Susquehanna SP

 

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Description: This is an 8.7 mile circumnavigation of the park. The first 1.5 miles is along the old canal and railroad grade (The latter was constructed to deliver construction supplies to the Conowingo Hydro-electric dam further upriver.). You’ll be able to view the river for this entire stretch. Then you’ll climb up to a low plateau and walk through alternating woods and fields. Besides the river and canal you’ll pass an old Flint Tower that remains from the Revolutionary War, an extremely old American Beech and, if you find the un-marked trail, a White Oak that also dates back to the revolution. Your starting and ending point is an operational Grist Mill that dates back to 1798. It is open, along with the Archer House and Jersey Toll House, is open on weekends starting in May through the end of September. 

Google Custom Directions

The hike starts on either side of the grist mill.

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Printable/Downloadable Map

View 3-D Map

Zipped National Geographic. TOPO! GPS and Universal GPX Files

GPS Text File for Non-TOPO! Users

 

Trail Notes: All trails except those shown as dotted lines on the map are blazed. Most are signed. The route described here was obtained with GPS. All other trails are approximations. 

From the Grist Mill walk out to the railroad grade that parallels the river and turn left. In 0.51 miles cross Deer Creek on a bridge. Just before this point the Mason-Dixon Tr (blue blazes) comes in from the left. After crossing the bridge the trail veers away from the RR grade to the right and continues to follow the river bank. Watch for short fisherman’s trails that will lead you out to good views up and downriver. 

At 1.11 miles from the bridge turn left onto an un-blazed but wide and obvious woods road. Cross the old canal on a footbridge. In another 0.43miles visit the old flint tower on the left then cross another bridge and arrive at Stafford Road. Turn left onto the road and cross Deer Creek again. Bear to the left on the road but soon bear right onto an unmarked spur trail. Climb a short hill and arrive at green blazed Deer Creek Tr. 

Turn right onto Deer Creek Tr. You may catch glimpses of the creek or hear it but the trail always stays high above it. In 0.52 miles from the last trail junction pass another spur trail on the right that leads to Craig’s Corner Rd. Begin a slight climb. It is along this stretch where you’ll find the giant American Beech tree. 

In about 0.77 miles from the last spur come to an un-marked but obvious path on the left. Take it to visit the grandfather of all White Oaks in the area! Return to the Deer Creek Tr and continue your original course. In a few steps arrive at a large unmarked 4X intersection. It really needs a sign. To the right is a campground loop. The Deer Creek Tr actually turns left here. At this point you want to continue straight on a short spur trail to the blue blazed Old Farm Tr. Again signage is not clear. Turn left onto a short spur. Cross a small stream and then turn right onto the main Old Farm Road Tr. 

Soon the woods will open up into a huge field. Initially the trail cuts right through the center but then bears to the left to follow the edge of the field. In 0.4 miles from the last junction pass a gray blazed spur trail on the left. Soon after this junction the Old Farm Road trail goes straight into the road while the Ivy Branch Tr continues to follow the edge of the field. The approximate location of this junction is marked with a question mark on the map. There are no trees for blazes along this stretch. Do not go into the woods here but continue to follow the trail that follows the edge of the field.

  In 0.36 miles from where the last junction should be the trail joins a gravel road. Maintenance buildings are to the left. Continue on the gravel road for a few yards until you come to an obvious footpath on the left. Turn here and pass through a small stand of trees. One will have an orange blaze (The first sign that you are on the Ivy Branch Tr). Follow the edge of another field and come to the driveway for the maintenance buildings. Turn right and follow the driveway to Wilkinson Rd. Cross the road and join a footpath with orange blazes. 

In 0.64 miles come to the junction of a spur trail that leads to Rock Run Rd. Make a hard left to stay on Ivy Branch Tr. Cross a small stream and in 0.54 miles rejoin the Old Farm Road Tr that comes in from the left. The two trails share the same tread for a bit before the Ivy Branch Tr veers off to the left. Stay straight on the Old Farm Road Tr.  

Reach Rock Run Road again. Turn left down the road for a few steps and then pick up the trail on the other side of the road. Follow it to a stream crossing. After the crossing pick up the yellow blazed Rock Run “Y” Tr to the left and right. Turn right and gradually climb to the apex of the “Y” in another 0.23 miles. Turn left here. 

