The trails at Lake Roland are a popular haven for hikers, runners, dog walkers, and mountain bikers. Some trails are doubletrack rail trail, others are multi-use singletrack, and finally there are pedestrian-only running trails.
This tour allows you to spend time on all of these. There are sections that are easy, others that will get your heart pumping, and some that are downright challenging. You'll see a variety of wildlife, birds, and native plants and trees. You'll also have lots of opportunities for some great photos!
Many of these trails are from a time before the sustainable trail building movement. These trails can get very muddy, although many sections have established workarounds. Where there are rock piles and boulders, the trails can get slippery and icy.
There are many ways to access the running trails at Lake Roland. Using the Blue Trail
as the access point provides easy parking and a less-congested route. All of the trails are well blazed with easy-to-follow way-finding signs. The first half-mile makes for an easy warm-up. The single and doubletrack trail runs along Roland Run behind a residential neighborhood. There are a number of muddy areas with established workarounds.
As you near the end of the Blue Trail
, you'll come upon the doggy play area on a wide shore of Roland Run. Head up a short steep hill to reach the Red Trail
bridge. The Red Trail
is a wide rail trail. Cross the bridge and the entrance to the Orange Trail
will be on the right.
The Orange Trail
heads up into the forest. There will be wildlife, birds, and interesting flora to see during every season. The singletrack trail is hard packed dirt that is full of roots and rock piles, so be mindful of your footing. Sections of the trail can get wet and muddy. You'll also find ice in the winter.
The ascent will get your heart pumping, but it is not too challenging. When you reach the Purple Connector
, the surface of the trail changes dramatically. It is primarily made up of rock piles and boulders that require a bit of scrambling. It is not a long trail, but it can be challenging if the water is running high. The trail can get standing water on it which becomes ice in the winter. This makes for often slippery conditions.
The first third of the Yellow Trail
has similar characteristics. You’ll find rock piles, boulders, and slippery conditions. The trail will cross the White Trail
and then when the trail crosses the Green Trail
, the surface returns to hard packed dirt full of rocks and roots. You'll come to a junction of the Yellow Trail
, Red Trail
and Red Alternate Trail
. It is well blazed so head toward the yellow blaze in a large opening that is often a mud pit and has a trail stump walk-around.
The trail narrows to singletrack and runs along a sometimes steep drop-off. The views of Lake Roland are beautiful in every season, so be sure to stop and snap a few pictures. It definitely doesn’t feel like you are close to downtown Baltimore.
As the Yellow Trail
ends, turn left onto the Red Trail
. The trailhead for the Green Trail
will be on your right. Much like the Orange Trail
, the Green Trail
is hard-packed singletrack full of roots and rocks. It heads back up into the forest with a gradual ascent. Follow the trail until you meet up with the Red Trail
once again. Take it to the left and the trailhead for the Blue Trail
will be on your right after you cross the bridge. Take the Blue Trail
back to your starting point.
Native plants and trees found along all of the trails. You'll see chipmunks, squirrels, deer, cardinals, robins, jays, woodpeckers and so much more!