May 29, 2020|Hiking Maryland, Outdoor Activities
This is probably my favorite local park. It pretty much has everything you could be looking for. I use it for mountain biking, trail running, and paddling, so that is what I am most familiar with, but there is so much more to explore. This gem is located right of 270 in Montgomery County.
There are many pavilions that can be rented, several great playgrounds, a visitor center, bike rentals, boat rentals, pontoon rides and a dog park! Please check before you go to verify what is open during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are not able to swim in the lake, but fishing, SUP, and kayaking are A-OK! There is a $5 day fee to put your craft in the water or you can purchase a season pass. There are paved trails as well as dirt trails, so it is good for strollers, and wheelchairs.
Let’s talk mountain biking! This is such a great place to go whether you are brand new or experienced. This is where I take anyone that wants to learn how to ride. The trails are relatively flat and wide enough that it is not too intimidating. There are some rocks and roots, but it is just enough to make it feel like you are not on a gravel road. There are plenty of trails that you can ride for a couple of hours or for a quick jaunt. I have raced in several adventure races in this park and there are enough trails to support 100+ racers. The trails here are designed with great drainage and are some of the first in the area to be ridable after rain.
Looking for trails to hike or even do some trail running? Once again, this is your spot. For all of the same reasons that make these trail excellent for mountain biking, it makes it great for hiking. When I want to get a good trail run in without having to think too much, this is my “go-to”. With so many trails in the park, you can easily find sections where there is solitude. This is also great for families, as there is so much you can see while hiking. If you are by the water there are always turtles sunning themselves on logs, a ton of really cool birds, and if you are lucky you might see a snake!
If you want some water fun, then hit the 505 acre lake. There are several launch sites for personal crafts (kayaks, SUP, canoe) and a boat launch for larger vessels. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one. The lake is large enough that you are not overwhelmed by other boaters. There are very large turtles that are not shy and will swim close to you.
Since this park is so awesome, it can get pretty busy. I was there over Memorial Day weekend and the parking lot was pretty full, but the trails were empty! Are there cool parks near where you live? Let us know the best spots.