Monocacy Battlefield, MD Day Hike


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The Monocacy National Battlefield Hike took place on Saturday March 31st, 2007. Participants included Mike Calabrese, Charlie Johnson, Grandson Daryl, Tom Stevenson, Bill Isham, Granddaughter Madelyn, and Patrick Wamsley.

Saturday, March 30, 2007- In the summer of 1864 during the American Civil War, General Jubal Early led Confederate forces towards Washington, D.C. and threatened to capture the capital city. On July 9, Union troops under General Lew Wallace met Early's forces at what is now the Monocacy National Battlefield.

Meeting at the parking area of the Visitor Center at 9:30 AM, all of us were pleased to welcome a new addition to our group, Patrick. Patrick had purchased a park topo map, providing good guidance throughout our hike. It was then decided to walk the 1/2 mile Gambrill Mill loop trail. Leaving the parking area, the trail first becomes accessible across a series of boardwalks. The railroad trestle river crossing then provides a scenic view of the river, as we passed by interpretive waysides. After first passing along this portion of the Monocacy River, the trail provides a leisurely stroll along a circular trail, as it travels along a fenced in wet area, returning to the visitor center.

We then relocated to a parking area near the 14th New Jersey Monument, just east of the Route 355 Monocacy River Bridge. We passed down under a elevated portion of the roadbed, that allows for the railroad right away passage that travels south, walking down a short distance to the Monocacy Junction. This was a critical strategic railroad features during the civil war, where the railroad from Baltimore can either route north to Frederick or beyond, or south toward Harpers Ferry. It also provided a perspective of the logical point of defense of this area along the nearby Monocacy River.

We then relocated to a parking area at the beginning of an entrance lane to the Worthington Farm. This lane travels .8 miles as it parallels I-270, before turning west toward the front grounds of the Worthington House. Built in 1851, the Worthington House had an exterior restoration completed in 2004, and is representative of a prosperous farmers residence of that time. It was at this point that we were then able to begin the 1.6 mile Worthington-McKinney Ford Loop trail. This trail sloops down along the edge of a field, and enters into a wooded area of the Monocacy flood plain. The trail travels along the Monocacy river bed before turning away and breaking through into a large open tilled field. The path then bears left heading northwest along the tree line. We then intersected with the 1.9 mile Brooks Hill Loop Trail. The group decided to take its first snack break.

The Brooks Hill Loop is a steep wooded assent with just one switchback. It soon takes you to the hills crest, where you can then see an excellent scenic view to the west of the Thomas Farm. It then takes an abrupt turn back down hill into the wooded area. As we then gained a more level heavily wooded area, we passed through a impressive old locust tree boundary line. Not much farther along, we traveled a short rise that ends at the southwest corner of the Worthington house. After a short rest on the front steps, we then begun the return trip to the parking area. We headed back toward the entrance lane, first crossing over the grassy front yard and into a nearby former corn field, then regrouping together and traveling along the gravel road back to our vehicles.

The final hike of the day started at the nearby Thomas Farm. This 1.7 mile trail heads northwest, crossing along the side of two large fields. Although you are actually running toward the direction of the Monocacy River, because the trail turns right and runs along the border of wooded area, it shelters any view of the river. The trail circles along a tree line around a large open field before intersecting back to the point where the trail had passed between the two fields. You then need only to return from wince you came. This area of preserved battle field and farm land, so near to the City of Frederick, is a pleasant escape from the not too distant commercial area.

The weather was clear and moderate. This was a good opportunity to get out on some mostly flat terrain and stretch those atrophied winter bound muscles. We were able to take along grandkids, and meet and greet a new like minded hiker, Patrick. We were also able to learn some American Civil War history, short trails, and sample an excellent restaurant, the Macaroni Grill, nearby.

More Pictures


Charlie J
Group pic before the hike
  Group pict before the hike.
  By Charlie Johnson
Madelyn and Daryl at marker
  Madelyn and Daryl at marker.
  By Charlie Johnson

Worthington House-Monocacy Battlefield, MD
  Worthington House-Monocacy
  Battlefield, MD.  By Charlie Johnson
Grounds around Worthington House
  Grounds around Worthington House.
  By Charlie Johnson

Ridge view from trail
  Ridge view from trail.
  By Charlie Johnson

Old tree boundry
  Old tree boundry.
  By Charlie Johnson


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