beall School Road. Follow this road south. It will split into Beall School Road (left) and Old Frostburg Road (right).
    Follow Beall School Road.
    Turn left on Saint John's Rock Road (a dirt road) heading north.
    There will be a small parking lot and a trail sign on the right at the trailhead.

    Notes: No restrooms. The north half of Big Savage Mountain Trail has little elevation change. The northernmost side is rocky. Between the powerlines and Avilton Lonaconing Road, it is extremely thorny as of November 2006. This section of trail should be avoided. Instead, follow Red Dog Road.
         Savage River State Forest
         127 Headquarters Lane
         Grantsville, MD 21536


     
    Scott's Run Nature Preserve
     
    This 384 acre park has a 2.2 mile loop trail with scenic, easy terrain. The trail follows Scott's Run which is lined with tall hemlocks, then emerges from the woods beside a waterfall as the stream tumbles into the Potomac. Consider making a double park day trip by also hiking at Great Falls Park which is only about 3.5 miles away.

    For information, see
         Hiking Upwards - Scott's Run Nature Preserve
         Local Hikes - Scott's Run

    Location: Fairfax County, Virginia. See Northern Virginia ADC map 8 E3
    Date: January 5, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    After the highway 270 split, take exit 44 to Georgetown Pike (route 193) west.
    Follow Georgetown Pike for 0.2 miles to get to the east parking lot. This lot is on the right side of Georgetown Pike.
    - OR -
    Continue for about another 0.5 miles to get to the west parking lot. This lot is just before Betty Cooke Memorial Bridge, at the intersection of Georgetown Pike (route 193) and Swinks Mill Road, on the right side of Georgetown Pike.
    Notes for east parking lot: No fee, no restroom. Dirt parking lot has space for about 10 cars.
    Notes for west parking lot: No fee, no restroom. Dirt parking lot has space for about 30 cars.
    Notes for both lots: Closed at dark. No biking. Pets must be on leash. About 45 minutes from Elkridge.
    See my trip report from January 5, 2008. Also, check out my photo of the trail map below:
         
    Click thumbnail to enlarge.


     
    Seneca Rocks
     
    If you're looking for a short hike with a fantastic view, check out Seneca Rocks.

    This area is part of Spruce Knob, Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area and the Monongahela National Forest

    The 10th Mountain Division trained on Seneca Rocks in 1943 and 1944.

    Location: Elkins, Pendleton County, West Virginia
    Date: October 9, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Stay on highway 66 until it ends at highway 81.
    Take highway 81 southwest. Stay on highway 81 until the route 55 (second) exit.
    At the stop sign on the exit ramp, turn right (north) on route 55 toward Wardensville. Head into West Virginia. Pass through Wardensville, Moorefield, Petersburg, and into the Seneca Rocks. Parking lot on the left (east) before the route 33/55 split.
    Notes: The paved parking lot holds a hundred vehicles. Restroom available. To head to the summit, cross a bridge over the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River then began our 1000 foot ascent up the Seneca Rocks Trail over 1.5 miles to a wooden platform. Rock scramble to the top and got a spectacular view of the ground below on both the east and the west.

    Seneca Rocks Discovery Center near the route 28/55 and route 33/55 intersection.

    The local restaurant is Front Porch Restaurant just west of the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. Moderate servings at good prices.

    Special thanks for Norma for taking me to this fantastic place. See Columbus Day Weekend 2006 for photos from this area.


     
    Seneca Creek Greenway
     
    This is a nice, fairly flat, and very close-to-home hike if you live in the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area. Not exactly a wilderness hike but it is wooded. In the summer, the leaves on the trees might be dense enough so you don't see all the nearby homes. Not surprisingly, the trail passes along Seneca Creek.
    Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland; Montgomery County ADC map 19 A4
    Date: December 7, 2008
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west (to Frederick).
    Take exit 68 to Ridge Road (route 27) south. Follow for 11.7 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Frederick Road (route 355). Follow for 12.4 miles.
    At Game Preserve Road, make a U-turn.
    After 0.4 miles, there will be parking on the right. Look for the sign that reads "Great Seneca Stream Valley Park." If you come to Wheatfield Drive, you've gone too far.

    Notes: No restroom. Parking for about 25 vehicles. Go to December 7, 2008 to see my trip report.
         Seneca Creek State Park
         11950 Clopper Road
         Gaithersburg MD 21561
         phone: 301-924-2127

    Seneca Creek State Park Trail Guide
    Seneca Creek Greenway Trail


     
    Shenandoah National Park
     
    The American Indian translation for Shenandoah is "daughter of the stars." Shenandoah National Park contains 300 square miles of a 70 mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.  The main artery to all park facilities if the Skyline Drive.  This road follows a 105 mile sinuous course, near the crest of the mountains, for the entire length of the park.  For hikers, the park offers 500 miles of blazed, maintained trails.  There are also variety of tourist activities in the area including a few commercial caverns.

    There are 4 entrances to the park:
    Front Royal: North side, mile 0.6. Reachable via route 340 and highway 55.
    Thornton Gap: Mile 31.5. Reachable via route 211.
    Swift Run Gap: Mile 65.7. Reachable via route 33.
    Rockfish Gap: South side, mile 105.4. Reachable via interstate 64 and route 250.

    There are 3 visitor centers:
    Dickey Ridge: Mile 4.6. Located 4 miles south of the Front Royal Entrance.
    Harry F. Byrd, Senior: Mile 51.
    Loft Mountain: Mile 79.5. Located directly across from Loft Mountain Wayside.

    Trail blazes:
    White: Appalachian Trail.
    Yellow: Hikers and horseback riders only.
    Blue: Hikers only.
    Red orange: Park boundary.
    Unblazed: Nature trail for hikers only.

