Outings and Driving Directions

The Howard County Group's outings are listed in the Group calendar on the our home page, and on the Maryland Chapter Calendar. For additional regional outings, see Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings.

The Howard County group does not charge any fee for leading outings, but some outings do require unspecified park entrance fees or rental fees for items such as canoes and kayaks.

Participants on Sierra Club outings must sign a liability waiver. The Club encourages outings participants to carpool to the trailhead, but such travel is at the participant's discretion and risk. Outings normally begin at the trailhead.

Driving Directions to Frequently Used Trailheads and Starting Points

Directions to trailheads:

  • I-195 @ MD 166 (Rolling Road) Park & Ride
  • Middle Patuxent Environmental Area
  • Patuxent Branch Trail, Guilford Rd.
  • Savage Park - Wincopin Trail, Patuxent Valley Middle School
  • Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract
  • Patapsco Valley State Park - Daniels Dam
  • Patapsco Valley State Park - Hilton Area
  • Patuxent River State Park, Howard Chapel Rd
  • Rockburn Branch Park
  • Oregon Ridge Lodge
  • Northwest Branch, Silver Spring, MD
  • Carderock, C&O Canal National Historical Park
  • Pennyfield Lock / Blockhouse Point
  • Catoctin Mountain Park

     

    Carpool meeting locations:

  • Broken Land Park & Ride
  • Rt. 32 at I-70 Park & Ride
  • Enchanted Forest Shopping Center
  • Long Gate Parkway Park & Ride
  • I-195 @ MD 166 (Rolling Road) Park & Ride

     


    I-195 @ MD 166 (Rolling Road) Park & Ride

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From I-95.
    Take exit 47, following the signs to MD 166 north.
    After one mile, the expressway ends at the park & ride and Rolling Road.

    From Ellicott City / Rt. 144.
    Take Rt. 144 (Frederick Road) east.
    Continue a half mile past Rolling Road north, then turn right onto Rolling Road / 166 south.
    Immediately bear left at the Y to continue on Rolling Road / 166.
    Continue another 2 miles, and watch for I-195 and the park & ride on your left.

    From Rt. 40.
    Rt. 40 intersects with Rolling Road about on mile west of I-695.
    Take Rolling Road south until it comes to a T at Rt. 144 (Frederick Road).
    Turn left onto 144, go half a mile, then turn right onto Rolling Road / 166 south.
    Immediately bear left at the Y to continue on Rolling Road / 166.
    Continue another 2 miles, and watch for I-195 and the park & ride on your left.


    Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (Columbia / Clarksville)

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From north of Columbia.
    From I-70, take exit 87, Rt. 29 south about 4 miles.
    From Rt. 29, take the exit for Rt. 108 west towards Clarksville.
    Go about 5 miles, and turn left onto Trotter Road.
    Go 0.8 or 0.9 miles and look for the parking area on your left.
    If you reach the roundabout, you went a little too far.

    From east or south of Columbia.
    Take Rt. 32 and get off at the Great Star Drive exit (about 3 miles west of Rt. 29).
    Turn right onto Great Star Drive going north.
    Immediately take the first right onto Summer Sunrise.
    Immediately take the first left onto Trotter Rd.
    Go about a mile; the parking lot is on the right soon after the roundabout.

    From Clarksville or farther west.
    Take Rt. 32 or Rt. 108 to where they meet in Clarksville.
    Take Rt. 108 north/east for 1.4 miles past Rt. 32.
    Turn right onto Trotter Road.
    Go 0.8 or 0.9 miles and look for the parking area on your left.
    If you reach the roundabout, you went a little too far.


    Patuxent Branch Trail, Guilford Rd. (Columbia)

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From Broken Land Parkway & Rt. 32 (see Broken Land directions to get to this point, except exit Rt. 32 onto Broken Land south).
    Take Broken Land south till it ends at Guilford Rd.
    Turn left onto Guilford Rd.
    Continue on Guilford for 0.7 miles, and look for the park sign on your right.


