Hiking and nature walks are a great way to experience the natural beauty of a city like Baltimore. The city has over 30 different hiking trails within its borders and in the immediate area. The majority of the trails are easy to moderate in their level of difficulty and make excellent choices for travelers not looking to pack serious hiking gear.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but here are some of the shorter trails located in the heart of the city:
- Patterson Park – 2 miles
- Cylburn Arboretum – 2.2 miles
- Druid Hill Park Lake Loop Trail – 1.5 miles
- Fort McHenry Trail – 1 mile
- Herring Run Park – Lake Montebello – 3.7 miles
If you’re in the mood for a longer hike, the following trails will keep you occupied for several hours and provide you with a day’s worth of exploration in Baltimore’s inner-city wilderness:
- Gwynn Falls Park - 5.1 miles
- Baltimore Waterfront Promenade – 4.7 miles
- Wyman Park – Stoney Run Trail – 5.3 miles
- Jones Falls Trail – 6.4 miles
If you’re willing to venture into the surrounding counties by car, the area’s hiking world opens up to you even further. Outside of Baltimore there are a number of other hiking trails that are easily accessible and within a 30-minute drive from the downtown area:
- Gunpowder Falls State Park (Wildlands Loop) – 5.2 miles
- Double Rock Park – Parkville, MD – 2.25 miles
- Oregon Ridge Park Trail – Cockeysville, MD – trails here vary in distance from .18 miles to 1.6 miles.
- BWI Trail – 11.6 miles
- Baltimore & Annapolis Trail – Glen Burnie, MD 25.4 miles (This trail runs through several cities outside of Baltimore, including Glen Burnie, BWI airport, Severna Park and Annapolis, MD.)
- Patuxent Branch Trail – Jessup, MD – 10.4 miles
- Lake Kittamaqundi – Columbia, MD – 1.46 miles
- Patapsco Valley State Park (Hilton Area) – Ellicott City, MD – 4.1 miles
- Gunpowder Falls State Park, Lost Pond Trail – Perry Hall, MD
If you’re looking to channel your inner Warren Doyle or Earl Shaffer, you can even pick up parts of the Appalachian Trail while you’re visiting Baltimore. The closest trailhead to the city requires taking I-70 West to Frederick, MD, about an hour from Baltimore. This part of the Appalachian trail is more moderate compared to other areas in the North East. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy rates its difficulty level between 2 and 3, and characterizes the Maryland portion of the trail as a good precursor for more rugged terrain.
Baltimore and its surrounding areas offer varied terrain, suitable for both novice and expert hikers. Thus, hiking in Baltimore can be a short affair or a full day’s worth of outdoor physical activity.