    Special areas:
    Big Meadows Lodge: Not a hiking place but a good rest stop at mile 51.2 on Skyline Drive.
    Matthews Arm Trail, Overall Run Trail, and Beecher-Overall Trail: Good Swimming hole.
    Old Rag Mountain: One of the more popular day hikes (may be overcrowded). Strenuous.
    White Oak Canyon, Limberlost, Crescent Rock Trail, and Cedar Run Trail: Strenuous.
    Mill Prong Trail: Rapidan Camp.
    Wildcat Ridge Trail and Riprap Trail: Good camping and swimming.

    Shenandoah National Park
    Shenandoah National Park Hiking Page: Rates difficulty of hikes.
    Shenandoah National Parks Association
    Shenandoah National Park Map
    Waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park


    North Entrance
    Location: 3655 US Highway 211 East, Luray, Virginia 22835
    Date: May 7, 2006
    Phone: 540-999-3500, 540-999-3582 (call for maps), 800-732-0911 (for emergencies)

    Directions (option 1): From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 6 southwest to highway 340/522, Front Royal. Stay on route 340.
    Turn left (south) onto Skyline Drive.


    Directions (option 2): From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    Take exit 13 to route 55 west fro Front Royal (second exit for Shenandoah National Park).
    Turn left (south) onto route 340/55.
    Turn left (south) onto Skyline Drive.


    Notes: Skyline Drive connects to the northernmost section of the Shenandoah National Forest. Driving time about 2.25 hours from Elkridge.  Visitor’s center on the right shortly after entrance.  Restrooms and shop available.  Compton Gap just after the 10 mile marker, parking lot on left. As of 2006, the entrance fee is fifteen dollars per vehicle. Entrance permit is good for 7 days.

    Buck Hollow Trailhead
    Date: November 6, 2011
    Location: GPS coordinates 38.65788, -78.28085. Or you can refer to J1 on Map 10 "Appalachian Trail and other Trails in Shenandoah National Park Central District"
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), turn right (west) to head counterclockwise.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west.
    In Gainesville, take the exit for Lee Highway (route 29) heading west towards Warrenton. Note that route 29 crosses highway 66 twice. Take exit 43A, not 52.
    In Warrenton, take route 211 west to Sperryville. Once you come to Broadview Avenue in Warrenton, zero your odometer. After about 30 miles on route 211, you'll come to the trailhead on the left. Or, you can just measure 3 miles from the route 211 and route 511 split.

    Notes: Driving time about 2 hours from Savage in very light traffic. You may want to stop in Warrenton or the gas station in Sperryville to use the toilet because there is none at the trailhead. There is room for about 10 vehicles if folks do a good job of parking. About a mile further on route 211 on the left (south) is another parking lot. See my November 5, 2011 trip report for more information.

    Cedar Run
    Location: I10 of Map 10 of "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park Central District"
    Date: March 31, 2012
    Directions: Follow directions to get to Thornton Gap then head south.
    Drive to mile 45.6 and park at the Hawksbill Gap Parking Area on either side of Skyline Drive, preferrably the east side.
    The trailhead is on the east side of Skyline Drive.

    Walk for 1.7 miles to get to Cedar Run Falls. For more information, see my blog from January 29, 2012 and March 31, 2012.

    Dark Hollow
    Location: H14 of Map 10 of "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park Central District"
    Date: March 31, 2012
    Directions: Follow directions to get to Thornton Gap then head south.
    Drive to mile 50.7 and park at the large Dark Hollow Falls Parking Area on the east side of Skyline Drive.
    The trailhead is near the north end of the lot.

    Walk for 0.7 mile to get to Dark Hollow Falls. For more information, see my blog from March 31, 2012.

    Little Devils Stairs
    Location: H12 of Map 9 of the "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park North District" Date: May 14, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    In Gainesville, take the exit for Lee Highway (route 29) heading west towards Warrenton. Note that route 29 crosses highway 66 twice. Take exit 43, not 52.
    In Warrenton, take route 211 west towards Sperrysville.
    Approximately 3 miles after passing by exits for Washington, Virginia, turn right (west) onto route 622 at Rediviva.
    Follow route 622 for a little over 2 miles, crossing over a bridge over the Covington River.
    Turn left, southwest, onto route 614 (Keyser Run) and follow about 3 miles to the end at the parking for Little Devil Stairs.

    Notes: No restrooms but there is one 1.5 miles prior to the route 622 and route 211 intersection at route 211 and route 636. It is at the Shell gas station and convenience store. Parking for about 8 vehicles. Head north to access Little Devil Stairs. About 2.5 hours from Elkridge. For more information, see my trip reports from May 14, 2006 and September 19, 2010.

    Old Rag
    Date: June 3, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), turn right (west) to head counterclockwise.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west.
    In Gainesville, take the exit for Lee Highway (route 29) heading west towards Warrenton. Note that route 29 crosses highway 66 twice. Take exit 43A, not 52.
    In Warrenton, take route 211 west to Sperryville. Follow for 27 miles.
    Route 211 will merge with route 522. Stay on route 522 (Zachary Taylor highway) south. Follow for 0.8 mile.
    Turn right (southwest) on route 231 (Fort Valley Road) just after Sperryville. Head towards Madison. Follow for 9.4 miles.
    Turn right at the sign for Old Rag on route 601 (Peola Mills Road). This road will merge with route 707 and follow along Hughes River. Follow for about 3.7 miles.
    At Nethers, the road will split. On the right will be Pine Hill Road. On the left will be route 600. Follow route 600 for about a half mile.
    The main parking lot will be on the left.

    Notes: Driving time about 2.5 hours from Elkridge in very light traffic. The main parking lot holds about 100 vehicles. Porta-john available both at this lot and the trailhead. As of June 2006, there is an eight dollar per person fee that must be paid at the shack in the main parking lot. Be sure to hold onto your receipts if you need to get into the park later. There is also small parking lot for 12 vehicles at the trailhead, 0.8 miles to the west. Porta-john at the trailhead lot too. At the trailhead, there Weakley Hollow Fire Road on the right (yellow blazed) and Ridge Trail (the main trail, blue blazed) on the left. Take the latter and return on the former for a challenging 7.2 mile loop hike. On Weakley Hollow Fire Road, horses have the right-of-way. Camping is prohibited above 2800 feet on Old Rag. Lots of fun rock hopping near the top of Old Rag. The summit is 3291 feet above sea level. Expect to climb 2200 feet. Map 10 of the "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park Central District" shows this hike. This is without a doubt my favorite hike in the area. If you want rock hopping without having to hike uphill to get there, check out the Billy Goat Trail, or as I like to call it, the William E. Goat Trail. See my blog for my Old Rag hikes on June 25, 2005, June 4, 2006, and December 31, 2010. Also check out Mid-Atlantic Hikes - Old Rag.