    Savage Park - Wincopin Trail, Patuxent Valley Middle School (Columbia / Savage)

    Check the outing description for the proper meeting location.
    Bing Map - Wincopin Trail
    Google Map - Wincopin Trail
    Bing Map - PV Middle School
    Google Map - PV Middle School

    From Broken Land Parkway & Rt. 32 (see Broken Land directions to get to this point, except exit Rt. 32 onto Broken Land south).
    Take Broken Land south till it ends at Guilford Rd.
    Turn left onto Guilford Rd.
    Go a short distance and turn right at the light onto Murray Hill Rd.
    Go about half a mile, then turn left onto Vollmerhausen Rd.
    After about a mile on Vollmerhausen, you'll cross the bridge over I-95.
    If meeting at the Wincopin Trail, look for the park sign on your right, a quarter mile past the I-95 bridge.
    If meeting at the Patuxent Valley Middle School, continue two thirds of a mile from the I-95 bridge. As you near the top of the hill, the school is on your right.

    From I-95 or eastern Rt. 32.
    From I-95 take exit 38, Rt. 32 east towards Ft. Meade.
    From Rt. 32 exit onto Rt. 1 north. (From westbound Rt. 32, there is a traffic light at the end of the ramp; get in the left hand lane so you can immediately scoot across three lanes to get in the left turn lane for the next turn.)
    On Rt. 1, turn left at the light by McDonalds, onto Guilford Rd.
    Go about half a mile on Guilford Rd, then turn left onto Vollmerhausen Rd.
    Take Vollmerhausen up the hill, and through the stop sign.
    If meeting at the Patuxent Valley Middle School, it is on your left, just after the stop sign.
    If meeting at the Wincopin Trail, continue another third of a mile, down the hill, over the bridge, and look for the park sign on your left while going up the hill.


    Gorman Area Park (just south of Columbia)

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From Rt. 29 or Rt. 32. From Rt. 29, go two miles south of Rt. 32 and exit at Johns Hopkins / Gorman Road. Go east towards Gorman Road, crossing over Rt. 29, continue through the roundabout, and then take the second left, onto Gorman Road. Bear slightly left onto Kindler Road, where Gorman Road Y's off to the right. Continue downhill and park where Kindler Road dead-ends.

    From I-95. From north of Rt. 32, take Rt. 32 west to Rt. 29, then follow directions above. From south of Rt. 216, exit onto 216 west, and take the first right onto Leishear Rd. Go up the hill to where the road comes to a T, and turn left onto Gorman Rd. Go half a mile, then turn right to stay on Gorman Rd., where straight ahead turns into Johns Hopkins Rd. At the stop sign, turn right onto Kindler Rd. Continue downhill and park where Kindler road dead-ends.


    Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract

    Google Map

    From Columbia. Take Rt. 32 east towards Fort Meade. Take exit 8 to Rt. 198 Laurel/Ft. Meade. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto Rt. 198 west. After 0.9 miles, turn left onto Bald Eagle Drive, immediately after the softball fields. Travel 1 mile to the Visitor Contact Station on the left.

    From Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Rt. 295). Exit Baltimore-Washington Parkway onto Rt. 198, and turn east towards Fort Meade. After 2 miles, turn right onto Bald Eagle Drive (at the ball fields) and travel 1 mile to the Visitor Contact Station on the left.


    Patapsco Valley State Park - Daniels Dam (north of Columbia / Ellicott City)

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From Columbia or I-70, take Rt. 29 north till it ends at Rt. 99, where you turn right.
    Go east on 99 for about 2/3 of a mile, then turn left (effectively, by exiting 3/4 of the way around the roundabout) onto Old Frederick Rd.
    Go another 2/3 of a mile, and turn left onto Daniels Rd., although the road sign is hidden so watch for the turn immediately past Holly Springs Ct.
    Go a mile on Daniels Rd., ignore the first small lot on the left, and park by the dam in the lot on either side of the road.


