Minebank Run trail – Lock Raven Drive trail – Sycamore path – Fire road – Barran’s trail – Baldwin trail – Barran’s trail – Willow Grove trail – Sherwood Farm trail – Minebank Run trail – Sherwood Farm trail.
Elevation gain 630ft
Address: 2002 Cromwell Bridge rd. Parkville, MD 21234 Willow Grove Nature Education Center. (A few steps from the parking area there are turkeys and chickens and the Center has a vegetable garden to the west.)
❤️💔❤️💔R.I.P. Flare 💔❤️💔❤️
I forgot to charge my phone twice in a row before hiking so we’ll see how long it will last.
Get here early at all times! This park is hugely popular among birders.
Starting our route to the east from the parking area (walking backwards towards the bridge), on Minebank Run trail….
….towards the kiln.
There are three different kilns here within one construction. Shanklin-, Risteau- and Jenifer. The path goes above/behind them to have a different point of view (as you can see it on the kiln pic). Next to the kiln is the Merrick Log house from 1797. It was constructed over a period of 200+ years and probably housed the kiln manager and his family.
Following Minebank Run we could do the birder’s loop but instead, we walk up on Lock Raven Drive trail, passing several wooden bird’s nests. It’s quite lovely here with all the nesting birds, come spring.
There are so many beautiful specimen American Sycamore in this park. This is just one wonderful example in the middle of this field.
Climbing up the small hill there is a remembrance bench waiting for us to take a minute to enjoy the view.
Back at the kiln two gentlemen with three dogs passed us and headed to the same direction we’ve chosen. Unfortunately we caught up to them and now have to shortcut our path, causing us to miss Loch Raven Dam on Gunpowder Falls on the lower loop of the Fire road.
The up and down winding Fire road trail eventually takes us above the Dam anyway so we end up taking some pictures of the watershed. There are thousands of ducks quacking on the calm water, floating by.
The trail takes a turn to the West after the Dam and is high above Towson-Branch Run. Looking down from this mossy ridge to lovely tiny cascades through tons of fallen leaves. It’s a very pretty view.
Few minutes of walking will gradually lower the edge towards the Run and we take a minute break so Mag can drink some of the chilly liquid.
A bald eagle just flew above our head yet again. I wonder when I am going to be able to photograph these majestic birds.
Here the trail splits and I feel strongly to follow the North fork but we would have to come back the same way since residential neighborhoods and Providence road divide the trail. I decide to follow the Run south towards the Barran’s-Baldwin trails.
The trail is very scenic here, thanks to keeping up with the creek. We reach the lowest point where we meet a lose white dog with friendly tail wagging, pointing towards some loud machinery in the woods. He takes off towards it.
A series of small bridges help us over the water. Right after we start climbing steep up on a hill (Barran’s trail). Trees here are marked with lime green paint.
On the top of the hill the trail becomes Baldwin trail and runs right next to private properties. Also clears out with an information board in the middle.
After reading the info and catching our breath we start to descend back where the small bridges rise above the Run. Mag is pretty much pulling me the whole way. I am trying not to tumble down….
I have to shut off my ResQwalk to conserve battery power. We are at mile 3 in our hike.
Reaching the very bottom there are 3 other trails to our right but all of them are dead ends. To be able to accomplish the most miles, we keep straight, uphill yet again.
On the top of the hill we meet the same white dog again with now his owner. After saying hi we continue our walk on Barran’s trail.
At one point the soil is like walking on shag carpet. Bit of a funky feeling.
On this side of the park we can already hear the distant sounds of 695. It should be about a mile away. We won’t reach it though. As soon as we see the source of the next little creek (I cannot locate a name) we turn left onto Sherwood Farm trail.
Keeping straight, passing the little bridge on our left and the above sign on our right. For additional mileage we could take this small loop but since it’s getting late we huddle toward Sherwood farm. I always like to go way around the farm, catching up to Minebank Run trail in the valley.
Mag loves sniffing around in this high grass area for mice and such. Unfortunately he starts limping after catching a wild rose thorn in his paw. Worse injury ever! You should see his face! I am able to save his life – thankfully – and we proceed like nothing has happened….
In the valley we cross the bridge over Minebank Run and turn left on the trail towards Marble Springs.
This trail goes under an alley of trees. Pretty, pretty, pretty. The Run is running – pun intended – on our left.
At one point we head down to the water and cut through its pebbly beach to take a look at Sherwood Cemetery. From here to the east we can already see the parking area. It’s jam packed.
We pass the vegetable gardens on our left and even hear the turkeys gobbling loudly in their enclosure.
I took this photo of the area’s birds just before getting back to our car, showcased on an info board.
It’s amazing to me that we had the opportunity to hike in the beginning of January! We had an amazing time! Come and discover this awesome Nature Center and park for yourselves. You won’t regret it!
See you next week. Have a wonderful weekend and lovely week ahead!