“Picturesque trail along the banks of the Loch Raven Reservoir.
— Cheryl Ladota
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Open sunrise to sunset. Stay off for a day or two after a heavy rain. The trail is fragile and muddy in some low areas.
Many tripping hazards, so stay alert.
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 it for less then a quarter mile 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 to climb the steep hill, you'll find the 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 route 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 road.
While you do not need to make this an out-and-back, if you do, many of the blazes on the return trip are a mix of white, green, and blue, but it is all the same trail.