One of the best kept secrets here just north of Towson is the public access to a "protected" area of Loch Raven Reservoir park on the weekend. On both Saturday and Sunday, park police close off Loch Raven Drive (some maps call it Loch Raven Rd.) between Morgan Mill Road and Providence Road. The road becomes a recreational area for walking, running, biking, and the like. In the warmer months, many people picnic or just relax on blankets and chairs along the water. The views of the water and the surrounding foliage are wonderful all year round.
This hike is actually a two part morning that those of us who have been there have concocted. It is an "out and back" hike, can't possibly get lost, bite off as much as you want to chew.
1)The "Basic" hike- This consists of a hike along Loch Raven Drive from the starting point shown below to just before the road makes its climb to Providence Road. This "out and back" covers approximately 2 and 1/2 miles in total and is flat. Total walking time, at a moderate pace is approximately 50 minutes. At the end of the "out" part, "Basic" hikers can choose to a)return back to the starting point (it is not possible to get lost) b) continue on with the "Hill" phase of the hike or c) take a rest break and wait for the "Hill" hikers to return back.
2) "Hill" hikers will then proceed to follow the road on its climb up to the Providence Road closure gate, roughly 1/2 mile away and therefore add 1 mile to make their hike a total of 3 and 1/2 miles. The "Hill" people should be able to return back to any resting "Basic" people in 20 to 25 minutes. Therefore, a "Hill" hiker or any resting "Basic" hiker can expect a total time of let's just call it an hour and a half to be safe.
This hike will begin at the road closure gate at the corner of Loch Raven Drive and Morgan Mill Road. Parking is allowed on the west side of Loch Raven Drive and there is a sort of parking lot on Morgan Mill. To get there (no park sign) you will probably enter the park from the north. To do so, you make a right hand turn from Dulaney Valley Rd onto Loch Raven Drive at the corner where Peerce's Plantation/Landing/Grille (the name depends on who owns it this week; it's had some turnover in recent years) is located. Peerce's address is 12460 Dulaney Valley Road 21131. If your GPS is telling you to go farther north on Dulaney Valley Rd past Peerce's, it's just plain wrong !!!
When travelling north on Dulaney Valley Rd. from the Beltway, the road splits just after crossing a large bridge over the lake. Dulaney Valley Rd. is the one that continues to the right toward the east. That's what you want. Don't go up the hill which is Jarrettsville Pike. You can also approach it from Morgan Mill Rd. but only "locals" should try that.
When you see this sign, you've found the right place. We'll meet right behind it, by where you see the guy/rock.
Loch Raver Drive is a normal, well paved road, so there is no need for "off road" footwear unless you choose to get adventurous and challenge the rather steep hills that surround the lake. That is certainly an option for those who are more experienced and confident. However, I am not aware of any sanctioned, prepared trails in that area of Loch Raven and can't recommend it. It would be free style.
I will not post cancellations because of the weather. I assume we're all capable of making that decision as each of us sees fit.
If you decide to respond "Yes" to this event and later change your mind for whatever reason, please,please go in and change your RSVP to a "No". That way, we know not to be waiting for you. Thanks.
So come join us on Sunday for a brisk walk in the park. It's a great way to clean out the cobwebs and start a Sunday.