I always like to explore new trails or running spots when I’m out of town, and I decided to run on one of the trails at Prettyboy Reservoir last weekend, when I was visiting my family.
Although I grew up in Hampstead, which is not far from the Prettyboy Reservoir Cooperative Management Wildlife Area in Baltimore County, I didn’t realize the extent of trails that are there until recently, and I don’t think I’d even been to the area before — I think I’d driven near it, but never stopped there.
I’d just seen someone post about the Hemlock Gorge Extended Loop on the Girls Who Hike Facebook group, so I figured I’d aim for that. However, I was out of data on my phone and figured I would find a trail if I made it to the general area, so I just followed directions on my Maps app to Prettyboy Reservoir Park.
The drive took me along narrow, windy, hilly roads to the Prettyboy Reservoir Dam. There were small parking areas on both sides of the dam. I originally passed it, but it looked like there might be a trail, so I decided to just start my run there.
I crossed the bridge and went down a ton of steps to a small walking area, only to find that there wasn’t a trail there (at least not one that I could find). Then, I made my way back up the steps and could feel it in my quads. I got back in my car and headed to the start of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Trail, which was off Traceys Store Road. I saw a few cars parked at an entrance and figured I was in the right spot.
I’d read about the CCC Trail in MidAtlantic Day Trips and thought it would be fun to check out. It was also on a list of several trails at Prettyboy Reservoir on AllTrails.
I did my run as I listened to a book and to clues as part of the Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus, which I’ll be blogging about soon. Earlier in the day, I’d been thinking about running eight miles to get to 20 for the week, but I wasn’t really in the mood to do that distance, particularly on trails. My run for the Run to Escape was five miles, which seemed more doable.
The trail is described in the comments on AllTrails as mostly fire/access roads. The trails were wide and grassy. I also felt like I was continually going uphill, although I later noticed a few downhill stretches. I didn’t run the trail exactly as it is outlined on AllTrails because I missed the part of the trail that goes along the water, so I ended up doing two out-and-backs where I could have run out, along the water and back on a different trail. However, I was able to get five miles (the trail is listed as four miles), so I was happy with what I did.
Although I didn’t have data or a paid AllTrails account, I was able to pull up the map on AllTrails to see if I was on a trail. I found the wide trails easy to follow and didn’t get lost.
Near the end, I followed a trail that took me to the water, with the water lapping at the shore. When I finished my run, I had completed five miles, with a lot of walking mixed in. The elevation on my watch is always wrong, but elevation corrections for the route showed 481 feet on Strava and 505 feet on Garmin. That’s a lot for this flatlander!
Although my legs could certainly feel the hills, I enjoyed getting to see a new spot that wasn’t too far from where I grew up. I hope to go back and explore more trails at Prettyboy!