Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lake Roland Park Bare Hills

(Formerly Robert E. Lee Park)
Baltimore County,

Hiking Trails:
Red Trail: Red blaze
Red Trail alternate route: Red blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze
Green Trail: Green blaze
White Trail: White blaze
Orange Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 2:00 Hour
Estimated Distance: 4.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for the Baltimore area

Points of Interest: Interesting geology
Cons: Busy area, lacks good views

Hiking Partners:
David Cynamon
Jacob Rosinsky

I had been visiting family in Baltimore for the weekend, and while there on Sunday morning decided to explore this area right outside the Baltimore city limits along the Jones Falls area. I went together with some local friends of mine in the area, and we decided to explore this area with lots of trails that traverses the serpentine barrens known as the "Bare Hills".

This area is a geologically interesting location, with part of the area overlaid by serpentine bedrock, which creates a micro-environment of short pine trees and sparser vegetation than the surrounding area. The region is named "Bare Hills" because of this. There are lots of trails here, but there aren't really any good views. The area is mostly rolling hills without any significant elevation, hence the lack of viewpoints. We went on Sunday morning which also proved to be quite busy with people.

We parked on Falls Road, at the northern access point of the park. We hiked along the Red Trail south and then west. This wide trail seems to have been a former railroad track converted to a trail. Slightly after the Jones Falls bridge crossing, we took the Red Trail alternate to the Yellow Trail, and then the Green Trail to the Yellow Trail. This is where the main serpentine area is encountered. We took the spur to Copper Hill Road, which we then took to the White Trail for a short distance, and then back to the Yellow Trail. We then cut across on on the path the Orange Trail.

On this short spur trail, we noticed a very large rock outcrop with cliffs below us, and I realized this as the remains of an old quarry. Upon going down I noticed the large area of the quarry and the interesting rock. This area had apparently been mined for serpentine as an ornamental stone back in the 1800's. After exploring a bit, we tried taking a spur across the brook back to the Red Trail, which was showing on my phone GPS, but this crossing of the brook was nowhere to be found, so we just went along the Orange Trail, back to the Red Trail, and then back to our car.

I unfortunately did not bring my camera with me, so these photos were taken with my cell phone and David's point-and-shoot camera. So I apologize for the photo quality.

Map of the Route

Large Quartz Vein within the Surrounding Rock

Me and Jacob Along a Rock Outcrop on the Red Trail

Me and David Over the Jones Falls Bridge on the Red Trail

Jones Falls

Me Crossing a Muddy Zone on Rock Platforms

Abstract Art Along the Tail

Caption for the Above Art

Dense Vegetation at the Inlet of Lake Roland

Entering the Serpentine Barrens Zone

Sparse Tree Covering Over the Serpentine Barrens

Mourning Dove in the Serpentine Barrens

Small Mining Pit Along the Yellow Trail

Interesting Grass that seems to be Specific to the Serpentine Zone

Looking Down the Cliff  Towards the Quarry Floor from the Connector Trail

Looking up at the Quarry Wall from the Quarry Floor

Inspecting Some of the Rocks in the Quarry

Me and Jacob in the Quarry Zone

Me at the Quarry Area

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