    Patapsco Valley State Park - Hilton Area (Catonsville)

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From I-95.
    Take exit 47, following the signs to MD 166 north.
    After one mile, the expressway ends at Rolling Road.
    Bear right onto Rolling Road, and continue 1.5 miles.
    Turn left onto Brook Rd (or if you miss the turn, any of the next few lefts will get you over to Hilton Ave).
    Turn left at the T onto Hilton Ave, and continue 1.1 miles.
    Look for the park entrance on your right (just after passing the admin building on the left).
    Just after entering the park, take the first right, leading to our typical meeting point under the power lines.

    From I-70 or Rt. 29.
    From I-70, exit onto Rt. 29 south.
    Exit Rt. 29 onto Rt. 40 east.
    Turn right at the light onto Rogers Ave, and continue 0.6 miles as the road turns into Court House Dr.
    Turn right onto Ellicott Mills Dr.
    Turn left onto Main St. / Rt. 144 and continue 3.2 miles.
    Turn right into Rolling Road south (a few blocks after Rolling Road north).
    Immediately continue straight onto Hilton Ave. as Rolling Road veers left.
    Continue 1.5 miles on Hilton Ave.
    Look for the park entrance on your right (just after passing the admin building on the left).
    Just after entering the park, take the first right, leading to our typical meeting point under the power lines.


    Patuxent River State Park, Howard Chapel Rd

    Bing Map 
    Google Map

    From I-70, follow these directions. Otherwise, use the links above.
    Take I-70 to exit #76, MD-97.
    At the end of the ramp, turn left/south.
    Continue south on MD-97 for 6.2 miles.
    Turn right onto Jennings Chapel Rd., and go 0.3 mi.
    Turn left at Howard Chapel Rd, and go 0.3 mi.
    Park on the left at the bottom of the hill, just before the bridge.


    Rockburn Branch Park


    Bing Map 
    Google Map

    Take Rt. 100 to exit 4, Meadowridge Rd.
    Go 0.6 mile, then turn right onto Montgomery Rd.
    Go 0.2 mile, then turn left to stay on Montgomery Rd.
    Go 1.8 miles, then turn left onto Landing Rd
    Go 0.9 mile, and turn left into the park.
    Continue to the end of the road, and park at the lot under the power lines.


    Oregon Ridge Lodge

    13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, MD 
    Bing Map 
    Google Map

    North of Baltimore, take I-83 to exit 20-B, Shawan Road. West.
    Go 1 mile and turn left at the light onto Beaver Dam Road.
    Follow Beaver Dam Road for about half a mile.
    You will see the park entrance and lodge on the right.


    Northwest Branch, Silver Spring, MD

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    Take Rt. 29 to where it crosses the river, and park in the lot on the west side of the road, behind the WSSC building by the dam. If you are coming from the south, you will need to U-turn.


    Carderock, C&O Canal National Historical Park

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From the D.C. beltway (I-495), take exit 41, "Great Falls MD", the last exit in Maryland.
    You are going west on the Clara Barton Parkway. Go about a mile, and take the first exit.
    Follow the Carderock sign, turning left to go over the bridge.
    Continue as the road curves right on the other side of the bridge.
    Pass trough the tunnel under the canal.
    Turn right where the road comes to a T, then immediately turn left into the parking lot.
    Meet us by the bathroom. (Since we are subject to beltway traffic, you may need to wait for us.)


    Pennyfield Lock / Blockhouse Point

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    From the D.C. beltway (I-495), take exit 39, River Rd (MD-190).
    At the end of the ramp, turn left (west) onto River Road.
    Continue west on River Road for 8.6 miles.
    Turn left onto Pennyfield Lock Road, and go 0.7 mile to the bottom of the hill.
    Upon reaching the parking area, park straight ahead by the canal.


    Catoctin Mountain Park
    14707 Park Central Road, Thurmont, MD

    Bing Map
    Google Map

    Take I-70 or I-270 to Frederick, MD.
    Take Route 15 17 miles north to Thurmont, MD.
    Take Route 77 West, the exit sign is marked Catoctin Mountain Park.
    Travel approximately 3 miles west on 77 and turn right onto Park Central Road.
    The Visitor Center is on the right, and additional parking is on the left.