Best Hiking Trails Near Baltimore

April 12, 2011 6:10 AM

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Blaze a trail and experience the great outdoors along Baltimore’s best hiking trails. The local water reservoirs and mountain landscapes are wonderful backdrops to a beautiful day outside.

Patapsco Valley State Park

8020 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043
(410) 461-5005

The hiking trails of Patapsco Valley State Park is the perfect urban hiking spot for local Baltimore residents that do not want to travel too far to experience the wonders of nature. The Patapsco River is followed by 170 miles of trails and there are several trails for every skill level. If you get tired throughout the hike, there are plenty of cool and relaxing places to stop and rest. Chill by the waterfall, pool or rapids throughout your hike. During the summer, the river is calm enough for rafting fun.

Loch Raven Reservoir

12101 Dulaney Valley Road
Phoenix, Maryland 21131

Follow the trail to Merryman Point where the Loch Raven Reservoir spreads out in multiple locations. Wide turns yield to narrow paths along the Loch Raven Reservoir and make for a pleasant route. Stop by the lake and end a long day of hiking with a great view. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed. There are plenty of picnic areas for families and visitors. Take advantage of a local hiking trail that is only minutes away from Baltimore.

Oregon Ridge Park

13401 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030

Oregon Ridge Park encompasses over 1,000 acres of forest and offers several hiking trails. There are nine trails that start at Baisman Run and end at Oregon Branch. Oregon Ridge was once an iron ore and marble mine with an iron-smelting furnace along the Oregon Branch stream. The furnace operated from 1844 to 1858 and employed many Irish immigrants and emancipated slaves. Check out reminders of the mine during your hike on the Iron Mine Gray Trail.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Washington Monument State Park
6620 Zittlestown Road
Boonsboro, Maryland 21713
301-432-8065 ‎

The nation’s longest hiking trail makes its way past Washington County and is worth the trip west of Baltimore. One of the unique spots along the trail is located in Boonsboro, Md. The Washington Monument of Boonsboro was the country’s first monument to the “father of our country,” George Washington. Hikers can stop and visit the monument and walk the stairs up to the top for an amazing view that overlooks the four-state region. Bird watchers will delight in the sight of hawks and eagles that frequently fly by the monument.

Gwynns Falls Trail


Explore the Gwynns Falls Trail has it winds around 30 different communities in Baltimore. Connecting Dickeyville, Windsor Hills, Shipley Hill, Federal Hill and Cherry Hill, Gwynns Falls is great for both hiking and biking. The trail is mostly asphalt, which makes it easy for people beginning to hike. The 15 mile long trail has the most dramatic scenery around Baltimore. The trail is clearly marked and the pavement is well maintained. Enjoy the sight and sounds of the Piedmont forest during your hike on the Gwynns Falls Trail.

View Comments
  • eddie

    FYI, Loch Raven resevior is a water supply and swimming is prohibited.

  • joe

    the gwynns falls trail is not clearly marked once you exit the last park and descend into the city.. atleast it wasnt last summer

  • Dave

    Catoctin National Park in Thurmont is a hidden treasure. I didn’t even know it was there. Not just for the sites but as a historical landmark. They have cabins that you can rent that date back to the 1930’s. It’s a nice place to go for a relaxing day taking in all sites and sounds of this wonderful National Park.

  • tylerjake

    Don’t bring your wallet or any other valuables either. Looking like a homeless person without money is the best advice, about hiking any trails in the Baltimore region.

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