Interesting hike, especially the Savannah. Felt like I was in another state! Serpentine side is better than the Choate Mine side. Nothing I hate more than being alone in the woods for miles and miles and then stumbling onto suburbia halfway through!
Hiked the trail on an August morning so it wasn't too hot. You can catch the Serpentine Trail at the visitor center or the parking area off of Deerfield Road and is easy to follow. The trails across the road from the parking area are not as well marked and even though I used to volunteer there I still managed to take a couple of wrong turns. The trails were overgrown in some sections which means you really need to watch out for ticks latching on to you as you brush by the vegetation . There is some signs explaining the history of the area and the rare species they are trying to save so plan on a couple of stops along the way.
I enjoyed walking these trails, but a few suggestions to those considering it in the summer time:
- Wear Sunscreen if you go on the Serpentine Trail. There is not much shade, you may want to bring an umbrella for shade.
- Bring lots of water.
- Beware of ticks! I never manage to come back from these trails without them. They are very small. Always wear a hat and bug repellent if you can. Use permetherin on your clothing or DEET (nothing under 25% deet). There are sections that are grassy and the grass encroaches onto the pathways, you have to pass through them. Tick city.
Other than those things, it's really enjoyable.
I have hiked here for a number of years, and there are parts of this hike that I really like and parts that I am not crazy about. First, the good. I like the open areas with the different grasses, scenic views, and interesting "serpentine" rock that lines the trails. There are wooded sections of the trail that are also very scenic, and there is enough elevation gain here and there to make it a decent workout. On the negative side, there are ugly high tension lines passing through a section of park, and the trail can become extremely sloppy and muddy in winter or after heavy rains. All in all, it's an interesting worthwhile hike.
Explored Soldier's Delight on a warmer winter day. Took the Serpentine Trail and immediately thankful I wore good boots. The trail was either (1) muddy, wet, and sunken like a dried creek bed, (2) solid ice, or (3) nubby rock depending on where you were. The landscape is eerie and desolate, with scrubby brush, spindly oak, and stretches of grassland interspersed with areas of forest. I kept trying to find beauty in my surroundings -- the grassland really was lovely, with shades of purple, red, and yellow. It almost looked like the land was on fire (interestingly, since the ecosystem is actually dependent on fire). I also reminded myself that the serpentine barren is home to many rare and endangered insects and plants, so it made things more interesting. What I couldn't stand though, were the power lines cutting through the trail, and the constant sound of gunshots in the distance. There's a shooting range nearby, and it makes you feel like you're in a horror movie. I may go back to check out the trails that go near the old mines, or to experience it in another season for trail running.
This loop was pretty disappointing to be honest. Extremely muddy, I'd say at least 75% of the loop was either muddy, deeply rutted, iced over or running water like a stream. It was after a small snow melt but there's also power lines and townhouses so never got the feeling of being "away from it all". If not for the unique ecosystem and landscape it would have been a bust of a hike.
I grew up hiking this trail as it was literally in my back yard as a kid. Our property backed up to Soldiers Delight so as kids we were on these trails all the time. Its actually a great little hike not far from Reisterstown Rd. near Franklin Blvd. and easy to get to from 795. You can park at the overlook and hike the loop. Its got some rocky terrain areas but for the most part it is pretty easy hiking. There is an old mine back there off the trail that's pretty cool if you can find it. I have found all kinds of cool animals and things on the trails, from an old turtle shell to broken off deer antlers. There is a ranger station on the loop, and I am not sure if they still do it but years ago they did a Halloween hike thing at the rangers station that was spooky and fun for kids. This is a great place to bring your dog as long as your dog is medium to large, may be hard to get a little Yorkie through some sections. There is one main trail that has Deer Park Rd. running through it, but there are smaller loops on both sides of the road if you don't feel like crossing a road. Unfortunately you can't mountain bike there, but its great for dogs, hiking, and trail running. Enjoy
This is great area. There are multiple trails of various distances so you can take your pick depending on your energy level and time available. The trails are well mantained and marked. We go there all year round. It's a perfect place to get exercise for us and our dog.
It's like someone dropped a savannah right next to Baltimore. The terrain is really interesting, but the serpentine barrens might turn off some folks if you're looking for waterfalls and sweeping vistas. I think the beauty of this place is a bit more subtle. The Red Run trail provides a nice change of scenery with some nice forest, a creek, and farmland. You'll also find some cool miness along a couple trails. The suburbs kind of encroach much of the trail, but when you're in the grasslands you don't notice. There's only about 7 miles of trails, without too many hills, so you could easily do the whole area in a day.
I enjoy walking this trail in the evening because its very close to my house and it doesn't take a long time. There are several trails that you can do, all of which add up to about a 6.5 mile loop, if you want it that long. I can make my hike as short or as long as I like.
This trail is pretty easy and fairly flat. The terrain is very interesting, one minute it looks like your in a desert and very rocky. Then you go between a pine forest and an oak forest. But, overall, I like this trail for a quick no frills hike.