As the weather warms and we look to put winter in our rearview mirrors (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil), getting outside can provide some valuable time to relax and take in some deep breaths. Hiking some of Carroll County’s trails is a great way to get outside and exercise all while exploring new places.
Piney Run Park
Piney Run offers more than five miles of trails to hike on and even some sections for horseback and mountain bike riders. Hikers can see deer, groundhogs, foxes, birds, and wild flowers, along with different educational setups.
The Indian Trail loop provides a quick half-mile walk through the oak forest with blueberry and mountain laurel bushes to keep you company. Not the widest, the park recommends against taking strollers with you.
Looking to bring the stroller? Check out the Lake Trail, another half-mile walk that takes you along the forest border that takes you from the playground to the Nature Center.
Autumn In Piney Run Park
The Field Trail offers an easy 0.7 mile walk through evergreen groves before meeting up with the lake.
Piney Run’s longest hike can be found on the 3.5-mile Inlet Trail which takes you through a variety of sections and habitats with plenty of places to stop for a quick bite or to take a detour to another trail.
Visit: 30 Martz Rd., Sykesville, MD, 21784. Weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m. from Dec. 1-Feb. 28 and 7 a.m. until sunset seven days a week from March 1-Nov. 30. 410-795-5165.
Hashawha Environmental Center
Hashawha has a vast trail system that connects the forests and the fields with something for every type of hiker. Hikers, riders, and mountain bikers can take advantage of Hashawha’s connection to the Union Mills Equestrian Trails system to extend their adventures.
Nice little mountain bike spot with some beautiful scenery
The Vista Trail circles in a 1.2-mile loop around the Bear Branch Nature Center offering an easy walk through woods and fields with views of the raptor mews.
The Stream Trail carries a 1.8-mile hike from Lake Hashawha with access to the historic Martin Cabin and picturesque meadows.
Looking for a more strenuous hike? Lace up and hit the Wilderness Trail for a two-mile conjunction of three different loops offering views of Big Pipe Creek and classic Carroll County landscapes.
Visit: 300 John Owings Rd., Westminster, MD, 21158 . Time. 410-386-3560.
Morgan Run Natural Environment Area
Hiking and equestrian trails are popular at this 2,000-acre natural area in southern Carroll County. As is the catch-and-release trout stream and the 5.5-mile hike with additional out-and-back segments to extend your hike.
Visit: 4098 Benrose Ln., Eldersburg, MD, 21784. 410-461-5005.
Charlotte’s Quest in Pine Valley Park
Hidden in the Town of Manchester, Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center is tucked within Pine Valley Park with four miles of trails guiding hikers by streams, natural springs, ponds, and forests with plentiful wildlife.
It was great to #getoutside and #enjoynature with a rowdy bunch of kiddos! Check out Hike it Baby for more info on…
Visit: 3400 Wilhelm Ln., Manchester, MD, 21102. Everyday dawn to dusk. 410-374-3395.
Westminster Community Pond
The Westminster Community Pond area is perfect if you’re looking to get those steps in but don’t have the time to get deep into the forest. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be without wildlife, however; ducks and geese are common visitors of this central Carroll County park. This short loop is great for kids!
A beautiful sunset in the West, as we completed our Duck-Pond laps. 😊
Visit: Off Rt. 140 between Sullivan Rd. and Rt. 97 in Westminster, MD, 21157.