Ballenger Creek Park Trail is a 1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Frederick, MD that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
A pleasant little park loop. (1 mile) The nature trail at Ballenger Creek park is a one mile loop that crosses a bridge and then turns right to follow the creek. The trail is a very broad, grassy path with numbered wooden markers along the way. I'm sure the numbers note specific features along the trail but I don't know what they are. Perhaps someone at the park office would have more information. After a while, the trail leave the creekside and climbs a mild hill. Down the other side you will come across a fenceline with cows on the other side. They weren't particularly skittish when I was there but they did not like the company and moved across the field. After the paddock, the trail returns to the creekside and then back to the bridge. There are four geocaches in the park. The three along the trail are easy enough and one would spend an hour both walking and geocaching. The cache nearer the park entrance is a much more difficult find.
It would be easy to overlook this trail, especially if you're an experienced walker / hiker. It's a short route, and not as scenic as many other nearby trails. However, I've grown very fond of this trail after walking it nearly every day for the past year.
ROUTE. The main trail is a loop that's just under a mile long. After going over the bridge at the trail head, you can go either right (best for avoiding the worst hills) or left and end up at the starting location. There are also two trails that bisect the circle. Check out the track I uploaded to see them all.
MUD. Yes, this trail is muddy pretty much all the time. Come prepared or go somewhere else. There's not much that can be done about it - you're walking in a Riparian buffer / wet meadow. It's supposed to be muddy. Plus, all the runoff from the sports fields (which were strategically placed on higher ground) comes down to this end of the park. On the bright side, it makes for a great location to spot animal tracks.
WILDLIFE. For such a small park in a more developed area, I've seen some great wildlife on this trail, including beaver, deer, night herons and great blue herons, sand pipers, box turtles, northern water snakes, and garter snakes.
PLANTS. My least favorite thing about this trail is all the invasive / non-native plants. The route is absolutely choked with garlic mustard, wineberries, autumn olive, osage orange, and honeysuckle. Not the place to go to find native wildflowers.
DOGS. A great location to bring the dog. Many dog owners take their dog on the trail and then to the dog park near the trail entrance. On a nice day, you're almost certain to find several dogs swimming in the creek.
Very easy, great trail for a novice, young kids, and people with minor health issues (bad back, bad foot, etc), people with small dogs, and when you're just not feeling up enough for a trickier hike. Also good for running.
Was a good starter trail for my 3 year old. It is a mile long, mostly runs along a creek, area of access to the creek, and has a small hill in the back part of the trail. The only set back was that a quarter of the trail was mud, two sections of which were calf deep. (mud section is on the back half of the trail by farmland, before the hill) Hopefully they can fix the water issues with that section of trail.