METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
HIKES AND NATURAL PLACES IN THE METRO AREA
NORTH OF BALTIMORE
Gunpowder Falls State Park

This is one of my favorite areas for hiking and wildlife watching. I have
been visiting this park every chance I get for over three decades. The
trails along the river are mostly easy to moderate hiking. There are picnic
areas, tubing on the river, trout fishing, and a plethora of wildlife. See this
Gunpowder Falls website at Maryland Department of Natural Resources
for more details. I particularly enjoy the area off
Masemore Road. I
generally like to park in the lot at the Masemore Road and the
Gunpowder Falls. If you cross the bridge and head downstream the trail
is usually less crowded. There is plenty of wildlife here if you watch and
listen and many of the pictures you see on this site were taken here. The
upstream trail on the same side as the parking lot is also a nice hike. If
you continue upstream you will eventually get to the Prettyboy Dam.

More info here:

http://metro-naturalist.com/hikes/North_of_Balto/Prettyboy.html

__________________________________________________________
Prettyboy Reservoir

The watershed area offers some very nice wildlife observing
opportunities.  I usually spend a little time exploring the area around the
lake after a hike in Gunpowder Falls State Park, which lies just below the
Prettyboy Dam. I direct you to
Wikepedia and the Prettboy CWMA site at
Maryland Department of Natural Resources for more information.
I particularly enjoy the area near the dam. There is some very rugged
hiking that I enjoy downstream from the dam, but the narrow trails are
sometimes difficult to follow. I think parking may be limited to 15 or 20
minutes here most of the time.

More info here:

http://metro-naturalist.com/hikes/North_of_Balto/Prettyboy.html

__________________________________________________________
Loch Raven Reservoir

One of Baltimore City's drinking water reservoirs, this lake is surrounded
by a wooded buffer zone to help protect the water supply. The woods
around the lake have many hiking trails with a wide variety of wildlife. This
was one of my favorite places when I lived in the Towson area.

More info here:

http://metro-naturalist.com/hikes/North_of_Balto/LochRaven.html
__________________________________________________________
Lake Roland

This area was within waking distance of the house where I grew up in the
neighborhood of Mt. Washington in Baltimore City. The park has been
bisected since then by the Light Rail line, and seems to have become
much more popular in recent years.  Some good hikes and wildlife
watching still exist though.  The Bare Hills area of the park is one of four
Serpentine Barrens in Maryland.

Some more info on the area:
http://metro-naturalist.com/hikes/North_of_Balto/LakeRoland.html

__________________________________________________________
Oregon Ridge Park

This park is about 1000 acres with hiking trails, an archaeological dig, a
nature center, and some recreational facilities. The nature center offers
a number of programs for people interested in natural history. Check out
the
Nature Center website and the Oregon Ridge Park homepage for
more info.

__________________________________________________________
click for larger image
click for larger image
click for larger image
click for large image
click for larger image
Tubing on the
Gunpowder River at
Gunpowder State Park
A skipper sipping nectar
from a red clover flower
A gull takes flight
A fly visits a chicory flower
Snowstorm in Owings Mills,
Maryland
Smartweed flowers