Seneca Creek Park: Clopper Lake Area Trails! An Easy-Side-of-Moderate 6 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 time. Also, we stop at the top of hills for our rest stops. Nobody gets left behind!
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Gaithersburg
Scenery: Woodlands, Stream Valley, and Lake Views
Length: 6.1 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 overall length and rolling hills
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 the visitor center, off-trail at picnic areas.
Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee based on where we park.
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the park.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. 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
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 8:40 a.m.
Carpool Time from Vienna Metro Stop — 9:15 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. Tax ID: [masked].
A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Serving our Mission.
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: Refund if you update your RSVP BEFORE 48 hours of this event. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG mission or click 'Pages' tab above. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization & donations (not fees) ARE Tax Deductible-Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.