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Lots of incline/decline both ways and very rocky. Trekking poles are very useful. Make sure to bring enough water on hot days. The view is worth it.

I would definitely do this hike again. There are a few things that you might want to know, and some of the other reviews back me up on these:
Get there early, especially on weekends. We got there at 6:30 am and there were already a two cars there.
I recommend not parking in the back of the parking lot, just because it gets crowded in the small space soon.
Since the elevation rises and drops, the temperature varies kind of quickly. Also, it isn’t just up one way and down another, like the elevation chart shows. It was challenging because the steepness was intense at points.
It’s completely under trees, except for the overlook.
There are many rocks on the trail, so trail boots help; I don’t have any, I wear tennis shoes, and I could feel the ridges of the rocks through my shoes.
I rated it 4 stars only because the overlook was pretty, but not exactly breathtaking (I’m spoiled on overlooks). However, the trail is challenging, fun, and I would definitely do it again.

Stick with it to the end. It is worth the trek

Good two hour walk. Saw a great old abandoned house with a vulture sitting on the roof. Great river access. Will be back with our kayaks!

MESSAGE ALERT TRAIL CLOSED: If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, Only the Howard County side of the Park and trails are OPEN. When entering, turn left toward the Playground. The road is OPEN up to the Swinging Bridge. The road is blocked off at the Lost Lake Pond, the other way. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney area is even worse. The stream and the parking lot at the Soapstone Trailhead is now a 8 foot deep trench. The Swinging Bridge is CLOSED. The Baltimore County side (trails) may end up being CLOSED all summer. ** If you need a special map I created it could help you learn the Howard County side. ** baltoken @ yahoo.com ( Ken )
PS: With only one side open. Go early or you are not getting in. Over Crowded and they stop cars from coming in. Two rental pavilions are open and they need parking for them first.

MESSAGE ALERT: If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, Only the Howard County side of the Park and trails are OPEN. When entering, turn left toward the Playground. The road is OPEN up to the Swinging Bridge. The road is blocked off at the Lost Lake Pond, the other way. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney area is even worse. The stream and the parking lot at the Soapstone Trailhead is now a 8 foot deep trench. The Swinging Bridge is CLOSED. The Baltimore County side (trails) may end up being CLOSED all summer. ** If you need a special map I created it could help you learn the Howard County side. ** baltoken @ yahoo.com ( Ken )
PS: With only one side open. Go early or you are not getting in. Over Crowded and they stop cars from coming in. Two rental pavilions are open and they need parking for them first.

trail running
15 days ago

The scenery is great! It’s a rocky trail but there are some areas that give your feet some rest. I wouldn’t rate this as hard though, probably on the harder side of moderate but not hard. Also, I’ve hike this trail twice and it is not 7.1 miles, it is over 8 miles.

Fun hike with great view! Always fun to hike across state lines. Fairly rocky trail. Trail head parking lot full on weekend (Sunday).

Wild rhododendrons were amazing a lot of the trail was just filled with them literally 15 to 20 feet tall and Trails made through them where it actually appeared like a tunnel. Thick vegetation made it hard to really see the views although we had several views of large boulders on the mountain side. The trail was very well-maintained with lots of views of the stream. You could hear it too many places . Majority of the trail was wide. The elevation zigzagged back and-forth to the top of the mountain ( first half your climbing up) you reach the top of the elevation and it is quite a climb. The descent was well-maintained with a series of steps built into the mountainside that were just amazing. The massive wood notched beams that cross the creek was a perfect spot to rest and get more photos

This is a great trail if you’re looking for something challenging and rewarding. The switchbacks are super fun and the peacefulness is the best on this trail! Wear waterproof shoes as there is water to cross. Happy Trails!

Short and pretty easy hike with pretty great views.

Important information before hiking this trail, first, the trail is very rocky the entire way, you will be required to rock hop over two running creeks along the way, and the has three inclines over the ridges before reaching the top. Once you see the WV - VA state line the lookout is only five minutes or so. It is a nice hike, and I would only rate it difficult because of the rocky trail, otherwise it's not too bad.

This was a beautiful park!

Note: This trail is moderate; not hard. It’s a good option for a sunny summer day as the entire trail is under tree canopy. The rocky and uneven path deserves sturdy-soled hiking boots with good traction; 90% of the trail is akin to a dry creek bed. It’s called the “roller coaster” section for good reason. Lotsa ups and downs with a satisfying elevation gain/loss for the area. The overlook is 2.8 miles in, but you can continue on to add mileage and gain some solitude (I actually preferred the trail after the overlook!). My favorite part was sharing the trail with AT hikers, who were the happiest and most friendly people on the trail! You also get to cross the VA/WV state line, which is fun. Parking is limited and can be congested on weekends, but with a lot of comings and goings patience should earn you a spot.

road biking
1 month ago

It’s a nice short ride. Perfect for after work before you catch the sun before it sets. Nice scenery riding along the lake and some historic ruins to pass by and swinging bridge.

Interesting trail, almost desert like but then branches into scrub oak. Not the most interesting but fun none the less.

Good trail a little bit up and down. Outlook view is super!

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty trail of moderate difficulty. My 9-year old was up for it, with minimal complaining. Came across lizards, toads, and -- beware -- a copperhead in what looked like its regular den, beneath a rock, square in the middle of the trail, probably 100 to 150 yards above the overlook at the northeastern end of the ridge.

Great hike. Good challenge. Get there early on the weekends, but the hike is long enough to space everyone out. The views at the top are as good as it gets.

Love this hike. A regular for my wife and I. Be prepared for steep hill climbs and descents on rocky trail. Beautiful views from Raven Rocks and easy access from Rte. 7. Trailhead parking can be very crowded on weekends.

Ok. Very crowded. Tons of kids and bikers. Trails are pretty narrow so you literally have to move to let people pass — pretty enough but far too many people. There are most definitely not enough signs.

If you’re looking for a strenuous, rocky up down, wet trail to hike this is for you. Definitely come prepared with water and some energy and expect to get your feet wet at this time of year that is. I’d say experienced hikers would be able to venture these trails easily and newbies will definitely need some motivation to get to the top to see the beautiful views.

Hiked this alone, wasn’t “hard” by any means just took a while.

2 months ago

Very good hike, just decent views. The views are on the way up. The end is just where a few trails come together.

Was a beautiful hike, very rocky and challenging both ways. The last few inclines on the way back were definitely strenuous. We went on a rainy day and had to be extra careful on the rocks. The view is gorgeous!

hiking
2 months ago

Only did the 4 mile( 2 in, 2 out) fairly simple. lots of trees to provide shade

Rather unique rocky terrain, with some challenging spots. Nice!

I enjoyed this place very much but I wasn't sure about the terrain. Being a long ride for me to get there I kind of wish it was in the Spring or Fall. It was extremely hot out and the Serpentine trail was like being in a desert. A few areas have reroutes. Two of them I nearly missed. If I was a local I would have just done one side and not both. To many miles in the heat for this old senior. Be sure to carry plenty of water. The heat off of some of the rocks is enough to fry an egg. I will return in the fall.

Great hike. Parking lot was closed for expansion when we arrived, so had to park across the highway and run across to get to trail head, which was probably the most dangerous part of our trip. Good view up top.

Lovely sunny day, easy hike. See 2 stray black dogs at Rte 7 parking lot. I have a dog with me so can’t take them. Anyone know who to call?

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