Hike With Your Dog

the site where you won't be able to wipe the wag off your dog's tail

The 50 Best Places To Hike With Your Dog In The Baltimore Region

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ISBN: 0964442779; paperback, 6x9, 160 pages

Places where you won't be able to wipe the wag off your dog's tail...

In and around Charm City can indeed be a magical place for canine hikers. Whether it's a game of fetch on the grassy lawn of historic Fort McHenry or a wilderness hike through the Hemlock Gorge in Baltimore County, there are great walks waiting for you and your dog in the five-county Baltimore area.

A BARK IN THE PARK: THE 50 BEST PLACES TO HIKE WITH YOUR DOG IN THE BALTIMORE REGION ranks the top 50 such places with your best friend in mind. Also reviewed are another 37 parks all located within a half-hour drive of the I-695 Beltway.

13 Cool Things To See On Baltimore Trails
With Your Dog

"If your dog is fat, the old saying goes, you aren't getting
enough exercise." But walking the dog need not be just about a
little exercise. Here are 13 cool things you can see in greater
Baltimore while out walking the dog.

AIRPLANES. The BWI Airport is the only airport in
America that features a recreational trail. The Thomas A. Dixon
Jr. Aircraft Observation Area on this 12.5-mile paved trail,
opened in 1994, provides an ideal spot to watch the planes
land directly in front of you. You won't be able to see the rubber
hit the ground here but can see it from other spots along the
trail. To get the feel of a big jet soaring directly over your
head walk down a half-mile to the east (you'll see stop signs)
and stand here. It won't be only jets using the airport either -
you can spot an occasional propeller plane as well.

AMUSEMENT PARK RUINS. Although only 20 acres in
size, the Bay Shore Park was considered one of the finest
amusement parks ever built along the Chesapeake Bay. Built
in 1906, the park featured an Edwardian-style dance hall,
bowling alley and restaurant set among gardens and curving
pathways. There were rides such as a water toboggan and Sea
Swing. Visitors would come out from Baltimore on a trolley
line. Most of the park was torn down after its closure in 1947
but you and the dog can explore the remains of the turn-of-the23
century amusement park, including the wood-framed trolley
station and the restored ornamental fountain, in North Shore
State Park. Complete your tour with a hike down the old
Bayshore Pier which juts almost a quarter-mile into the windswept
Bay - a diving board once operated here where benches
are today.

BALD EAGLES. With nearly 13,000 acres of undeveloped
space, the Patuxent Research Refuge is said to be the largest
patch of green space remaining on the East Coast between
Boston and Raleigh. Research done here was used by Rachel
Carson to argue that the pesticide DDT was weakening the
shells of bird eggs, especially bald eagles, causing them not to
hatch. Her book, Silent Spring, led to the banning of DDT and
launched the modern environmental movement. Today more
than 250 species - 8 of every 10 birds that can be seen in the
Baltimore area - have been sighted at Patuxent, including a pair
of nesting bald eagles in the North Tract in Anne Arundel
County. These representatives of America's national symbol
quite possibly could be the bald eagles living closest to the
White House. Don't let your dog dig around at the North
Tract - this land was once a testing ground for Fort Meade and
may still harbor live ammunition.
If you aren't lucky enough to spot the eagles in flight at
the refuge, try hiking the Hashawha Trails at the Bear Branch
Nature Center in Carroll County. Here is the chance for your
curious dog to look a bald eagle in the eye. The Nature Center
maintains a M.A.S.H. unit for raptors who have been injured
too badly to be returned to the wild. The cages for eagles,
kestrels, hawks, owls, turkey vultures and other recovering
birds of prey are on the Vista Trail.

CANAL LOCK. Near North Park in Havre de Grace, the
444-mile Susquehanna River is busy emptying 19 million
gallons of fresh water every minute into the Chesapeake Bay
that it has drained from 13 million acres of land. The rocky
river upstream from here, however, is not navigable and the
45-mile Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal opened for barges,
pulled at 4 miles per hour by mules, to haul goods between
Havre de Grace and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. The first of
29 locks operated here and it has been restored to its original
appearance including a pivoting footbridge that swung open
to allow barge traffic to pass. The handsome brick Lock House,
now a museum open on weekends, dates to the canal's opening
in 1840. The large grassy lawn can be used for a first-rate game
of fetch.

CHOATE MINE. The first chromium mines in America
were opened in rural Baltimore County in 1808 and from 1828
to 1850 just about every scrap of chrome in the world came
from here. Along the Choate Mine Trail in Soldiers Delight
Natural Environmental Area you can stand in front of the
entrance to the Choate Mine and look into the slanting hole
kept open by half-timbered posts. So close the cool air will
rustle your dog's fur. The mine once ran 200 feet deep and 160
feet across.

DAMS. After a long hike at Robert E. Lee Park around
Lake Roland you can sit on top of the Greek Revival valve
house completed in 1862 and look over the stone dam. Lake
Roland, created after plugging up Jones Falls, was Baltimore's
first reservoir. This smallish dam is just an appetizer for the
dams yet to come that were built to quench BaltimoreÕs thirst.
Others to see include hiking to the base of Liberty Dam at the
end of Feezer's Lane in Patapsco State Park or using the Gunpowder
South Trail in the Hereford section of Gunpowder
Falls State Park to see the Prettyboy Dam, built in 1933.
No tour of Baltimore's dams would be complete without a visit
to Conowingo Dam, America's longest concrete slab dam
across the Susquehanna River. You can take the dog to gaze out
at the Conowingo Dam in Susquehanna State Park.

