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Gunpowder Falls East of York RD, MD Day Hike

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This day hike took place on Saturday, December 28, 2002. Participants were Jerry McCumbers and myself. After the Christmas holiday, I was feeling lazy and out of shape so I wasn't super excited about hiking 2) 6 mile loops. But since I was leading this hike, I thought that I better show up. I was glad that Jerry McC showed up as no one else did.

It was cold when we started this hike around 9AM. Probably low thirties. One thing that I did not take into consideration was that they got more snow north of Baltimore than we did in northern VA on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So we ended up hiking in about 8 inches of snow.

Right after starting the hike and crossing York RD, we turned right onto the blue blazed Panther Branch Trail. It was a good steady up along a snowy trail that looked like a few people had hiked on since Christmas. We saw some nice views on the other side of Gunpowder Falls as we were ascending.

Once on top of the ridge, we walked along what appeared to be an old road. It was wide and pleasant to walk on. We missed a turnoff and almost walked onto someones property. However, we turned around, retraced our steps, turned right, proceeded through a field and started walking along a very small Panther branch at around the 2 mile mark. It was mostly down hill with some very nice scenery. At one point, Jerry thought that he saw a cave opening and left the trail to investigate. Panther Branch got a lot wider and deeper as we walked along side of it.

At the 3 mile mark we turned right onto the white blazed Gunpowder South Trail for a very short stint, got to Big Falls RD, crossed it and then started the return trip along the blue blazed Gunpowder North Trail. The next 3 miles would be tough ones. The trail would go up and down along the hill that bordered the Gundowder Falls to avoid rocky areas. We also had to cross numerous streams. The snow was again a factor. This stretch was not as tame as the section of the Gunpowder North Trail that we hiked last year. One hiker passed us on this stretch. He appeared to be trail jogging. We also saw another couple across the Gunpowder hiking up the Panther Branch Trail. We were running behind timewise so we stopped to eat lunch along the trail. The best view along this stretch was Raven Falls.

We got back to our cars along York RD around 1ish. We were debating the second loop hike as this first one wore us out. Maybe it was the combination of the snow making it tougher as well as both of us having eaten too much the holidays. We talked about maybe doing half of the second hike.

So we drove to Bunker Hill RD to do the second loop. They only plowed about half way down Bunker Hill RD. We had to navigate the last half with alot of snow on the road as well as a couple of blow downs. When we got to the trailhead parking area for the Bunker Hill Trail it was not plowed and was difficult to drive through. We also noticed that the Bunker Hill Trail had some big ups and had not been hiked since the snow. It was at this point that we decided to bag the second loop hike. I would like to come back next spring or summer and do this remaining loop.

So we had an invigorating hike. The scenery was beautiful but made more difficult with the recent snow. The Gunpowder Falls Area east of York RD is a great place for a day hike any time of year!

Mike C
Mike C navigating a blowdown
  Mike C navigating a blowdown.
  By Jerry McCumbers
Along the Panther Branch Trail
  Along the Panther Branch Trail.
  By Mike Calabrese

Jerry exploring possible cave
  Jerry exploring possible cave.
  By Mike Calabrese
Beaver dam along Gunpowder Falls
  Beaver dam along Gunpowder Falls.
  By Mike Calabrese
York RD bridge over the Gunpowder
  York RD bridge over the Gunpowder.
  By Mike Calabrese

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