Gunpowder Falls North and South Loop Trail is a 11.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Parkton, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
11.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,279 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

bridge out

washed out

Two trails, the larger is the blue trail and shorter is the yellow trail. Crosses some streams and provides nice views.

hiking
14 days ago

Note: you cannot cross the river just north of the start point - looks like this bridge is permanently out. This is the biggest problem with this trail, which is otherwise mostly fine.

I'll admit that I was pretty cavalier here with mixing and matching trails (so if you take the trail as written, you'll figure this out pretty early), but as written on the site, this hike doesn't exist. The trail on the west side was very frequently underwater, as it's been raining pretty frequently, and required a lot of stomping around in uncleared areas. Although I admit it's slightly my fault for not looking through the comments here, it was definitely annoying having to hike a lot farther just to cross back across the river.

Onto the good - difficulty and route options were pretty solid, and the river views were just fine. Good diversity in scenery. Could have been a three-or-four star review if things were drier and the bridge was in, just not in the cards for me.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a great trail. Be aware that most of the trail along the river has washed away with this summers rains. You have to take the higher trail until it merges back under 83. We walked from the parking lot at Bunker Hill Rd to hillbilly beach (other side of York Road), and heard from others there that the trail on that side was washed away too. Regardless, it’s a beautiful hike, rigorous elevation changes at points, but the trail is mostly clear and easy.

hiking
3 months ago

It is hard to write a review or rate this entire trail. I'll average it out and give it 4 stars. But they are really separate trails and should not be combined.

I have lived in this area and hiked these trails for over 35 years. First of all it needs to be clearly stated that ALL dogs are to be on leashes. Access points have signs that state this. And they add (even friendly ones).

This is not the same Gunpowder Falls Park as further downstream. The river should be marked as The Gunpowder River NOT Gunpowder Falls.

For this trail it needs to be clear that the Bunker Hill Road Bridge had been out for decades. It was vandalized, rebuilt, vandalized again and left as is. It can be shallow there so can be forded but you will get wet and often to your waist.

That being said if you start this hike from the West (NW) side of the Gunpowder River it is a very nice hike. It is one of our favorite hikes. Do it. There is access to it from the West side or better yet at the Masemore Bridge.

The East (SE) side is another story as depicted on this map. If you park at the Bottom of Bunker Hill Road in the parking lot on the map there are fields and a picnic grove nearby. It can be nice for a picnic, wading and fishing. You could hike by going East on the trail depicted. But it is not easy to follow. Do not attempt to follow the dotted line trail along the river. You cannot follow the river for more than 50-100 yards before must go up a steep hill and along( or even on) a fire trail. That is the route this trail takes you and I like it. The hill is steep. At the top the dotted line loop (not named on the map) is nice with a very old silo and old “junk yard” from way back. The silo also has remains of an old dairy farm.

Then you go back down the hill as you approach the bridge at York Rd. You have to walk across the road. Easy enough. But hiking along the river there (Panther Trail) is not easy and often not safe. This depends on the time of year as well as how much rain, or snow has fallen. It is not well marked.

That loop shown (Panther Trail) that goes along the river and the rectangular area behind the high school is not well marked and you have to cross a stream once or twice. Not easy to do.

I do not know of any waterfalls on this trail. There are some gentle water cascades in places. These are nice but don’t look for a waterfall.

I agree that it is moderate overall. But precarious in places. Dogs MUST be on leashes. I’ve witnessed bad encounters when this law is not followed.

hiking
6 months ago

Finished out the north trail today. I was trail running nicely until I found myself on the wrong side of GP Falls, which is unmaintained and filled with briars. There was also a lot of blowdown (see my recording). I almost grinded to a halt when I got to the point of scrambling rock and going off course between miles 4-5.

In the end, I'm chalking it up as a getting-to-know-you outing because the bridge to the other side is dismantled; its not there. I river crossed, but later found I didn't have to do that. There is an alternate way. Like I said, "getting to know". But, it still turned out to be a good outing.

trail running
7 months ago

Be prepared for fading blazes at super low frequency — you may not see a blaze for 200 yards. Running this course is like a steeplechase, with many fallen trees and logs. Actually I used Mark Hatfield’s recorded course — I don’t know this person but I used his trek to get a run in before sunset (~8:00 pm according to the forecast). Looking at Mark’s elevation profile, I ran the Gunpowder Falls loop in the opposite, clockwise direction. The waypoints on my recording reflect this. Thanks Mark for posting your recorded trek.

