New Year Newbie Friendly and Easy Day Hike in Howard County
A Something-For-Everyone Hike with Distance Options Ranging From 2 Up to 8 Total Miles
Centennial Lake and Columbia Paved Trails
Active Seniors Welcome
Lunch on the Trail and Post-Hike Libations
Look for great blue herons, white cattle egrets and little green herons stalking minnows among the reeds around Centennial Lake. Swallows, turkey vultures and hawks soar overhead, and kingfishers dive into the lake for fish. In summer, turtles sun themselves on logs and rocks. Cottontail rabbits nibble on grass at dawn and dusk. Red fox have been known to visit. A beaver family is building a lodge in the Wildlife Area that is blocked by a buoy line to provide safe spawning for fish and nesting sites for birds. In warm months, look for colorful monarch and swallowtail butterflies and dragonflies among the wildflowers.
Howard County has over 90 miles of paved footpaths with no significant hills or stream crossings, making this an easy sneaker-friendly hike. The footpaths generally follow unbuildable areas to make the most of the local geography and are a boon to walkers, hikers and bikers. Most of our walking will be on the paved footpaths with some walking on sidewalks. Click here for a map of the footpaths.
We’ll start in Ellicott City, go to Centennial Lake where we’ll have lunch and then take the meandering footpaths back to the starting point.
Nearby City: Ellicott City/Columbia, MD
Length: two to eight miles - go as far as you want!
Cumulative Ascent: about 250 feet
Trail Type: Irregular figure 8 loop
Skill Level: Very Easy and Newbie Friendly Social Hike
Duration: 1 to 4 hours, depending on far you go
Trailhead Elev: 262 feet
Top Elev: 371 feet
Lowest Elev: 190 feet
We walk rain or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for this walk.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.
Click here for directions and information about Vienna Metro if you would prefer to carpool from there. It is highly recommended that if carpooling from a Metro that everyone chip in towards a Zip Car (information about Zip Cars is included on the link with directions to the Metro stop). I am not responsible for people using the Metro not having a ride to the trailhead so please make sure you have made arrangements for a way to get there once you arrive to a carpool location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Meet and Greet time is 9:15 a.m.
Step Off Time is 9:30 a.m. Come on time so you don’t miss us!
Carpool time from Vienna Metro stop is 8:15 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Centerville is 8:00 a.m.
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Where We Meet for this Hike
Well-mannered, LEASHED FIDO is Welcome on this Hike!
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 please 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.
MAGH hikers are invariably interesting and interested. You’ll enjoy meeting your fellow hikers—it’s a promise.
Get the Conversation Started!