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Cabin Branch - Hard Rock Loop

Intermediate
 4.2 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Secluded figure-eight hike with opportunities to spot wildlife, gradual grades and nicely maintained natural surfaces.


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Map Key

4.6

Miles

7.4

KM

Loop

547' 167 m

High

393' 120 m

Low

365' 111 m

Up

369' 112 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Lake · Wildlife

Family Friendly Relatively flat with options to shorten by only doing the Cabin Branch Trail loop or other similar variations.

Utility easements are not to be used as trails except for near Cabin Branch Trail.

Overview

Enjoy this lightly-trafficked figure-eight hike that accesses the northeast corner of Black Hill above Little Seneca Lake. The woods and margins around the lake are frequently used by birds and other wildlife. Though not very strenuous, these trails are a great way to stretch the legs and get some fresh air with easy access off 270.

Need to Know

Unless marked, trails are open to hikers, bikes, and equestrians. Beware of car traffic at road crossings or connectors.

Description

From the main park entrance on Lake Ridge Dr., continue south toward the lake and turn right onto Black Hill Rd. Look for the equestrian parking lot on the right (north) and the main lot with the boat ramp to the left (south).

From the main lot, find the Cabin Branch Trail heading north through a field before it ducks into the woods. The trail is flat through this first section, providing an easy warmup. After just over a mile, the trail will bend around to the south (ignore the Hamilton Trail spur heading left and north). Continue on the Cabin Branch Trail as it heads left (east) to begin the gradual ascent across Lake Ridge Dr. toward the Hard Rock Trail.

Cross Lake Ridge Rd. and continue the uphill on the Hard Rock Trail, which is a hidden gem at Black Hill, as it winds through the woods toward the Maintenance Yard. On the north side of the yard, turn left onto the Field Crest Spur Trail to begin the return trip. Just over three miles from the start, look for the Hard Rock-Field Crest Spur connector to the left (southeast) to rejoin the Hard Rock Trail. This section should look familiar as you retrace your steps back to the Lake Ridge Dr. crossing onto the Cabin Branch Trail.

With less than a mile left, look for the Hamilton Trail heading left (south) as way to explore a new section of trail before following Black Hill Rd. across the dam bridge to the main parking area and starting point.

Flora & Fauna

Beautiful meadow near the boat ramp that can attract lots of pollinators in the warmer months. Deer, turtles, foxes, songbirds, waterfowl, fish, etc.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 6 votes

#2990

Overall
  4.2 from 6 votes
5 Star
17%
4 Star
83%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#24

in Maryland

#2,990

Overall
30 Views Last Month
1,905 Since Nov 6, 2019
Intermediate

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Photos

Leave nothing but footprints
Sep 25, 2020 near Clarksburg, MD
Unusual Goose in Little Seneca Lake
Nov 6, 2019 near Germantown, MD
Osprey in Black Hill Park
Nov 6, 2019 near Germantown, MD
Osprey Above Little Seneca Lake 2
Nov 6, 2019 near Germantown, MD

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 64 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Nov 20, 2021
William Smiley
flat, but uneven surface with many rocks and tree roots
Apr 25, 2021
Jenny O
Apr 24, 2021
David Berman
4.6mi — 1h 45m
Nov 8, 2020
Cody K
4.6mi
Nov 7, 2020
Brooke Carroll
May 9, 2020
Erica Hayton
Beautiful hike, nice and secluded through the woods. Just make sure you pay attention to the signs in order to stay on the right path. 4.6mi — 2h 00m