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Maryland Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Maryland hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Maryland hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • American Discovery Trail The route of the ADT through Maryland is both historic and scenic. "Official" site.

  • Assateague Island National Seashore photos & descriptions. A good site, naturalbornhikers, but a little hard to navigate. Click on "Trails," then "Seashores," then scroll down. Excellent intro & photos; the site is really enjoyable once you get into it.

  • Calvert Cliffs here's an online trail guide from the Maryland Division of Natural Resources. Quite informative. If you haven't visited Calvert Cliffs, this is one outstanding place to hike and collect fossils (the shells that kind of look like common scallop shells are actually millions of years old). Bring bug spray.

  • Catoctin Mountain NPS map of the park, digital download. To their credit, the NPS has drastically improved its online map resources. Use the .pdf file.

  • Catoctin Mountain NPS hiking page. Not a whole heckuva lot here, but I'd give it a look-see if you're headed to Catoctin. Mostly stuff like "bring water" and "stay on the trail." Some cutting edge material from the feds.

  • Cedarville State Forest Introductory site by Maryland Dept of Natural Resources.

  • Gambrill State Park hiking page from Maryland Parks, includes descriptions of Red Maple Trail, Yellow Poplar Trail, and others similarly named for types of trees and primary colors. Actually this is a nice page and worth a visit.

  • Garrett County Area A hiker's haven in Western Maryland. With over 80,000 acres of its 648 square miles within public parks, forests and wildlife management and open space areas, the county has an abundance & diversity of hiking opportuntites. A State site, surprisingly good, numerous maps.

  • Garrett County Area This is the Camp Earth website, a commercial outdoors/camping operator that does guided hiking excursions. Has some information on trails in Savage River State Forest, Potomac State Forest, and other Garrett County Public Lands.

  • General Maryland Dept of Natural Resources hiking page. Good first reference.

  • General Good clickable map with about a dozen hikes, covering the state from Gunpowder Falls to Green Ridge SF. Hikes include photos, descriptions, suggestions, detailed topo maps and more...this is a real good guide by Michael Juskelis.

  • General A variety of Maryland hiking venues visited and described by "Broken Claw & Trailwalker." Sometimes very informative, sometimes irreverant, a great website.

  • General "volksmarching" site emphasizing DC area. Good site by Don Janes.

  • Great Falls on the Potomac hiking & climbing site by Charles Danforth. Excellent site with outstanding climbing photos.

  • Gunpowder Falls State Park -- North Central Railroad Trail well done website on this multi-use trail by photographer John Carter; photos, info, and a very nice interactive map that enables you to tour the trail from the comfort of your computer desk.

  • Harford County Area dozens of hikes and walks in northern Maryland, with trail descriptions, directions, and points of interest. Excellent resource by Peter H. Anderson, Baltimore, MD.

  • Middle Patuxent Environmental Area Columbia MD natural site with a number of hiking trails, popular for bird watching, etc. Very thorough site with photos, detailed trail descriptions, etc. by Leonard Ponder. A must click if you're in the neighborhood.

  • Monocacy National Battlefield -- Worthington Farm Trail The Worthington Farm Trail is actually two short loop trails that lead you through some terrific Central Maryland countryside -- not to mention the key historical points of Monocacy NB. This site, hosted by the National Park Service, is surprisingly thorough. Follow the links at the bottom of the Monocacy site to go through the trail step by step.

  • Patapsco Valley State Park winds along the gorge of the Patapsco River, practically within shouting distance of the Baltimore Beltway. Hiking experience described by "Broken Claw & Trailwalker."

  • Patapsco Valley State Park Official State Dept of Natural Resources site.

  • Potomac Heritage Trail GORP site gives overview of this 700 mile trail.

  • Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, MD (near Frederick). This page is on the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club site. Lots of info, numerous photos, trail descriptions, downloadable maps...everything a website should be. Kudos to the PATC webmaster.

We took a wrong turn and we just kept goin'...

My all-time favorite hike in Maryland is rather short. Hard to believe but it is a nature loop at Assateague Island National Seashore, the Intro to the Dunes. In the middle of this trail is a four foot high paved sandbank. Actually it's the remnants of a road built in the 1950s, obliterated by a hurricane in the 60s. The odd vegetation -- some found nowhere else this far north -- dunes, and neighboring pine forest creates what is almost a fantasy landscape.

Out on the hilly pan handle, Maryland bears no resemblance to the Assateague scenery. And with "the land of pleasant living" in between, it really is a fantastic destination for hiking and camping. Get yourself lost on the eastern or western shore of the Chesapeake, and you will never want to leave. To sort out the diverse hiking opportunities, I started with Leonard M. Adkins' 50 Hikes in Maryland: Walks, Hikes, and Backpacks from the Allegheny Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean from the ubiquitous 50 Hikes series. Now I realize these books get only grudging respect from the "serious" backpacker, but most "serious" backpackers are too smart for their own good. If you spend $40 on a pair of socks, for crying out loud, you're too serious!

Well, "50" doesn't begin to cover all the hiking opportunities in Maryland, but it will certainly get you started, and help sort out most of the "must-see" trails. The link above will take you into, where you are likely to find a decent used copy and save quite a few dollars.

If you knew that "we took a wrong turn..." is from Bruce Springsteen's Hungry Heart, (got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack, I went out for a ride...) give yourself two slackpacker trivia points. If you knew that "the land of pleasant living" was the motto of National Bohemian beer, give yourself four slackpacker trivia points -- but if you live in Maryland, it's only worth one.

-- Rick Bolger

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