    Old Rag info:
    Geology of Old Rag
    Old Rag Map
    Summit Post - Old Rag

    On the return trip, consider eating at
         Rudy's Pizza
         3710 Sperryville Pike
         Sperryville, Virginia 22740
    This place has the best pizza in Sperryville. For more variety, consider
         Frost Diner
         55 Broadview Avenue (route 17)
         Warrenton, Virginia 20186
         Phone: 540-347-3047
    This place has good food at a low price. Just north of the route 17 and route 211 intersection in Warrenton. Lastly, consider
         China Jade
         375 West Shirley Avenue
         Warrenton, Virginia 20186
         Phone: 540-349-1382
    which has the fastest service I've ever seen at a sit down restaurant.

    Rose River
    Location: H13 of Map 10 of "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park Central District"
    Date: March 31, 2012
    Directions: Follow directions to get to Thornton Gap then head south.
    Drive to mile 49.4 and park at Fishers Gap Overlook on the west side of Skyline Drive.
    Park at the north end of the lot or in the smaller lot just to the north of the big lot.
    The trailhead is on the east side of Skyline Drive directly across from the smaller lot.

    Walk for 1.3 miles to get to Rose River Falls. For more information, see my blog from March 31, 2012.

    Thompson Hollow Trail/Overall Run
    Location: B11 of Map 9 of "Appalachian Trail and other trails in Shenandoah National Park North District"
    Date: May 12, 2011
    Directions: From where highway 95 meets the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south.
    At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), head west (counterclockwise) into Virginia.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west. Proceed westward for about 48 miles.
    Leave highway 66 at exit 13 (Linden), proceed to the end of the exit ramp.
    Turn left and go gently downhill and beneath highway 66 to reach a traffic light (0.5 mile from where you peeled off 66).
    At the traffic light, turn right onto US 55 and head westward for 5.2 miles to reach T-junction with US 340 in Front Royal.
    Turn left at the T and head south on US 340 for 9.2 miles to Bentonville.
    Turn left (east) on Bentonville Road (route 613). Follow for 0.7 miles.
    Turn right (south) on Thompson Hollow Road (route 630). Follow for about 2 miles. Look for parking on the right before the paved road ends.

    Notes: No restroom. About 2 hours and 10 minutes from Savage, Maryland. Access to Overall Run Loop. To get to the trailhead, walk downhill on the gravel road. You'll see no trespassing signs. Foot traffic is o.k. Walk past a cable gate and continue downhill. You'll see a big fence. The trailhead is on the right of this. For more information, see my trip report from March 12, 2011.

    Thornton Gap
    Date: July 8, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take exit 27 to highway 495 counterclockwise towards Silver Spring.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west toward Manassas/Front Royal.
    In Gainesville, take the exit for Lee Highway (route 29) heading west towards Warrenton. Note that route 29 crosses highway 66 twice. Take exit 43, not 52.
    In Warrenton, take route 211 west towards Sperrysville. Continue on route 211 which will take you to the Thornton Gap Entrance.

    Notes: About 2.5 hours from Elkridge. This entrance is at about mile 31.6 on Skyline Drive. From this entrance, one can head south to mile 51 to reach Big Meadows. Heading further south near mile 57.6, one can access the Lewis Mountain Trail.

    White Oak Canyon
    Date: February 20, 2012
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), turn right (west) to head counterclockwise.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west.
    In Gainesville, take the exit for Lee Highway (route 29) heading west towards Warrenton. Note that route 29 crosses highway 66 twice. Take exit 43A, not 52.
    In Warrenton, take route 211 west to Sperryville. Follow for 27 miles.
    Route 211 will merge with route 522. Stay on route 522 (Zachary Taylor highway) south. Follow for 0.8 mile.
    Turn right (southwest) on route 231 (Fort Valley Road) just after Sperryville. Head towards Madison. Follow for 9.9 miles.
    Turn right (west) on Etlan Road (route 643). Follow for 4.3 miles.
    Turn right onto Weakley Hollow Road. Some maps may show this as route 600. Follow for 3.7 miles. Destination is on the left.

    Notes: Driving time about 2.5 hours from Savage in very light traffic. There are two parking lots and no restroom. Park at the first lot if you have a car that rides low or you might scrape bottom. This is an extremely popular and scenic hike. But don't bother going if the water is low. The whole point is to see the waterfalls. There is nothing prettier than a frozen waterfall (except a stacked chick in a French maid outfit) but you'll need to watch your step or the ice-covered rocks will kick your ass. Best to wear crampons if this is the case. See Mid-Atlantic Hikes - White Oak Canyon/Cedar Run and January 29, 2012 for more information.

    There is quite a bit to do in the Shenandoah area:
    Endless Caverns
    The Garden Maze
    Lurray Caverns
    Shenandoah Caverns: A co-worker of mine highly recommends this.
    Skyline Caverns


     
    Shenandoah River (Raymond R. "Andy" Guest, Jr.) State Park
     
    Location: Daughter of Stars Drive, Bentonville, Virginia 22610
    Date: September 28, 2008
    Directions: From where highway 95 meets the Baltimore Beltway (highway 695), take highway 95 south.
    At the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), head west (counterclockwise) into Virginia.
    Take exit 49 to highway 66 west. Proceed westward for about 48 miles.
    Leave highway 66 at exit 13 (Linden), proceed to the end of the exit ramp.
    Turn left and go gently downhill and beneath highway 66 to reach a traffic light (0.5 mile from where you peeled off 66).
    At the traffic light, turn right onto US 55 and head westward for 5.2 miles to reach T-junction with US 340 in Front Royal.
    Turn left at the T and head south on US 340 for 8.1 miles.
    Turn right onto Shenandoah River State Park's entrance road.
    Proceed along that road for 0.4 mile to contact station.
    Pause to surrender money ($4/car). Continue for about 1.5 miles on entrance road and downhill to T-junction.
    Turn left and proceed for about 0.25 mile to signposted canoe launch area, where there are two shelters (open pavilions) and a toilet facility next to large parking area (and between shelters #1 and #2).

