Monday, November 22, 2010

Trail Discovery for Kids

November Highlighted Hike

Blockhouse Trail

Blockhouse Point Conservation Park

14750 River Road, Darnestown, MD

Hike Information

 The Blockhouse Trail is a 3 mile out and back hike with moderate elevation gain after the stream and at the overlook.

 The trailhead is at the second parking lot on the left, driving northwest on River Road. The lot is adjacent to the road and only has room for a few cars.

 The trail is very well marked with sign posts at each intersection and blue blazes along the trail. Follow the Blockhouse Trail to the left of the horse fields until the bridge. Cross over the stream and continue up the hill until the T-intersection. Continue left on the Blockhouse Trail to the overlook. Retrace back.

 An extension to the Blockhouse Trail – at the T-intersection, follow the Calithea Trail for .1 miles and turn left onto the Paw Paw Trail to a second overlook. Retrace back.

 The trails are jogging stroller passable. The obstacles are few large rocks and gullies.

 Link to the trail map.

Age Appropriateness

 This hike is manageable for preschoolers who will switch between walking and riding but best for children 5 years and older.

What is fun for kids?

 Late fall and winter are the best times of year to take this hike because of the amazing 180 degree views of the Potomac River. Trees without leaves provide this beautiful view.

 The overlook at the end of Blockhouse Trail provides a high view of the scenery and a large and safe area for free play and a picnic.

 The overlook at the end of the Paw Paw Trail provides a lower view of the Potomac. This overlook has a small outcropping of rocks to sit, take a break, have a picnic lunch, and watch the great blue herons feast in the river. This overlook is steep with drop offs.

 At the overlooks, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagle sightings!

 Engage in some Civil War play – sticks are always a child’s weapon of choice. Blockhouse Point Conservation Park was home to a Civil War Encampment in 1862 by Union soldiers. Old encampment dugouts still exist in the park.


 Steep drop offs at the overlooks.

 No bathrooms.

 Trash free park – pack out your garbage.