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Monocacy Natural Resources Area

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Adventure hike on unmarked trails
Near:Tuscarora, MD
Distance:12.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:400 ft
Hike Time:7 hours
Trail Condition:Poorly maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary:  This hike can be an adventure in finding your way around. However, you can gain a great sense of accomplishment if you can cover all the trails shown on the map. The trails are unmarked and appear to be maintained only by the passage of feet, hooves (shod and cloven), and water. Some of the trails are the 200-year-old remnants of wagon trails. The quarry and lime kiln are reputed to be over 200 years old and were used for construction of the Monocacy River Aqueduct which is nearby and worth a side trip.
From the Route 28 parking area, Trail A is about 2.6 miles one way. Trail B is about 1.6 miles one way. Trail C is about 2.14 miles one way. The Long Trail is the subject of a separate hike page.
The Monocacy NRA is a hunting area in season. Check the Maryland Dept of Natural Resources for info. Some low-lying trails can be muddy and the numerous crossings of Furnace Creek can be wet in high-water conditions. Unsuitable for bikes.

Trailhead: From the Washington, D.C. area take I-270 north toward Rockville and exit at Route 28 west toward Frederick County. Approximately one mile after crossing the Frederick County line you will see the main parking area marked before reaching the Monocacy River Bridge. (Lat:39.241812 Lon:-77.43907)
Trail Guides for Monocacy Natural Resources Area:
Hikes in the Washington Region Part A Montgomery and Frederick in Maryland
by Potomac Applachian Trail club (Potomac Applachian Trail Club)

Best Seasons: Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, (301) 924-2127 or 1-(800) 825-7275
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Richard Denton, who has posted  22 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Submit your own review
Reviewed by KLG on 4/23/2013
Gorgeous at this time of year (late spring). Tons of wildflowers and views are still fairly open. Trail can be pretty muddy, and branch trails are somewhat overgrown.

Reviewed by DCH on 5/25/2012
Error: Reserved Word Found: ;

Reviewed by Rachel H on 3/10/2012
The unmarked trails made it fun to explore, but also left me feeling a little concerned that I might not make it back to my car! I ran for about an hour and a half. The first route I took was to take the first major trail left and it ended at a farm. I turned back and detoured to the left and wound around and crossed the stream two or three times. I made it up to a farmstead. Then turned around and took another trail up and it seemed to go on for longer than I was on it, so that will be the trail I explore further the next time I go. I had a hard time finding a trail map online.

Reviewed by RJD on 11/23/2008
The major trails from the Rte 28 parking lot, including the long trail, the trail to the lime kiln, and the trail along the ridge to the Ed Sears side trail have all been recently cleared by the MD DNR using a dozer of some kind. The hikes on these trails are now much easier. The various side trails still offer adventure.

Reviewed by rjd on 2/26/2008
Trail C turns left just before you get to the fence. You have to look closely for the turn-off.

Reviewed by RF on 2/26/2008
There are three reasons to come here: the wilderness, the lime kiln, and the Furnace Branch ravine NE of the kiln. Unfortunately the trails are disappearing through disuse and lack of maintenance. And expect to get your feet wet at one or more stream crossings. In 1991 the trails were OK. In 2008 hiking can be unpleasant. Trail A seems to peter out just past the ravine; I returned by bushwhacking over the ridge. Trail C hits an electrified fence at a chicken farm.

Reviewed by MCW on 1/16/2006
It's been a few years since we did it, since we moved away from the DC area. We loved the following hike: you hiked in over the bridges to the lime kiln, turned right at the kiln, wrapped around the hill a bit, left the trail to bushwhack down to the trail again, turned left, returned to the kiln, and headed back to the parking lot. We did it regularly, finding new elements each time, sometimes exploring into the larger, longer trails. It was amazing to find such wilderness so close to Route 28 and DC. Excellent!

Reviewed by Dimtri on 10/27/2005
Very good for orienteering. Very muddy at times. Can be combined with Sugarloaf Mtn.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Maryland Hiking, Maryland Trails, Maryland Hikes, Frederick County Hiking, Frederick County Trails, Frederick County Hikes

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