    Notes: Some of the campsites at the primitive River Right Campsite are very nice. I distinctly remember site 6 having a waterfront view. There is a common parking area with big wagons placed at the lot so you can wheel your camping gear to your site. There is also a Cottonwood Group Campsite.

    Be sure to check out the scenic Cullers Overlook and Wildcat Ledge. The former is a drive-to overlook while the latter is a steep but short hike. Both are well worth the effort.

    If you want to plan a canoe or kayak trip, check out the
         Downriver Canoe Company
    outfitter at Bentonville Landing. Even if you own your own boat, you might be able to arrange a shuttle service with them to get you back upstream.
    Driving directions from the trailhead (above) to outfitter (a distance of only about 4 miles):
    From Shelter 1 (trailhead above), head back out of the state park (1.9 miles) and turn right onto US 340.
    Proceed southward for about 1.2 miles to reach the little community of Bentonville.
    Just past the post office (on left), turn right onto VA 613 or Indian Hollow Road (be careful-it is not very conspicuous). Follow for 0.8 miles to the parking lot, on the right. This will be just before you get to the causeway across the river.


    See my September 28, 2008 trip report for more information. Also see
         Shenandoah River State Park
         Shenandoah River State Park, Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
         Shenandoah River State Park - Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network
         Wildernet - Shenandoah River State Park

    Special thanks to Paul E. and Mike D. for providing these directions and introducing me to this location.


     
    Sligo Creek Trail
     
    The 10.2 mile Sligo Creek Trail begins in Prince Georges County at the Northwest Branch Trail and runs north into Montgomery County to Wheaton Regional Park. The trail is paved and runs along a good bit of the Sligo Creek Parkway.

    Friends of Sligo Creek

    Sligo Creek Parkway is closed from Old Carroll Road to Piney Branch Road every Sunday, March through November from 0900 to 1800 and December through February from 0900-1600.
    Special thanks to Susanita for helping explore this trail.
    Phone: 301-650-2600 (park manager), 301-949-3010 (emergency only)

    Heather
    Location: Sligo Creek Parkway and Heather Avenue, Montgomery County ADC map 37 F12
    Date: November 24, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), heading counterclockwise (west).
    Take exit 28 to New Hampshire Avenue (route 650) south. Pass University Boulevard (route 193).
    Turn right (west) onto Sligo Creek Parkway.
    Look for a dirt parking lot on the right (west) side of the road near Heather Avenue and a small bridge.

    Notes: Parking for 7 vehicles. Porta-john and picnic table available. This location is only about 0.7 miles north of the southernmost end of the trail.

    Hilltop and Geneva
    Location: Hilltop Road and Geneva Avenue, Montgomery County ADC map 37 D11
    Date: November 24, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), heading counterclockwise (west).
    Take exit 28 to New Hampshire Avenue (route 650) south. Pass University Boulevard (route 193).
    Turn right (west) onto Sligo Creek Parkway. The road will veer to the right to cross over Sligo Creek at Maple Avenue. Instead, continue straight. The road will turn into Hilltop Avenue.

    Notes: Parking for 4 vehicles. Please note above that Sligo Creek Parkway is closed on some Sundays and alter your route accordingly or choose one of the other locations if there is a conflict.

    Kennebec
    Location: Sligo Creek Parkway and Kennebec Avenue, Montgomery County ADC map 37 D11
    Date: November 24, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 south.
    Take the Washington D.C. beltway (highway 495), heading counterclockwise (west).
    Take exit 28 to New Hampshire Avenue (route 650) south.
    Veer right (west) onto Piney Branch Road (route 320).
    Veer left (south) onto Carroll Avenue.
    Turn right (north) onto Flower Avenue (route 789).
    Turn left (west) onto Kennebec Avenue and follow to end.

    Notes: Parking for 12 vehicles.


     
    Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area
     
    Soldiers Delight spans 1900 acres of serpentine barren. There are 7 miles of marked hiking trails. Bicyclists and horses are not permitted. Because Soldiers Delight is an ecological restoration area, dogs must be kept on leash and going off the trail is strongly discouraged. Much of the trail is exposed, so it is a good idea to have plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen to avoid sunburn. This area was once used for chromite mining.

    Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area
    Soldiers Delight Trail Guide

    Location: 5100 Deer Park Road, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
    Date: June 11, 2005
    Phone: 410-922-3044
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise.
    Take exit 18B west on Liberty Road (route 26) towards Randallstown. Go 4.9 miles. Pass a tall water tower.
    At a shorter water tower, turn right onto Deer Park Road. You'll come to a four-way stop. 1.5 miles after the stop is the driveway to the visitor center on the left.
    Notes: Restrooms and nature displays at the visitors center. 8.5 miles of trails. Trails open 0900 to sunset. While the trails are mostly flat, they are also rocky so wear shoes with good solid soles. No entrance fee. Visitors Center open Wednesday through Friday 0900-1600 and weekends 1000-1600.


     
    Sugarloaf Mountain
     
    Sugarloaf Mountain is privately owned, yet open to the public for hiking and recreation.  Geologically, Sugarloaf is known as a monadnock, a mountain that remains after the erosion of the surrounding land.  At Sugarloaf, that process took approximately 14 million years.  At an elevation of 1282 feet, Sugarloaf stands more than 800 feet above the farmland below.  The rugged cliffs on the summit are composed primarily of quartzite, the predominant type of rock on the mountain.

