As summer approaches, there is nothing better to anticipate than a good old fashioned backpacking trip. Backpacking trips are designed to combine genuine love for the great outdoors and physical activity. Getting out of town to do this activity is always great, but in case you happen to be in Charm City, listed below are some superb locations nearby for the ultimate backpacking experience. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newbie, you will still enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740
(301) 739-4200

Historical features, gorgeous rivers and aqueducts round out this amazing 184-mile trek. A plethora of original structures, including lockhouses and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal’s role as a transportation system during the canal era. Hikers will also enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley. Camping is also available within the park.

Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
(301) 663-9388

Deep in the heart of the Blue Ridge Province of Western Maryland, Catoctin Mountain Park holds 5,810 acres of hardwood hiking paradise. Equipped with breathtaking streams and scenic vistas, this park is sure to fit every hiker’s needs. Several camping and lodging options are available throughout the park.

Appalachian Trail
Crampton’s Gap Trailhead
1000-1036 Arnoldstown Road
Jefferson, MD 21755
(877) 620-8367

Chock-full of picturesque scenery, the Appalachian Trail remains one of the most popular hiking trails in the United States. With its main leg stretching almost 40 miles long, this trail is a must for the hardcore nature lover. Hikers who frequent this trail also opt for the trail between Cramptons Gap and Harpers Ferry, which is a smooth trek without much climbing. One of the Appalachian Trail’s many high points is its plethora of lodging, shelters, campgrounds and picnic areas.

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Fort Frederick State Park
11100 Fort Frederick Road
Big Pool, MD 21711
(301) 842-2155

Fort Frederick State Park serves as a good hike for the entire family. Although Fort Frederick is not a destination hike, this 1.2-mile loop is still worth the trip. In addition to the nature trail, other picturesque features of this historic park include the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, which passes through the park, as does the Potomac River. The park also offers a picnic area by the trailhead, which serves as the perfect place to relax. Other park features include boating and fishing opportunities, as well as the chance to camp in 29 sites along the Potomac River.

Upper Loch Raven Reservoir 
State Highway 146 S.
Cockeysville, MD 21093
(877) 620-8367

Loch Raven Reservoir is an 8 mile gem featuring numerous trails, mountains and picnic areas. True nature lovers can feel free to breathe easy on this hilly 6.8-mile waterscape just north of the city. One of the most pristine outdoor locations in Baltimore’s metropolitan area, Loch Raven Reservoir is elegantly dressed in rare plants, wildlife and immaculate water vistas where visitors can engage in an array of hiking, biking and sightseeing adventures. Plan your next trip to hang out with the exotic ravens, cardinals and blue jays while gazing upon the lavish oak trees and wild roses.

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Ashly E.Smith is a freelance writer and native of Baltimore,Maryland. As regular contributor to the Examiner and columnist for Graffiti on the Wall Hip Hop Magazine, she has a strong Pop Culture and Entertainment background. With articles that inspire; as well as,entertain, she enjoys sharing her craft with the masses.