Sweet Air Area: Take Mountain Road (152 north) to Route 165. Turn left heading south on 165 (Baldwin Mill Road). Turn right onto Greene Road, right onto Moores Road, and left onto Dalton Bevard Road. Parking is at the end of Dalton-Bevard Road within the park. Numerous trails leave from this parking area, making return loops.
Lost Pond Trail: Parking area and trailhead are where Route 1 (Bel Air Road) crosses the Big Gunpowder Falls, about 5.4 miles north of I-695 (the Beltway). Follow the blue blazed trail heading southeast from the parking lot.
18,000 acre Gunpowder Falls State Park, the largest State Park in Maryland, was established to protect the stream valleys of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and Gunpowder River. This long, narrow park is divided into several distinct areas. These areas, spread out along the River are separated by several miles and offer an incredible variety of terrain, scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. Habitats range from tidal marshes and wetlands near the Chesapeake Bay to the steep, rugged slopes found in the northern section of the park towards the Maryland-Pennsylvania line. There are around 100 miles of trails for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding, including the 21 mile multi-use Northern Central Rail Trail.
Hereford Area: This 3,620 acre northern-most section features a gorge-like wilderness setting. There are over 20 miles of trails for rugged hiking and horseback riding. Mountain bikes are prohibited on all trails in this area. The Big Gunpowder Falls attracts canoeing, kayaking and tubing enthusiasts (see our Bikes & Beaches feature). The hardwood forest here supports a variety of plant and animal life, including some rare species. Animals making this area home are opossums, raccoons, woodchuck, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, beaver, whitetail deer, woodpeckers, kingfishers, red-shouldered hawks and blue herons.
Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail: This multi-use recreational trail was officially renamed the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail. A section of the rail trail travels through Gunpowder Falls State Park on its way north into Pennsylvania. See brief description below.
Central Area: This section follows the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls through undeveloped areas. It includes the 1,250 acre Sweet Air Area, popular with mountain bikers and equestrians. The Sweathouse Branch Wildlands Area (bikes prohibited), features hardwood forest along the banks of the Big Gunpowder with opportunities for bird and wildlife viewing. Jerusalem Village, located on the banks of Little Gunpowder Falls is a quaint historic village with a mill, museum, park headquarters, covered bridge and other restored structures.
Hammerman and Dundee Creek: Hammerman offers 1,500 feet of beach and a swimming area on the banks of the Gunpowder River. There is also a windsurfing beach with windsurfers, kayaks and catamaran rentals available. The Dundee Creek Marina, at the mouth of the Gunpowder River, offers services to the boating public.
Sweet Air Area: The Little Gunpowder Falls flows through the area, following the border between Harford and Baltimore Counties before reaching the Chesapeake Bay. The Sweet Air Area is popular with equestrians and mountain bikers and offers 18 miles of great intermediate level trails which include 4 major loop trails with some shorter loop ride options available. They are the Pine Loop Trail (1.5 miles), Boundary Trail (4.9 miles), Barley Pond Trail (1.3 miles) and Little Gunpowder Trail (3.8 miles). These are well-marked and maintained, moderately hilly and sometimes rocky. The mix of single and doubletrack trails are also suitable for families with experienced older children. The trails take you through open fields, woodlands, pine plantations, over riverbank slopes and to old farm ponds. The trails tend to get steeper when approaching the Little Gunpowder Falls.
Lost Pond Trail: This is a 3.1 mile dirt surface, singletrack trail that traverses a variety of terrain in the Central Area of Gunpowder Falls State Park. The blue-blazed trail starts out level, following the floodplain, and then climbs some hills to reach the Lost Pond before looping back to the trailhead. Stream crossings and traversing stone steps will be required. Skill level is intermediate and is suitable for families with experienced older children. The trail takes you through beech hardwood forest, through the Piedmont river valley gorge along the Big Gunpowder Falls and crosses Broad Run, a large, scenic tributary. Look for the rapids area called "pot rocks" where pot holes were created in the bedrock from water action. You will also pass an old mill site and Long Calm, where Lafayette and his troops camped during the American Revolution.
Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail: This 21 mile former railbed is now a multi-use rail trail for hikers, horseback riders and bikers. This scenic trail also offers many points of historic interest and the Sparks Bank Nature Center (weekends).
For more details see Northern Central Rail Trail
Jerusalem Mill Village
Jericho Covered Bridge
The Villages of Corbett and Monkton
For more information:
Gunpowder Falls State Park
Phone: (410) 592-2897