    There are a complex of blazed trails that lead to the peak.  Depending on the distance you wish to cover, you can start the hike at various places on the mountain.  There are parking spots at various points up the slope.  Note that driving on the mountain is one way only and if you start driving up the mountain, you will need to drive all the way up and all the way down, then turn left on the main road to get back where you started.

    The mountain contains the following trails

    • A.M. Thomas (green): Ascends a quarter mile from West View on stone steps laid by Thomas, Stronghold's first superintendent.
    • Sunrise (orange): Steep.  It goes up from East View, reaching the summit in a quarter mile.
    • Monadnock (red): Only a quarter mile and steep in spots.
    • Northern Peaks (blue): Five miles long on the north side.  This trail leads into the relatively lightly-used northern hinterland.  An area called White Rocks provides an excellent vantage point along this trail.
    • Mountain Loop (white): Can be reached via the Northern Peaks Trail, or indirectly from parking areas and road crossings.
    • Saddleback Horse Trail (color?): Rings the entire mountain and can be hiked as a 7-mile loop.

    Sugarloaf Mountain

    Location: Frederick County ADC map 45 H8
    Date: January 4, 2004
    Phone: 301-874-2024 or 301-869-7846
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 north (clockwise).
    Take exit 16 to highway 70 west. (to Frederick).
    Take exit 53A to Dwight D. Eisenhower highway (highway 270) southeast.
    Take exit 22, Old Hundred Road (route 109) left (west, but the sign says south) at end of ramp. Follow for 2.8 miles. This light may take a VERY long time to change to green.
    Turn right at Comus Road (route 95).  Drive 2.4 miles to the Stronghold entrance at the corner of Sugarloaf Mountain Road and Comus Road.

    Notes: No permits required and there is no entry fee.  There are no campsites on the mountain, and all hikers must be off the mountain by sunset.  The required departure time is scrawled on a chalkboard inside an interpretive case at each parking area.  Food nearby at the Comus Inn at the corner of Old Hundred Road (route 109) and Comus Road (route 95).  About a 65 minute drive from Arbutus.  Limited parking at the base of the mountain but there are much larger lots closer to the top of the mountain.  Several porta-johns and picnic tables at various levels up the mountain. Bicycles are not permitted on the mountain. Dogs must be on leash though you can probably get by with a well behaved dog off leash away from the roads.

    For a trip report of an 8 mile hike, see November 25, 2007.


     
    Susquehanna State Park
     
    Susquehanna State Park is known for its heavy forest cover and massive rock outcroppings.  It offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities and is home to some of the most popular mountain biking trails in Maryland.  The park also contains a very family friendly campground with traditional campsites and cabins.  History buffs will be drawn to

    • the restored Rock Run Historical Area with its working grist mill
    • Archer Mansion
    • Jersey Toll House
    • the remains of the Susquehanna Tidewater Canal
    Harve de Grace
    Susquehanna State Park

    Conowingo Dam
    See Conowingo Dam boat launch and my December 3, 2011 blog.

    Lapidum
    See Lapidum Boat Launch Facility and my December 3, 2011 blog.

    Rocks Run Grist Mill
    Location: Susquehanna State Park, Harford County ADC map 13 F8
    Date: November 20, 2011
    Phone: 410-557-7994
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 95 northeast through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.  Follow for about 41 miles.
    Take the Level Road (route 155) exit (route 89) to the right (southeast) towards Havre de Grace. Follow for about 0.3 mile.
    Turn left (north) onto Lapidum Road. Follow for 2.4 miles to the end.
    Turn left (northwest) onto Stafford Road. Follow for one mile to the Old Grist Mill on the right.

    Notes: Parking along Rock Run Road and Stafford Road. There are two parking areas on Stafford Road and one on Rock Run Road.  The park has over 15 miles of trails. The trail crosses Rock Run Road just west of Stafford Road.  Ample parking.  Restrooms available uphill at the big stone carriage house though it might not be open in the winter months. There is also a good deal of parking along the side of the road northwest of Rock Run Mill on Stafford Road. One can walk up the hill, use the restrooms, then head towards the large stone house and continue heading southwest to pick up the trail at the end of the paved area. Another good place to pick up the trail is a half mile northwest of Rock Run Mill at the bridge. Avoid walking on the railroad tracks between Rock Run Mill and this bridge as there are several parts where the ground beneathe the tracks has washed out. The trail is well marked in this area.   About 60 minutes from Arbutus.  Call 1-888-432-2267 for camping reservations.

    For more information, see my November 20, 2011 blog.


     
    Swallow Falls State Park
     
    Location: 1182 Swallow Falls Road, Oakland, Maryland 21550; next to Garrett State Forest, Garrett County ADC map E20
    Date: February 11, 2012
    Phone: 301-334-9180
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise. Take exit 16 to highway 70 west.
    After 91 miles, take exit 1A on the left to highway 68 west, towards Cumberland.
    Take exit 14A in Keysers Ridge, heading south on Garrett Highway (route 219). Follow for 19.2 miles.
    Turn right (east) on Mayhew Inn Road. Follow for 4.3 miles.
    Stay straight to continue on Oakland Sang Run Road. Follow for 0.3 mile.
    Turn right (east) on Swallow Falls Road. Follow for 1.3 miles, crossing over the Youghiogheny River.
    Turn right (north) on Maple Glade Road and follow signs into the park.
    Notes: About 3.5 hours from Savage. This park is home to Muddy Creek Falls, the tallest non-cascading waterfall in the state. The park has a short but very scenic trail along with camping. A 5.7 mile trail takes one to Herrington Manor State Park. This is a nice cross country ski route. The park is located where the Youghiogheny River and Muddy Creek merge. For more information, check out the trip reports I wrote for Christmas Day, 2008, December 26, 2010, September 18, 2011, and October 7, 2012 (a very big day).


