Lower Magruder Trail and Magruder Branch Trail

On September 7th Tod and I ventured over to Damascus Regional Park to hike the Lower Magruder Trail and the Magruder Branch Trail. The trailhead is at is a very populated area, near picnic areas, tennis courts and other outdoor activities. In fact, on the day we went there, a 5K race was just finishing up in the park. It was kind of funny to see a water station at the beginning of the trail!

The Magruder Trail.

The Magruder Trail.

The first part of the trail is asphalt. This is great for folks using wheel chairs. Before long, a path winds up a hill and the blue-blazed dirt trail feels more like one is in the middle of the woods, not a metropolitan area.

I loved the serene nature of the trail. ┬áThis seems like a really great trail for those who want an easy hike, with few hills, few rocks, etc. That isn’t to say that there isn’t some ascents. It is just that it offers a great way to ease into hiking if one is a beginner.

Before long, one crosses Log House Road. By going left, we ┬ábegan hiking the Lower Magruder Trail. The trail follows a creek. This is an out and back trail, so we had the option to turn around any time. We decided to cross Wildcat Road to continue with the trial. This required walking along the road a bit to pick it up on the other side. After going for about another mile we decided that the scenery and mud wasn’t worth it. We turned back.

I guess there are a few advantages to out and back hikes. It was kind of interesting to see the trail from a different perspective. Still, I think my favorite hikes are loops. This was fun and is a great option for those living in Montgomery County. My appreciation for the parks available to us continues to grow!

Little Bennett Regional Park

Yes, we're the hikers!

Yes, we’re the hikers!

The Washington, DC area has a wealth of great hiking trails. Tod and I are learning just how lucky we are to have so many options close to home. Today we went to Little Bennett Regional Park, in Clarksburg, Maryland. This was our first visit, even though the park is about 15-20 minutes away from home.

The park has trails that snake around one another and intersect in some areas. Tod and I decided to start out from the Browning Run Parking Area and go west along the Browning Run Trail. As we went from a wild flower area into the forest we were met by a chorus of singing birds, all vying for our attention (or maybe the attention of their fellow birds!) The woods were beautiful. The trails are very smooth and easy to navigate, except for areas of mud. (These trails are probably not the best place to hike after a few days of rain.)

Except for a couple of bikers, a pair of horses, and a group of hikers, we had the trails to ourselves. We saw very few animals, with the exception of a very tiny (one inch) frog and a few tadpoles. My favorite part, as always, was crossing a creek.

Our hike included Browning Run Trail, northwest along Western Piedmont Trail, north along Pine Grove Trail, east along Timber Ridge Trail, continuing along Tobacco Barn Trail, then to Western Piedmont trail again (going southeast) to Kingsley Trail, to Purdum Trail and back to Browning Run Trail. As you can see, this is not the place to go for an easy circuit. While some of the trail intersections were very well marked, some places were not. We came to several forks in the trail and had to take an educated guess about what to do next. (Tip: download a map of the park and take it with you!)

Hmm....which way to go?

Hmm….which way to go?

The trails range from narrow, with thick vegetation, to meadows full of flowers (and bees), to park roads. There is a bit of everything here!

Although a little complicated to navigate, we really liked this park and will definitely be back again. Its a great place for folks who want to tailor their hike to a length that best meets their needs.IMG_2538