HIKES IN THE BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON METRO AREA
METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
LAKE ROLAND / ROBERT E. LEE PARK

Folks in the area call this park Lake Roland, although I guess technically the park is called
Robert E. Lee Park and the lake would be Lake Roland.

While growing up in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington in Baltimore City I developed my
childhood interest in natural history while exploring Lake Roland, which was within walking
distance of my house. The lake was formed when a dam was built on the Jones Falls River
to supply water to the city of Baltimore.  The dam was finished in 1861 and the reservoir
supplied water to the city until 1915, when the city stopped using the water due to problems
with pollution and erosion. Since then the lake and surrounding woodlands have served as a
local park and recreation area.

The park is a great place for birdwatching. I used to go on hikes here with the Maryland
Ornithological Society and I would highly recommend these hikes to anyone with an interest
in birds (see the
Baltimore Bird Club website). During the spring and fall migrations, large
numbers of warblers and other birds stop at the park. The park is also a year-round home to
many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and other animals.

The Bare Hills area of the park is one of four
Serpentine Barrens in Maryland. This area was
usually referred to as the "Pine Barrens" by the neighborhood residents because of the
scrubby and stunted Virginia Pine that grows here. This is a particularly fascinating area for
botany and geology, with some unique and unusual plants that associate with the unique
minerals.

I am including a short list of some of the animals I have seen here. This is certainly not a
complete list.

Mammals
White-tailed Deer
Red Fox
Meadow Vole
White-footed Mouse
Raccoon
Grey Squirrel
Chipmunk
Cottontail Rabbit
Short-tailed Shrew
Groundhog


Birds
The Baltimore Bird Club (see links below) list some of the birds you might see.

Reptiles
Garter Snake
Northern Water Snake
Queen Snake
Milk Snake
Black Racer
Black Rat Snake
Ring-neck Snake
Hognosed Snake
Box Turtle
Painted Turtle

Amphibians
Two-lined Salamander
Dusky Salamander
Red-backed Salamander
Long-tailed Salamander
Spotted Salamander
Red-Spotted Newt
American Toad
Spring Peeper
Wood Frog
Pickerel Frog
Green Frog



SEE THESE LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION

Some brief accounts from hikes by the Baltimore Bird Club

Description of the park from the Baltimore Bird Club
Site Search
The Lake Roland Dam in 1982
Bloodroot - one of the spring wildflowers to see at Lake Roland.
Footbridge across the Jones Falls River at Robert E. Lee Park (1982).
Black Racer found at Lake Roland.
Picnic Pavillion at Lake Roland (1982).