This is a scenic and relatively easy forest hike along the shore of the branch of the Loch Raven Reservoir. You'll pass many awesome viewpoints where you can get great shots of the water and the forest. The trail runs within feet of the shore and when the water is low, you can step out on the rocks and the sand. There are lots of rocks and roots along the trail, so watch your footing. It is worth a visit any time of year.
Finding the start of the trail access is tricky. Keep an eye for a dirt path right at the corner after you cross Delany Valley Road from the parking on Seminary.
Park along the west side of Seminary Road. Cross over Dulaney Valley Road, and you'll see a simple trail on the left side of Seminary. Follow for less then 0.25 miles, and you can cross the stream to arrive at the trailhead.
You start out on the Glen Ellen Trail
, which is a doubletrack fire road. As you begin the climb up the steep hill, you'll find the hiking trail entrance on the left. There are a number of white "no bikes" signs identifying it as Woods Road. It is a well established and maintained white-blazed singletrack trail. While there is little change in elevation on the trail, there are a lot of tripping hazards, so be mindful and by all means, don't drag your feet. The surface of the trail is hard-packed dirt with plenty of roots and rocks with the occasional thick vine or low-hanging branch.
The trail begins in a residential neighborhood, but soon you are in the thick of the forest and can't see the houses or cars. After about a quarter mile, you'll come upon the start of the reservoir. It is narrow and shallow in this area with lots of rocks and sand. It will begin to grow wide and deep as you go. The trail runs tight to the shoreline. You'll pass through both intimate and expansive views of the water, forest, and shore. It is beautiful in every season, but each is different, so it is certainly worth keeping it in your rotation.
The full featured hike will take you a couple of hours and eventually will move you away from the water and up deeper into the forest. These wooded sections are also serene and inspiring in their own right. You'll use the Glen Ellen Trail
and the Glen Ellen Trail Alternate
a few times, which you'll identify easily as they are doubletrack fire roads.
At any time you can shorten the route by making it an out and back. If you do this, many of the blazes on the return trip are a mix of white, green, and blue, but it is all the same trail.