About this run. What a workout! A lot of elevation gain and loss, and log jumping along the way. Some of the turns are hard to pick up, so I placed waypoints at just about every one of those turns. If you use my trek, the waypoints may be helpful, because having to label these turning points slowed me down more than I wanted to. There are stream crossings, and several tight corners that are more for hiking and are simply not runnable. Saw two deer which light bulbed me about ticks. In mid-spring, everything is starting to thrive, so make sure you are well covered in repellent if wearing shorts.

All in all, a rigorous outing (not too hard) with the biggest issue being fading blazes few and far in between. I will be returning. 4 Stars!

hiking
7 months ago

Great Hike; however, the bridge that's currently listed as the connecting point of the two loops is no longer there. There is a trail off of the road in between the bathrooms and the parking lot that will take you to the Masrmore Rd Bridge that can take you to the other loop.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trails, although it was still muddy from snow melt. Scenic river views and nice gentle slopes. Some trail splits were unclear, but generally the trails were well marked. Ended up only completing the South loop because of rain coming in. Overall, it was a good hike!

Monday, September 18, 2017

ok trails... hiked from Masemore Rd to the dam and back. good amount of technical rock. not well maintained. wear breathable long sleeves and pants. discovered a yellow jacket nest 10 minutes from falls road. beautiful view when atop the dam.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Amazing views. Tranquil. One of the best trails I've been on in a long time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This was a beautiful trail with rugged and diverse terrain. We started at the parking area off of Bunker Hill Rd. Then followed GP South to Highland. When Highland met back with South we continued on to Prettyboy Dam. We followed South all the way back, climbing rocks and fallen trees and navigating dense vegetation but still finding the blazes. We crossed over to GP North at Masemore Rd on our way back. North was pretty lackluster after the beauty and interest on the way out, though. The most exciting part was traversing the water, because we did not notice before setting out that the BRIDGE NO LONGER EXISTS to get from GP North back across to Bunker Hill.

Monday, May 01, 2017

The trails were awesome and it's so pretty, but my fiancé and I found six ticks on us after we left. Hopefully we don't find more later ....

hiking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Really enjoyed this trail system. They could be marked better and the parking lots should have full trail maps posted with "You Are Here" markers, but otherwise really good trails. It gets technical the close you get to the Prettyboy Reservoir Dam, but worth the time.

hiking
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Quiet hike today temps in the 70's! We only saw about a dozen people on a 3 hour hike. Stopped for lunch overlooking the river. Leaves were beautiful.

hiking
Monday, October 17, 2016

I wasn't able to finish this hike to give it a fair rating but wanted to give future hikers a warning about ticks on the trail:

We started this pretty hike on a beautiful fall day with our pup. Unfortunately, we realized about a mile in that she was covered with ticks--so much so that we decided it would be better to turn around, even though we made an hour drive to get there. As another commenter mentioned, the trail is a bit overgrown with vegetation and I think this was what made it so bad for our dog (we were ok with pants, boots, and long socks). Ticks in the woods happen, of course, but this was worse than we've seen elsewhere on the East Coast. We hope to come back after the first hard freeze when hopefully the critters will be gone. In the meantime, I would avoid bringing dogs on this trail during tick season (her tick collar was no match for the bloodsuckers) and recommend humans plan accordingly.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Pretty fun trail with some rock obstacles to climb. We ended up doing a mix of the South Trail and the Highland Trail.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Really fun trail, but I'm glad I read the other reviews. I wore zip off long pants (I had to wear the pants for the entire middle part of the trail from the western loop to the northern gunpowder trail). I also brought a towel to dry off my feet after I walked across the river (I just walked barefoot - it was fine and the water didn't go above my knees). I'd suggest starting to the left on each loop. One difficult part at the top of the western loop - coming down a steep hill and then there is a section that has a large tree across it. I just crossed the stream and went down 50 feet or so and crossed back.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The first leg of the trail was okay, but when you went on the second trail after the bridge, the paths were very overgrown and spidery. I'm talking spiders crawling ALL OVER YOU. And sticker bush after sticker bush. We spent so much time whacking away at the spiders and sticker bushes that we never really could stop and enjoy the beauty of the river and the forest. If you are planning on using these trails, DO NOT WEAR SHORTS! You will most certainly get chiggers, scratches, and poison ivy because the path is so poorly maintained. I'd bring a machete, but I'm never doing that trail again.

