4/24/2021 West side, Parking lot A – Trail around the lake
Location: Broken Land Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21045
Elevation gain: 66ft
The weather hasn’t been kind to us on the weekends this year so our posts are scarce. Mostly rain or snow but freezing temperatures have been also sabotaging our longer hikes to explore new trails.
We walk at least 2 miles a day but I usually only blog about walks or hikes we haven’t done yet. I found today’s destination by chance last year and have been waiting for a decent day to check it out.
Lake Elkhorn is a 37 acre reservoir, Columbia’s third and largest lake. The path was built in ‘82 and is an easy and virtually elevation free paved trail.
I knew it could be crowded because of the close proximity to civilization so we got up at 6 am to get there around 7. Parking lot A is smallish – spaces for less than 30 cars – and I could not find a parking lot B. Last year I’ve parked in Hopewell Park on Rustling Leaf because the community pool was closed for the season. That could be parking lot B.
Even tho I don’t need a jacket this morning but gloves are a must since it’s still around 40 degrees. We are starting out on the north side of the lake following the trail clockwise. Our walk couldn’t start out more picturesque with Lake Elkhorn Dam on our right.
Even those townhouses couldn’t ruin the view. Crossing a beautiful wooden bridge is necessary since the tiny creek is in a hurry to join Little Patuxent River close by.
Since the park is extremely well maintained and clean, there are small litter kits on the bridge to encourage people to do their part in keeping it clean. It is obviously also dog friendly and I’ve seen several poop stations throughout the 2 mile trail.
We couldn’t resist to one of the benches provided to sit and enjoy the view and to add to Mag’s benched series. He loves doing this (doesn’t show on this pic). All benches are dedicated in memory of people by family and friends.
Passing by the townhomes we take a minute on the lookout platform to spy on a pray bird. He is sitting on top of the fence on the other side of dam (too far to take pic). The view is gorgeous but the waking sun’s reflection ruins my take. Farther up the trail….
Lots of people are walking their dogs so we stop frequently and wait for them to pass. Mag has been behaving, I am very impressed that he left his Cujo side at home. From the dam to the wooden docks we walk right along the townhomes. I think I’ve just found parking lot B! There is another small parking area here. We could put our kayaks in, play chess or sunbathe.
Closer to the homes is a rain garden and up on the small hill a playground and off course fantastic views of the lake. Under the docks in the corner several “bubblers” moving the water to keep it healthy. Mag thinks they’re suspicious….
While the trail winds through a small wooded area, educating the passersby of the different species of trees….
….we walk towards one of the covered lookouts. All the views are magnificent around here. Lots of trees and bushes are in bloom: dogwoods, blackhaws, honeysuckles, redbuds.
People are walking, running, fishing but everything seems to have a slower pace. Time is standing still it seems.
This gorgeous Gray Heron is sitting next to the path looking at Mag like “You are a weird grey heron, bud!” until a jogger scares him away.
I have been taking so many wonderful photos! I wish I could share them all. Here is just one. Just such an idyllic setting.
We even run into a Canada Geese family trotting across the path with 6 chicks! Dad is very protective off course. Soooo fluffy and cute! We circle around them even tho most people are less than six feet away from them on the paved path. I guess they are used to us.
At the east corner of the lake there are plenty of lily pads closer to shore but still no signs of frogs and other critters. We find another boat ramp than have to cross the second bridge over the swampier side and turn right to walk the south side, back to our starting point.
The trail runs just a bit farther from the water here, tall trees providing plenty of shade. All the way through, padded with mulch are exercise equipments to help keep us in shape.
There are tiny ‘fishermen paths’ still taking us down to the lake and I actually doubt that anyone could ever take a bad photograph here.
I am blown away by the beauty and serenity of this man made Lake! Kind of even feeling guilty to blog about it except that my blog is not too popular so it’ll be fine.
We are just enjoying this beautiful setting by sitting Mag up on a sizable boulder with the north docks in the background.
At the west side we cannot miss the main pavilion with a water fountain and a bike rack. It’s looking over a long kayak ramp/dock and the stony edge of the dam.
A smaller red roofed pavilion is sitting pretty on the bottom of the hill, inviting people from the parking area to sit and marvel.
Unfortunately we are at the end of this wonderfully beautiful walk. I am sure will be back to merge ourselves again into the beauty of Lake Elkhorn.
Here is our map:
P.S.: our little gourd houses are getting occupied again this year! Wrens are moving in…. and our first hummingbird of the season arrived on the 17th! Movies attached in a separate post.
Keep hiking y’all!