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Paper Mill Road Trails at NCR

  4.0 ( 1 ) Favorite


4.1 mile 6.5 kilometer loop


Ascent: 277' 85 m
Descent: -277' -84 m
High: 429' 131 m
Low: 251' 76 m


Avg Grade: 3% (1°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)


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A not-so hidden gem right off the NCR and convenient to two parking lots! Very rarely used with lots of great terrain.

Jay C

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife

This is a managed deer hunting area seasonally; be aware of hunting seasons and wear bright colored clothing during that time.
In late summer the connector to the fire road is very overgrown. Better to hike directly to the gate on Paper Mill Road


This hike provides quick access to terrific terrain from two different parking lots serving the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (NCR). It features lots of different terrain types including singletrack, fire roads, rock scrambles, steep inclines, creek crossings (depending on season), and terrific views of the Gun Powder River feeding into the Loch Raven Reservoir. Some trails are better in the fall and winter as briars grow over the trails in some parts.

Need to Know

This is a managed deer hunting area seasonally; be aware of hunting seasons and wear bright colored clothing during that time. This is not a blazed trail but is well worn in and easily identifiable during all seasons of the year.


Park at the Paper Mill Road lot or Ashland Road lot serving the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (NCR). If coming from the Paper Mill Road lot, go south on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (NCR) and across Paper Mill Road towards Ashland. You'll hike about 0.2 of a mile and see several trail entrances to your left. Each entrance connects to these trails and part of the fun is exploring which ones you like best to connect to the fire access roads. You may also choose to leave the Rail Trail at Paper Mill Road and run east to the Fire Trail entrance which is gated but accessible for pedestrians.

If you follow the trails that hug the river, you'll encounter some creek crossings and mud pits depending on how wet the season has been. The fire roads are rutted fairly substantially and have large trees in multiple locations that have fallen over the trail. These are great obstacles and present some fun to the hike. There is a rock scramble that exists at the highest elevation of the terrain in the area. It runs across the ridge where you can enjoy great views and challenging terrain.

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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


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Jun 30, 2019
Sha Whit
Mar 29, 2019
Sha Whit

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote


  4.0 from 1 vote
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in Maryland


107 Views Last Month
799 Since Dec 1, 2018



Sunrise while ascending the fire trail!
Dec 1, 2018 near Hunt Va…, MD
NCR Trail looking north back to Paper Mill Road from trail entrance.
Dec 1, 2018 near Hunt Va…, MD
Last hold-outs of fall color. Great trail for fall and winter training.
Dec 1, 2018 near Hunt Va…, MD
Entrance trail looking from the NCR Trail.
Dec 1, 2018 near Hunt Va…, MD


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