Another thing, the imbecile that made this map had us lost a whole bunch of times to where we were so exhausted, we just said the heck with it and went off trail, using Google maps to find our way to a trail that actually exists. The third time we got lost, was a part where we were supposed to cross the river again, but like another reviewer noticed, there is the ruins of a bridge, but there is no longer a bridge there. Luckily there was Bunker Hill Rd, so we just walked back to our car from there, vowing to never set foot in those poorly maintained paths again.

Over all, the hike was pretty in some parts, and I ended up actually hiking 11 miles instead of 8, which had me exhausted, the bad far outweighed the good and 1 star is really too generous of me. This hike sucks.

Another thing

hiking
Sunday, May 29, 2016

It was nice, did the south trail only. There are no bridges across any of the water. There may have been at one point but not anymore. We had to ford the river on foot on the return. Still a good hike.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Wasn't a bad hike. Watch out for the Section with rocks to climb around, it just takes a while . definitely a beautiful park with wildlife and wildflowers.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Not for mountain bikes!! AT ALL. At least from the damn to falls road. I tried to take the spur trail from the damn, huge mistake. Carried the bike the entire way over trees, rocks, steep slippery slopes. Then I reached trail and thought I am at a point of no return so keep going... Mistake #2. I followed trail to left that follows stream. Again never rode bike but for a minute. Very rough terrain all the way to falls road crossing. At that point I said screw it and rode falls road back to the damn where I parked. I don't know about the rest of the trail maybe I'll try it from other end one day.

hiking
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Only done the part from masemore road into the base of the dam, but it was a worthwhile, light hike, a little wet in places in early spring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Great hike but on the map it has you crossing the river at bunkerhill road, but there is no bridge there anymore. Looks like the bridge has been gone for awhile now. I had to keep hiking next to the river and find a tree to cross, wasn't a big deal because I had the time but be careful if that is the path you take.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Absolutely Beautiful!

hiking
Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Attn: there's no bridge left to traverse the river and use the south loop, so you'll have to do out and back.

hiking
Sunday, September 27, 2015

At 1 of the road crossings/entry points, if you go across the street to continue your trail and get stuck at a stream with no more trail to cross, go back a short bit to the road and instead, head into the parking lot and on the left hand side, the trail continues. Take it to the right and then down the steps to continue the loop.

hiking
Sunday, September 20, 2015

Thanks S. Adamson for your helpful review. This was a lot of fun! I'm glad I wore pants to cover my legs. We'll definitely do this trail again.

hiking
Monday, August 31, 2015

The Mingo Forks - Bunker Hill loop is one of my favorite hikes in the immediate area. There is a great deal of diversity in the hike, including dense pine forests, the Masemore Hemlock Ravines, several stream crossings, an archery range, undulating terrain, and the Gunpowder River. The hike really feels like you are off in the wilderness. The hike described in this posting is a 4 mile loop. The hike can be extended to 7-9 miles by turning left at the intersection of the Mingo Forks and Gunpowder South trail and heading towards Masemore Road along the River. Cross Masemore, arriving at Falls Rd. Take a left on Falls Rd and continue up the hill for 0.5 mile or so until arriving at the Highland Trail on your left. Follow the Highland Trails back to the river, and once there follow the Gunpowder South Trail until arriving at the Bunker Hill Trail.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

NOT meant for bikes or horses. there used to be signs informing visitors of this fact.

"No motorized vehicles, no horses, no mountain bikes"

NOT maintained for the above activities, AND please do not take matters into your own hands, clearing logs and blow-downs or cutting grass is prohibited.

hiking
Monday, August 25, 2014

Hiked here about three weeks ago. Recommend the trails off of the left parking lot . The trail below the right parking lot is narrow in places along the bank and portions of the trail are washed out. Vegetation is dense at your lower legs so watch for poison ivy, oak and check for ticks. Recommend taking the other, higher trail which is on your right, before the bank trail. More of an incline but no washed out banks to deal with and less vegetation on your legs.

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