Recently, W2WM alumnae gathered together to get outside and hike the Green Ash Trail at Gambrill State Park. This trail stretches about two miles and is considered a moderate-level trail, with a few challenging hills along the way. With a lot of sweat and very few tears, our W2WM crew made it through successfully! It felt amazing to get outside and get our day started! So, why keep this fantastic trail and feeling all to ourselves?
Our hiking guide, and Board Vice Chair, Melissa Curtis-Cherry, shares her story on how she got started hiking and her Top 5 favorite trails for you to explore!
” I grew up camping and hiking, so I’ve always loved it. I just never did it often enough. It seemed like so much thought, planning, and energy was needed, so it ended up being an every once and a while outing. Then Covid happened. And the world slowed down, and one of the few “safe” activities was taking a walk through the woods. Around this same time, my family brought home our first puppy, a mini golden doodle named Charlie. Whenever we took Charlie out on a hiking trail, he was at his happiest. So we started going out more and more,” shared Melissa.
Then in January 2021, she and her family decided to embark on the “52-hike challenge”. One hike a week, every week of the year, with no repeat trails. This got them exploring and trying out lots of trails in the area.
“We are so lucky to have so many within an hour’s drive where we live in Mount Airy, Maryland. At the end of 2021, we accomplished our goal with 66 hikes covering more than 150 miles in nine states! We were pretty proud of ourselves, so we decided to do it again in 2022. Most of our hikes are between 1-4 miles (occasionally, we do a longer one). We often have to squeeze in a quick one between our kids’ activities. And we’ve hiked in all kinds of conditions. Buggy and hot. Rainy and muddy. Snowy and icy. But also on perfect days with blue skies, shady woodlands, and beautiful mountain views. We love it.”
Melissa shares that she typically hikes at a pace of about 25-30 minutes per mile. She also uses a free app called AllTrails, which is excellent for locating nearby hikes and staying on track while you’re on the trail. You can also use AllTrails to find driving directions to hike locations.
Melissa’s top 5 favorite hikes in Frederick County
- Annapolis Rock via Appalachian Trail in South Mountain State Park, near Boonsboro, MD
This is a very popular 5-mile out, and back trail to an overlook with one of the most beautiful views in the area. The first mile or so is pretty steep and rocky, with the rest of the trail being relatively flat, peaceful, and shady. Take plenty of water and a snack while you enjoy the overlook. The parking area is small and can fill up, so best to get there early!
- Sugarloaf Mountain (Mountain Loop Trail), near Dickerson, MD
This is a 3.5-mile loop trail with a good balance of incline and descent. This is primarily a woodland hike, but there is a pretty view near the parking area. There is lots of parking, but this is a popular trail, so it does get busy.
- Monocacy River Trail, near Frederick, MD
This is a 3.3-mile out and back trail along the Monocacy River. It is very flat and paved with dirt trails going off into the woods and toward the river. This one is good for beginners, kids, and dogs.
- Gambrill State Park (Black Locust Trail), near Braddock Heights, MD
This is a 3.1 loop trail with some moderate ups and downs and several vistas with pretty views. It is shady and well-marked, and there is lots of parking and restrooms near the Tea Room at the top of the mountain.
- Weverton Cliffs, near Knoxville, MD
This is a 1.9-mile out and back trail to a gorgeous view of the Potomac River. This is a short but steep hike with rocky switchbacks all the way up. The amazing view is your payoff!
More W2WM Hikes are planned for the future. In the meantime, we hope this helps you get up, get out and start exploring the beauty of Frederick County!