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Taking in the beauty of spring at Red Run Stream Valley Trail

Having lived in Reisterstown for several years now, I cannot believe it took a post on a Reisterstown Facebook group page for me to find out about the Owings Mills end of Red Run Stream Valley Trail.

A local resident was asking for a good place to walk or hike around the area on the page. There were a lot of responses citing different nature trails — many of which I have been to before — from people in and around Reisterstown, but a trail in Owings Mills I was not familiar with, the Red Run Stream Valley Trail, kept coming up in the posts. I had seen the Reisterstown end of the trail while hiking at Soldiers Delight, but I had no idea that you could access it from Owings Mills, as well.

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After looking up the trail on Google maps, I found out there are three ways to access it, all only a short drive from Reisterstown. There is an entrance to the trail, which has a small parking lot for cars, off of Red Run Boulevard, in Owings Mills, across the street from the State Highway Administration. This entrance is marked with a sign for the trail, but be careful — it is easy to miss. There is also another entrance at the intersection of Dolfield Road and Pleasant Hill Road in Owings Mills that catches the trail a little farther into it. The third way to access the trail is from Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, off of Deer Park Road in Reisterstown.

On April 11, my husband and I took a trip down to the trail. We decided to park at the entrance to Red Run Stream Valley Trail off of Red Run Boulevard, because it has a nice parking lot and we could explore the entire length of the trail if we wanted to. The trail is about three miles, but the distance can be extended or shortened if you want to take one of the accessory trails that runs off of the stream trail. On a plaque along the trail, it is explained that the Red Run Stream Valley Trail is part of a Maryland greenway system that was created to preserve areas in our region that are susceptible to destruction by environmental or man-made causes. Paths and trails are created along these areas so visitors can enjoy these natural gems, as well as learn about conservation through restoration projects and signage. One of the main appeals of the trail is that it is wide and paved for most of its length; in fact, some areas span almost 20 feet in width. The main Red Run Stream Valley Trail does not have many steep inclines, so it would be great for biking, as well.

When we entered the trail, my husband and I were delighted to hear the lovely sounds of spring. There were birds chirping, wildlife rustling through the leaves and the peaceful sound of water trickling down the stream. I was beginning to see why it is such a popular spot for area residents to enjoy. There are benches and bike racks at multiple locations that flank the trail, as well as bridges and overlooks to stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. After only a short walk on the trail, we came upon the Wetlands Trail Loop. This is an extension of the trail that takes you to a boardwalk that runs over the Red Run stream, as well as to multiple overlooks to enjoy the water running over the rocks and observe the fish swimming through the clear water. The 1/8-mile trail continues to loop into the woods and returns back to Red Run Stream Valley Trail.

As you continue down the Red Run Stream Valley Trail, you come up to a large, well-constructed wooden bridge that crosses over a wide portion of the stream. Along the trail, there are several plaques that give you tips about nature and information about the area where the trail is located. On one of the rails of the bridge, there is a plaque that gives details on how to attract local wildlife. The stream water that runs under the bridge is very clear; I could see tiny little fish swimming and beautiful moss covered rocks. The Red Run stream originates at the Arundel quarry around the Franklin Boulevard exit off of I-795 and empties into the Gwynns Falls. It is known to be home to a variety of trout.

As my husband and I headed a bit farther down the trail, we came across the Trail to Lakeside Boulevard.

This trail branches off of the Red Run Stream Valley Trail and has a mulch and dirt path. The trail runs about 3/4 of a mile and has many inclines and descents that would be great for hiking if you are looking for a challenge. This trail also allows cross country skiing and would be amazing to ski on in the winter months.

We decided to stay on the main trail and continue exploring. Being that the trail is mostly wooded, there is a great deal of wildlife running through the trees, and we spotted a few birds' nests in the trees, as well. I can only image how gorgeous the trail will be in a few weeks, when all of the leaves are in. I am definitely grateful to the Reisterstown Facebook group member who asked about local hiking spots. If it weren't for her, who knows how long it would have been before I discovered this local natural gem? I am looking forward to some amazing spring bike rides here with my son, and maybe even some cross-country skiing in the winter.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

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