Seneca Creek State Park: An Easy-Mod Hike of 4 Miles with Optional Post Hike Meal!
This hike is 15 miles from D.C. and about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore
The park, comprised of 6,300 acres, extends along 14 scenic miles of Seneca Creek, as it winds its way to the Potomac River. The Clopper Day-Use Area contains many scenic areas, including the 90-acre Clopper Lake, surrounded by forests and fields. What now keeps Gaithersburg and Germantown apart is the northern portion of Seneca Creek State Park. Starting in the 1950s, the state government slowly acquired 6,609 acres of old fields and woodlands along Seneca Creek. Opened in 1980, the ribbony, creek-valley park winds across the county for roughly 16 miles from north of Gaithersburg to the Potomac River at Seneca. Only the park’s northern section has been developed. Its centerpiece is woodland-enveloped, 90-acre Clopper Lake.
This hike is a 6.1-mile, modestly hilly water-side excursion with about only 550 feet of elevation change. It passes through oak and hickory woods that also harbor dogwoods, redbuds, pines, and mountain laurels. It offers excellent lake and creek views, plus a multi-hued array of wildflowers and birds.
This is a great hike for those wanting to transition from easy to moderate hiking since the main difference is distance. The hills are, for the most part, are very short but a few are a little steep but even those are short. All the hills are in spurts followed by nice long flat segments for plenty of recovery. Also, we stop at the top of hills for our rest stops. Nobody gets left behind!
A moderate pace of about[masked]mph (little faster than that of an average hiker).
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gaithersburg
Scenery: Woodlands, Stream Valley, and Lake Views
Length: 4 total miles
Trail Surface: Mostly hard-packed dirt: very rooty only all around the lake
Elevation Gain: 550 feet
Trail Type: Modified Loop
Skill Level: Easy Side of Moderate Due to length and Hills
Duration: About 3 hours
Exposure: Mostly shady but less so in winter
Local Maps: USGS Germantown, Gaithersburg, Seneca
Topo Map: Seneca Creek State Park: Clopper Lake Section Topographic Map
Facilities: Toilets at visitor center, off-trail at picnic areas (let me know if you need to use the restroom because they are located at picnic areas which are off of spurs a couple of hundred feet off of the trail, but are in several areas. If you don't speak up there is no reason for us to take the spur!
None! Since where we park for this hike is before the toll booth for the park, there is no park entry fee.
We hike rain or shine. Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
Annapolis Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Annapolis area, meetup at the Harbour Center Mall Starbucks. Click here for Annapolis carpool directions for getting to the carpool location. Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike
Hike Meetup Time is at 6:45 p.m.
Annapolis carpool time is 5:15 p.m.
Savage carpool meetup time is 4:45 p.m.
Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes .
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Please take my number with you just and case...