     
    Tuckahoe State Park
     
    Tuckahoe State Park surrounds Tuckahoe Creek, a quiet country stream bordered for most of its length by wooded marshlands.  The park contains a 60-acre lake and offers 20 miles of scenic hiking on well maintained, well blazed trails. It is open 1000 to sunset. The lake may be used sunrise to sunset.
         13070 Crouse Mill Road
         Queen Anne, Maryland 21657

    Camping is available from May 1 to September 30.  Call 410-820-1668 or 1-888-432-2267 to make reservations.

    Canoe and kayak rental at the Lake Boat House which is on the east side of the lake.

    There is an aviary at the park. It is a white building behind their headquarters building. They have raptors that for some reason or another cannot be released back into the wild. This aviary is part of their Scales and Tales program.

    Tuckahoe State Park
    Location: Queen Anne’s County ADC map 28 F7
    Date: December 28, 2005
    Phone: 410-820-1668
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east.
    Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pay $2.50 toll one way only.
    Turn left (east) onto Queen Anne Highway (route 404).
    After crossing over Tuckahoe Creek, turn left (north) onto Ridgely Road (route 480).
    Make the next left (north) onto Eveland Road.
    Turn left (west) onto the road opposite Sawmill Road.  The house to which this road leads is the Park Visitor Center.

    Notes: By heading directly east from the Park Visitor Center, one will come to the Tuckahoe Valley Trail which runs along the Tuckahoe Creek for 4.5 miles.  Several other trails run near the river. The visitor center will likely be closed during the winter. No restroom. Closest restroom is at Adkins Arboretum, a half mile north of the Park Visitor Center just off Eveland Road on the west side (left if heading north). Driving time is 80 minutes from Savage.

    A good hiking route is to start at the Park Visitor Center or Adkins Arboretum and hike north on Tuckahoe Valley Trail (blue blazes). At Crouse Mill Road, head left (west) and follow Crouse Mill Road south at the split. About a half mile after the split, catch Pee Wee's Trail (orange blazes) near the Equestrian Center. Head south on the trail until seeing the bridge over Tuckahoe Creek on the left (east). This bridge is fairly large with steel rails, probably strong enough to support a vehicle. Cross the bridge and catch Tuckahoe Valley Trail heading right (southeast). The trail will split. Stay on Creek-Side Cliff Trail (yellow-orange blazes), heading south. The state park map shows the trail turning left (east) just before a railroad track. The track is actually buried and not used. The trail passes under the power lines. If you come to the cemetery, you've gone too far. Walk under the power lines then catch Tuckahoe Valley Trail heading left (north). Stay on the trail to return to where you started. If you wish to take a short cut on the way back, note that the state park map shows a High Water Route in a broken purple line but as of December 2005, this short cut is blazed in blue (like the main trail) and has no sign. The dotted purple line on the state park map is not named but on the trail, it is called Wilbur's Cutoff Trail. This loop will take about 4 hours at a moderate pace. Special thanks to Susanita for helping scout this route.

    Tuckahoe Valley Trail at Crouse Mill Road
    Location: Queen Anne’s County ADC map 28 E4
    Date: December 28, 2005
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east.
    Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pay $2.50 toll one way only.
    Turn left (east) onto Queen Anne Highway (route 404).
    After crossing over Tuckahoe Creek, turn left (north) onto Ridgely Road (route 480).
    Make the next left (north) onto Eveland Road.
    At the end of Eveland Road, turn left (west) onto Crouse Mill Road.  Across from the lake, before crossing over Tuckahoe Creek, there will be an area to park along the left (south) side of the road.

    Notes: There should be a restroom on the east side of the lake but it will probably be locked in the winter.

    Tuckahoe Valley Trail at Cemetery Road
    Location: Queen Anne’s County ADC map 28 E12
    Date: December 28, 2005
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south to highway 50 east.
    Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pay $2.50 toll one way only.
    Turn left (east) onto Queen Anne Highway (route 404).
    After crossing over Tuckahoe Creek, turn left (north) onto Cemetery Road.  On the left (west side) there will be a dirt parking lot.

    Notes: After parking in the dirt lot, walk to the end of Cemetery Road heading north to the power lines. The southernmost end of the Tuckahoe Valley Trail begins here.  No restrooms.


     
    Union Mills and Hashawha
     
    Here's a nice, not-so-far-away hike introduced to me by Peter J. of the Mountain Club of Maryland.

    Location: Just north of Westminster, Carroll County ADC map 4 J13
    Date: August 1, 2010
    Phone: For trail map, call 410-386-2103; for hunting information, call 410-356-9272; and to report violators, call 1-800-628-9944. Organized user groups of 10 or more must call 410-386-2103 to obtain a permit.
    Directions: From where highway 95 meets route 32 in Columbia, Maryland, take route 32 west. Follow for about 23 miles, passing through Sykesville.
    Turn left (west) on Liberty Road (route 26). Follow for 3.5 miles.
    Take route 97 (New Washington Road) north (right). Follow for 10 miles.
    Turn left (northwest) on Baltimore Boulevard/route 140 west/route 97 north. Continue to follow route 140 west/route 97 north for 2.2 miles.
    Take the route 97 north ramp and make a slight right onto Littlestown Pike/route 97 north. Follow for 2.3 miles.
    Turn right (northeast) on Bachmans Valley Road (route 496). Follow for 2.1 miles.
    Turn left (northwest) on Saw Mill Road E. This will change names to Rinehart Road. Follow for a total of 1.9 miles. Road may not be paved.
    Turn left (west) on Kowomu Trail. Follow for a stone's throw to the trailhead parking on the left.

    Notes: At the Kowomu Trail Parking Area there is a sign that states trails are open seven days a week, sunrise until sunset, February 16 through August 31. From September 1 through February 15 the trails are closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the Cooperative Hunting Program. Trails are completely closed for two weeks beginnning the Saturday after Thanksgiving for Firearm Deer Season. There are approximately 8 miles of multiuse trails available for equestrian use, bicycling, hiking, and cross country skiing.