FORTS. At Fort Howard Park your dog can climb into
an actual gun battery and scan the Patapsco River just like
gunnery officers who once aimed guns capable of accurately
firing 1,000 pound projectiles eight miles. Ruins abound at the
former "Bulldog at Baltimore's Gate," including remainders left
over from the 1960s when a mock Vietnamese village was
created for training at Fort Howard. Batteries and magazines
that once formed the coastal defense of Baltimore in 1899 can
also be seen at Fort Armistead Park and Fort Smallwood Park.
As for Baltimore's most famous fort, dogs are also welcome at
Fort McHenry National Monument. Unlike the others, your
best friend won't be able to explore the actual fort but there is
plenty of fresh grass to romp on outside the bastion walls.

HENRYTON TUNNEL. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad
built its first line west along the Patapsco River and the trails
at Henryton Road in Patapsco State Park follow a particularly
historic stretch of the Old Main Line. On a rainy night in 1830
Irish laborers, tired of waiting for back pay, rioted and
managed to destroy all this track for five miles to Sykesville.
The disturbance prompted the first ever American troop
transport by train when the Baltimore militia rode out to squelch
the rampage. When the trail crosses this section of railroad
track look to the west and see the Henryton Tunnel. Opened in
1850, it is the second-oldest tunnel in the world that remains
in active railroad use.

MODEL TRAINS. Thomas Winans made his fortune
building the Russian transcontinental railroad for Czar Nicholas
I. He learned railroading from his father Ross who invented
the swivel wheel truck that enabled trains to negotiate curves.
Their railroad heritage is preserved at Leakin Park in Baltimore
by the Chesapeake & Allegheny Live Steamers who maintain
three miles of track for miniature steam trains that carry passengers
(sorry, no dogs) free of charge the second Sunday of every
month. Capable of speeds of 25 mph, the trains rumble along
instead at a passenger-friendly 6 mph.

MODERN ART. The natural beauty of Quiet Waters Park
in Annapolis is augmented by the outdoor sculptures that grace
the grounds. Sculptures are chosen by jury from national and
international artists working with a variety of material and
installed on a rotating basis. When your dog tires of sniffing
the statuary, you can take her to Anne Arundel County's first
dog park at the back of Quiet Waters. Not only are there two
large fenced-in enclosures for big and small dogs but there is
a dog beach on the South River for serious dog paddling.

POT ROCKS. From the parking lot on US 1 at the Big
Gunpowder Falls there is great canine hiking on both sides of
the river in either direction. On the opposite bank heading
downstream on the Big Gunpowder Trail, about a mile down,
are the Pot Rocks. You and the dog can walk out and examine
the conical depressions created in the bedrock by swirling
waters armed with millions of years worth of grinding cobbles.
These unique potholes can be a foot or more deep. Keep hiking
another two miles down the river and you reach the last series
of rapids on the Gunpowder as the water leaves the hilly Piedmont
region and slips into the flat Coastal Plain.

RARE TREES. Growing unobtrusivley beside the parking
lot at Tridelphia Recreation Area is one of the rarest native
ornamental trees in the world, the Franklinia Alatamaha. A relative
of the camelia, this flowering tree is prized at any time of
the year - in the winter for its striped bark, in the summer for
its palm-sized snow white flowers, and in the fall for its deep
red leaves. The Franklinia was discovered by Philadelphia
botanist John Bartram in 1765 in a remote corner of Georgia
along the Alatamaha River and named for his friend Benjamin
Franklin. It has not been found growing in the wild since 1790.
For a true arboreal education however, treat the dog to
Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, one of the few such tree
museums that permit dogs on the grounds. The collection at
Cylburn features several Maryland Big Tree Champions
including an Italian maple and a paperback maple. Two easy
champions to see are on the lawn in the right front of the
mansion: a castor aralia with large glossy leaves and an
Amur maackia. Both trees are native to Asia and are resilient
to pests. The maackia is a member of the pea family discovered
by 19th century explorer Karlovich Maack along the Amur
River between Siberia and China.

UNUSUAL BRIDGES. Hiking in Gunpowder Falls State
Park in Harford County, downstream from Jerusalem Mill
about 1/2 mile, is Jericho Covered Bridge, one of only six
remaining covered bridges in Maryland and the only one of
its kind in Baltimore and Harford counties. Old folk wisdom
held that these bridges were built to resemble a barn so as to
entice a wary horse across water but the bridges are covered
simply to protect the expensive wooden decks. The ford at
this point across the Little Gunpowder Falls dates to Colonial
times; the bridge was constructed in 1865. Builder Thomas F.
used three truss types in its construction: the simple Multiple
King Post; the horizontal Queen Post extension; and the Burr
Arch, patented in 1804 by Theodore Burr, for stability. Renovated
in 1981, the Jericho Covered Bridge still carries traffic.
In Howard County's Savage Park, on Foundry Road at the
trailhead for the Historic Mill Trail, is the last remaining
Bollman Truss bridge in the world. Your dog can trot across
the first successful iron bridge used by railroads, patented by
Wendell A. Bolman in 1852. This example, a National Historic
Civil Engineering Landmark, originally carried traffic on the
Baltimore & Ohio main line but was disassembled and put into
service here for Savage Mill in 1887.

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