2\23\2020 Daniels Access trail – Powerline trail – Church Loop 3 – Church Loop 1 – Daniels Access trail
Elevation gain: 577ft
Location: Old Frederick rd. Ellicott City, MD 21043
This spot is yet again a small parking area (15 cars?) sandwiched between the railroad tracks and the river. Our target trail is across the road but there is “NO parking” there.
I saw people on this path from across the river when on Thru trail.
I’ve looked it up and it turns out that there are three trailheads from this one spot!
Gorgeous weather today, sunny with clear skies. Still in the 40s at 10:45am but that is perfect for hiking.
Be careful crossing the road it is quite busy, surprisingly. Daniel Access trail starts out on the other side of the tracks, pretty steeply. I am already watching my breathing, through the nose, out the mouth. We are about 50 feet above the railroad and the green hued river.
On our left, yet again the so common cookie cutter a.k.a. mushroom houses on the top of the hill.
The trail on this side is very small (compared to Thru trail across the river) about 2 feet wide, winding through the forest. We have to step aside for oncoming traffic even so there are only a few bikers we encounter.
For me the scenery is beautiful with the all long shadows of the tower high trees. Certain American Sycamores stand out with their white bark and giant puppet like branches.
At 0.6 miles we reach the railroad again, the trail crossing a small creek below the tracks. We take a few minutes to climb up on them and take some pics. Trains are very scarce, we are lucky if we see one per hike, mostly missing them entirely.
Even though we are walking away from the cookie-cutter houses they still perch atop the hills in the distance, following us with their hollow stare.
If we look carefully spring is visible all around us already. Tiny green buds and leaves are emerging.
These markers help us identify our whereabouts. They can be found at certain spots along the trail.
We’ve been steadily walking uphill but at 0.75 miles – at the private property sign – we really start to feel that we are actually hiking until we get to the powerlines. The other side of the clearing is definitely private, we both hear their dog giving us fair warning.
After the tower we follow the generously wide trail until we get to the fenced in power buildings and I get a suspicion that we are off the trail. We missed a right turn. While cutting through the forest we scare off a herd of deer but find the path after a few minutes. A small wooden bridge gives it away. Carved numbers show it was built in 2015.
I’ve heard quite a few woodpeckers in the forest today, knocking away near and far. Even spotted elusive Pileated Woody in the distance at one point.
After turning onto Church Loop 3 it feels like we are on sort of a ridge, valleys are on both sides.
Stepping aside for a minute to let bikers pass us again, I notice a tick on Mag’s head. It’s really hard to squeeze it dead and I don’t have my trusty little bottle to take it out of the equation. I try my hardest to pop it between my fingernails than flick it away. Making mental note to recheck Mag in the car.
Going downhill for a bit leads us to Gary Memorial United Methodist Church but we turn right onto Church Loop 1 before reaching it. Built in 1879 to serve mill workers and village residents it has survived world wars and floods.
The trail continuous uphill like a snake again next to this disgusting junkyard looking thing. I don’t understand how these people get permits to have these nasty businesses next to our national parks and waterways. Signs permitting me to take pictures of it….
The river snakes about a hundred feet below us on our left with the railroad as its companion. The trail is covered on both sides with lush green moss and we just came upon a makeshift bench to look at the view. Off course I’m gonna try to get Mag on it.
We stirred up another pretty big herd of deer in the middle of the woods so Mag goes bananas as usual. I have to order him to sit down for a few minutes to calm down.
After the sharp left turn the trail becomes truck wide….
….and yet again we miss our next right turn. We got under the powerlines, which means one thing….we went too far again. What’s up with these giants and getting lost?We have to track back.
No wonder that we missed the trail there are no signs and it turns like 45° backwards invisible behind a tree. Back on track and crossing a pretty little creek with a tiny waterfall.
After crossing it we turn left to walk under the powerlines now in Patapsco South.
The trail from here follows the river and with that the train-track pretty closely, except for a little bit towards the end. I spot the heart island I’ve photographed from Thru trail….it’s the bigger piece of rock on this pick below. There are so many different types of fungus growing all over on trees in the forest but they really hard to shoot because of their mostly whitish color.
Here on the South side the path is much muddier because it stays in the shade. We both have to watch our steps on this edgy trail, would be easy to slip down into the “ditch” on our left. Soon we get back to the intersection of the North trail and after turning left we visit the small body of water that hides below the path. There are a lot of Eastern Skunk Cabbage growing out of the muddy pools.
At 3.7 miles I can already see the cars in the parking area so I take my last pic of the green river before getting back. No matter what season there are always colors to be found.
We’ve throughly enjoyed yet another great hike in Patapsco! What a wonderful State Park so close to the hustle and bustle.
Here are our maps. I always meet the mileage in the middle since they never agree….
Hope to see you’ll out there! Be safe and hike on!
And never forget! Do not leave a trail! Do not litter!