    There is room for about 12 vehicles at the trailhead. Expect to share the parking area with horse trailers. No restroom. About 67 minutes from Savage. See my August 1, 2010 trip report.
         Union Mills map
         Hashawha map


     
    Wooten's Landing
     
    This hidden gem is home to a good number of wetland creatures. It is nice for a short stroll when you don't have much time and don't feel like driving far. Or, stop by after paddling on the Patuxent River.

    Location: Anne Arundel County ADC map 23 A3
    Date: March 20, 2009
    Directions: From the Baltimore beltway (highway 695), take highway 97 south. Take exit 7 to Crain Highway North (route 3) southwest. Route 3 will eventually turn into Crain Highway South (route 301).
    Right after passing under highway 50 in Bowie, turn left (east) at the first light onto Governor Bridge Road. The road to the right is Harbour Way. Follow for 2.4 miles.
    Turn right on Patuxent River Road. Enjoy the scenic farmlands. Follow for 5.5 miles.
    At the split in the road, turn right (south) on Sands Road. Follow for 2-2.5 miles. I'm not totally sure how far because the map I have doesn't show the park entrance and neither do any of the mapping websites.
    Turn right (west) at the sign which reads "4642 Treament Place." This is just south of the mobile home park on the east.

    Notes: There is room for about 5 vehicles at the park entrance. No restroom. About 40 minutes from Hanover. There are some trails wide enough for a vehicle though unauthorized motorized vehicles are prohibited. I recommend exploring the place on a hybrid bicycle. The park closes at sunset. See my March 20, 2009 trip report.


     
    York County Heritage Trail
     
    The North Central Railroad Trail (NCRT) runs to the Pennsylvania border then changes name to the York County Heritage Trail (YCHT) and continues for another 21.1 miles to York. The YCHT is open dawn to dusk. It is sometimes referred to as the Heritage Rail Trail County Park or the York County Heritage Rail Trail. The trail is very well maintained. The northern sections tend to be more natural while the southern sections pass through small towns.

    As of December 2006, there is a free "Heritage Rail Trail County Park" map available throughout the trail that lists directions to the various parking lots. My directions are slightly different and probably more updated and detailed since mine are based on a recent ADC map.

    The Northern Central and York County Heritage Trails
    YCH Trail - Bed & Breakfast, Lodging, Camping, Attractions
    York County Heritage Trail
    York County Rail Trail Authority

    York County Department of Park and Recreation administrative headquarters located at
         John C. Rudy County Park
         400 Mundis Race Road
         York, Pennsylvania 17402-9721
         phone: 717-840-7440
         fax: 717-840-7403
    Click to send e-mail to Heritage Rail Trail County ParkClick to send e-mail

    Also contact
         York County Rail Trail Authority
         P.O. Box 335
         Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania 17360
    One good way to access the YCHT is to start from the northermost parking lot on the NCRT, Freeland. The southernmost end of the YCHT is only about 1.8 miles north.

    The following image shows some parking areas in York, at the northern end. Note that Lafayette Plaza is where the trail actually connects. Click on thumbnail to enlarge.
         
    The text below lists parking lots listed in order of southernmost to northernmost.

    New Freedom
    Location: New Freedom, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 49 D6
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 4 and turn left (west) at the end of the ramp onto Forrest Avenue East (route 851). Follow for 0.8 miles.
    Turn left on Railroad Avenue West to remain on route 851. Railroad Avenue West will turn into Main Street East. Follow for 1.1 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Main Street. Follow for 0.4 miles.
    Turn right (south) on Second Street. Follow for one mile to New Freedom.
    Turn left (east) on Franklin Street. The parking lot is one block on the left at the corner of Franklin Street and North Front Street.
    Notes: There is parking throughout the area along with several restaurants. According to my global positioning system (GPS), the elevation for this area is 782 feet above sea level. My GPS software says the elevation for this area is about 820 feet. According to other sources, New Freedom is the highest point on the YCHT. Located at mile 1.5 on the YCHT. From New Freedom to Freeland is unmistakeably downhill. The train depot was restored to its 1940 appearance with a museum depicting railroad and local community history. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Railroad
    From the Baltimore area, this is one of the closest parking lots to the YCHT.
    Location: Railroad, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 49 D6
    Date: November 11, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 4 and turn left (west) at the end of the ramp onto Forrest Avenue East (route 851). Follow for 0.8 miles.
    Turn left on Railroad Avenue West to remain on route 851. Railroad Avenue West will turn into Main Street East. Follow for one mile.
    The parking lot will be on the right.

    Notes: The lot holds about 24 vehicles. Porta-john available. About 3 miles north of the southern end of the YCHT. Special thanks to Susanita then later Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Glen Rock
    Location: Glen Rock, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 38 J13
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 8 to Seaks Run Road (route 216) heading left (west) for about 0.6 miles.
    Turn right (northwest) on Susquehanna Trail South (not an actual trail). This will keep you on route 216. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn left (southwest) on Glen Rock Road (route 216). Follow for 2.6 miles.
    Turn right (southeast) on North Main Street (route 216/616). Follow for 0.4 miles.
    Turn right (south) on Water Street. Cross the railroad tracks and turn right into the parking lot.
    Notes: Parking and restaurants throughout the area. At mile 6.25 on the YCHT. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Hanover Junction
    This is about the midpoint of the YCHT. If you wish to split the YCHT into two trips, this is a good place to begin both. Plenty of parking available.
    Location: Hanover Junction, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 38 C4
    Date: November 11, 2005
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 10 to Lake Road/North Street. Turn right (west) on Lake Road/North Street. Follow for about 0.4 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Main Street North. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn right (west) on Ore Street (route 214). This will change name to Reynolds Mill Road. After a half mile, the road will veer to the right (northwest). Follow for another half mile.
    Turn left (west) on Valley Road. Valley Road will turn into Church Street. Church Street will end at Main Street. About 2.2 miles total.
    Turn right (northwest) onto Main Street (route 616). Follow for a little over a tenth of a mile.
    Turn left (southwest) onto Glen Rock Road (route 616 south). The parking lot will be on the left (east) after about one mile.

