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Holiday Weekend Afternoon: Soldiers Natural Environ. Area: Easy Side of Mod 6 mi

  • Dec 28, 2013 · 1:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Soldiers Natural Environmental Area:

An 6 Mile Easy Side of Moderate Afternoon Hike

Take a quick trip to a look-alike Midwest prairie, where the serpentine landscape provides a rare environment.  Many people mistakenly assume that the Soldiers Delight Serpentine Trail is named for its shape. In fact, the name refers to the type of soil in the area. Serpentine, or serpentinite, is a mineral that produces extremely nutrient-poor soil that supports few plants and grasses. Exceptions include the rare examples of serpentine grasslands that grow in Soldiers Delight. Many of these grasses are not only rare in Maryland, but across our entire planet.

This Natural Environment Area is comprised of 1,900 acres of serpentine barren. The area has over 39 rare, threatened, or endangered plant species as well as rare insects, rocks and minerals. Rare grassland plant species are threatened by invasion of Virginia Pines. Currently, a five year effort of removing 1,000 acres of pines and prescribed burning are underway to return the area to natural serpentine habitat.

There are seven miles of marked hiking trails. Equestrians and cyclists are prohibited due to the sensitive nature of the area. The visitor center is a must see so be sure to visit after your hike. It has meeting rooms, a reference library and exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the area.

Special Gear Note:Wear sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes as serpentine rock is very sharp.

Hike Pace
There is one leader for this hike and todays trek will be led at a moderate pace of about 2.5 mph (most common pace and that of the average hiker). If this is not a comfortable pace for you then please select another hike.

Trail Information

Nearby City:Owings Mills

Length: About 6 miles
Scenery: Rare prairie, Chimney Branch, and abandoned mines

Exposure: Half and half
Trail Surface: Packed dirt, serpentine rock
Configuration: 2 jagged intersecting loops Loop
Elev. Gain: 650 feet
Skill Level: Easy side of Moderate
Duration: Abtou 2.5 hours and depends on which group you hike with as the paces will vary.
Season: Year-round
Facilities: Restrooms, water, vending machines in the visitor center.

Visitor Center: The visitor center is open Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. info 410.922.3044. This is a center worth seeing so plan to check it out after your hike if you have the time!

Weather Information
We hike rain or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for the trailhead

Carpool Information

If you can drive or want to carpool from any locations such as the DC area, 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 Start time is at 1:00 p.m.

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 the hike leaders number with you just in case!

Dave: [masked]

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  • Lucie

    a muddy, but nice easy hike

    December 29, 2013

  • rachel

    if anyone is driving from dc, please let me know!

    December 22, 2013

    • Robin T.

      Not in DC, but am near Capitol Heights Metro on blue line in MD.

      December 27, 2013

    • rachel

      thanks for the offer but think i'll pass

      December 27, 2013

  • Terrie

    I would like to bring three guests, it's only allowing me to pay for two. May I just bring the additional two dollars and guest with me?
    Thank you

    December 26, 2013

    • Dave S

      I just updated the event to allow for 3 guests. You should now be able to update your RSVP to include the additional guest.

      December 26, 2013

19 went

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