    Notes: The lot holds about 40 vehicles. Regular restrooms available. Two picnic tables and a museum. Water refill station available though it wasn't working in December 2006. If it is working, be sure to refill here as the YCHT seems to be lacking in water fountains. About 11.5 miles north of the southern end of the YCHT and 9.6 miles south of the northern end of the YCHT.

    The Hanover Jucntion train station offers and inside look at Civil War history. The first floor was restored to its 1863 appearance, when President Lincoln passed through on his way to Gettysburg.
    - from "Countryside America, Southern York County, Pennsylvania"

    Special thanks to Susanita then later Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Seven Valleys
    Location: Seven Valleys, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 38 D2
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 10 to Lake Road/North Street. Turn right (west) on Lake Road/North Street. Follow for about 0.4 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Main Street North. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn right (west) on Ore Street (route 214). This will change name to Reynolds Mill Road. After a half mile, the road will veer to the right (northwest). Follow for another half mile.
    Turn left (west) on Valley Road. Valley Road will turn into Church Street. Follow for 1.9 miles into Seven Valleys. The lot will be on the right. If you come to main street, you've gone too far.
    Notes: Two large bicycles and one tricycle sculture make this stop unmistakeable. Four covered picnic tables. The lot holds about 30 vehicles. Porta-john at the south end of the lot though this may not be permanent. Mile 11 on the YCHT. Just a quarter mile south is Serenity-Station which has a deli, gift shop, and bicycle rentals. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Glatfelters Station
    Location: Seven Valleys, York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 29 F12
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 10 to Lake Road/North Street. Turn right (west) on Lake Road/North Street. Follow for about 0.4 miles.
    Turn left (south) on Main Street North. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn right (west) on Ore Street (route 214). This will change name to Reynolds Mill Road. After a half mile, the road will veer to the right (northwest). Follow for another half mile.
    Turn left (west) on Valley Road. Follow for 0.4 miles.
    Turn right (north) on Glatfelter Station Road. Veer left (west). The parking lot will be on the left (west) after about 0.4 miles.
    Notes: The lot holds about 25 vehicles and is at mile 13.5 on the YCHT. Porta-john available. Howard Tunnel is at mile 15.3 on the trail, north of Glatfelters Station and south of Brillhart Station. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Brillhart Station
    Location: York County, Pennsylvania ADC map 29 F6
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Cross into Pennsylvania.
    Take exit 14 left (west) on Leaders Heights Road (route 182). This will change name to Dam Road. Follow for a total of 2.5 miles.
    Turn left (southwest) on Croll School Road. This will veer south. Follow for a half mile.
    Turn right (west) on Days Mill Road. Follow for 0.4 miles.
    Turn left onto Brillhart Station Road to the parking lot.
    Notes: This stop is at mile 17 on the YCHT. The lot holds about 40 vehicles. Porta-john available. No water refill. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    Consider a side trip to William H. Kain County Park which is only two miles from Brillhart Station. It has 12 miles of trails.

    York City
    Location: York City, York County ADC map 21 J10
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Drive into Pennsylvania. At the highway 83/business 83 split, veer right via exit 15 to get on business 83.
    Business 83 will turn into South George Street. Follow north for 3 miles.
    Turn left (west) on West Princess Street. Follow for 2 blocks. There is a McDonalds on the right just after you turn onto West Princess Street. You may want to stop there since the restroom at the Visitor Center is only open 0930-1600.
    Turn right (north) on Pershing Avenue. Note that there may not be a street sign so be sure to count street blocks. Follow 3 blocks to the parking area on the west side of the street, north of West Market Street and south of West Philadelphia Street. A good landmark when looking for the lot is a huge brick chimney/tower about a block north.
    Notes: Lafayette Plaza has rail trail parking all day on weekends and on weekdays after 1800. The lot will hold about 35 vehicles. Weekday rail trail parking is also available in lot 18 on 100 Block, West Market Street. There is an information sign at the south end of the lot with a local map showing several restaurants within walking distance. Interestingly, it didn't show the one within view, across Codorus Creek called "Waterway Bar and Grill" which has outdoor dining available. There is no restroom at the parking lot but there is supposedly one nearby along with a visitor center. No water refill. The elevation is 421 feet above sea level according to my global positioning system (GPS) though my GPS software says it is 361 feet. This marks the northernmost part of the YCHT as of December 2006. It is mile 21.1 on the YCHT. When heading south on the trail, make sure not to cross the creek. Instead, follow the rail trail which will veer to the left (east) shortly before the bridge over the creek. About 1 hour and 14 minutes from Elkridge. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location.

    If you plan to do a car shuttle to bike both the North Central Railroad Trail (NCRT) and the York County Heritage Trail (YCHT), see Paper Mill to York City and York City to Paper Mill.

    John C. Rudy County Park
    Location: 400 Mundis Race Rd, York, PA, 17402, York County ADC map 15 C12
    Date: December 17, 2006
    Directions: From where the Baltimore beltway (highway 695) and highway 95 meet, take highway 695 clockwise (north).
    Take exit 24 to highway 83 (Harrisburg Expressway) north. Drive into Pennsylvania. At the highway 83/business 83 spit, veer right to remain on highway 83.
    At exit 24, turn right (east) on Church Road (route 238). Follow for about 0.8 miles.
    At George Street (route 181), turn right (south). Follow for about 0.5 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Emig Road. Follow for about 0.6 miles.
    Turn left (east) on Mundis Race Road. Follow for one mile.
    Turn left (north) into the park at Dellinger Farm Road.
    The entrance to the main area will be on the right (east) side.
    Notes: 1 hour and 23 minutes from Elkridge. It is expected that the YCHT will extend and additional 5.4 miles to this park. As of December 2006, this extension is just now being started. Special thanks to Norma and Lucas for helping scout this location. Note that restrooms may be closed in the winter.