In 0.24 miles arrive at the junction of gray blazed Land of Promise Tr. Turn right. In another 0.53 miles cross the driveway for the Steppingstone Museum. Follow the edge of another field before descending into the woods. In 0.51 miles from the museum driveway arrive at the junction of the (Susquehanna) Ridge Tr and Mason-Dixon Tr. Turn left here and follow the dual red and blue blazes back to Stafford Rd. Turn left onto the road and follow it a short distance back to the mill and your waiting car.

Printable/Downloadable Directions and Trail Notes

Critique This Outing

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Name: Bruce                                                                                                             Hike: Susquehanna State Park

Date: 06/29/13                                                                                                       Rating: 4

 

Critique: I did the first 5+ or so miles of this hike, I cut through on the gray trail to the red and headed to Grist mill (eliminated the orange and yellow). The description is really good. On the first leg along the tracks, it is a little bit over grown. I was the first one to go on the tracks in the morning, so I was met with a large amount of spiders and their webs across my face, but it was worth it for the views of the river. The White Oak is worth the side trip. Overall the trail is well maintained. There were only a couple of other hikers, a horse rider, and 1 mountain biker. I took my dog with me and there were no issues for him. Beautiful weather and a very nice day trip. Thanks!

 

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Name: Thomas                                                                                                         Hike: Susquehanna SP
Date: June 5, 2012                                                                                                  Rating: 5

Critique: This is the first hike we went on from this website. This hike not only included historic areas but also a variety of nature vistas including riverfront, farmland, forest, and fields. The description of the hike was also excellent as it really takes you through many areas of the park. Without this description we would have not had any idea what trails to start out on and we would surely have gotten lost as many trails intersect. Thanks!

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Name: Dan                                                                                                                Hike: Susquehanna State Park
Date: 3/1/2012                                                                                                       Rating: 5

Critique: This hike is pretty amazing for being in the Greater Baltimore area. There's a little bit of everything in terms of scenery - first along the river, then through patches of dense forests, then the parts where the trail cuts straight through the fields. Overall it was quite beautiful, and the directions given here are spot-on!

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Name: Joe Collins                                                                                                   Hike: Susquehanna State Park
Date: 7/17/2011                                                                                                    Rating: 2

Critique: For the moment I give this a two solely because of the trail blazing. The current blazes do not correspond to the map. I talked with a park employee who told me that some trails had to be re-routed over the past two years and they haven't been able to update the maps. Additionally, do NOT take the railroad track trail going south from the Grist Mill. It is overgrown with poison ivy encroaching and nasty biting spiders have built their webs at face level across the trail (learned that last one the hard way.) But it looks so beautiful there that I will go back and hit the trail at a different spot someday.

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Name: GinaCico                                                                                                       Hike: Susquehanna SP
Date: 02/21/2011                                                                                                  Rating: 5

Critique: I had President's Day off, and did this hike solo in about 4 hours. I posted a trip report here:
http://pasadenagina.smugmug.com/OutdoorAdventures/Susquehanna-2011Feb21/

The rewards were many.... scenic views of the river, historic sites, narrow trails through wide open fields, giant trees, and wildlife. Except for some downed trees due to recent storms, and the deteriorating railroad grade, the trails are exceptionally well maintained. Even on a chilly February holiday, one trail maintenance crew was hard at work clearing debris, while several park crews were working on improvements to the Flint Tower and campground facilities.

Notably, new signs have been installed at all of the points where the description said they were needed.

Thanks for providing the GPS information. I have the NG Topo software, which loaded the file with no problems. I also used the GPS text file for non-Topo users. With some editing I managed to import the waypoints onto my Lowrance handheld GPS unit, using the MapCreate 6 software that came with it. Sadly, the batteries died about 1/3 through the route (never rely solely on a GPS!), but the waypoints seemed accurate and helpful.

Awesome hike!
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Name: Matt Janes                                                                                                    Hike: Susquehanna State Park
Date: 6/6/09                                                                                                            Rating: 4

Critique: Great circuit. The info on the trail notes was very much needed at some of the more confusing parts. The giant beech tree, and oak tree were awesome! I took my time talking to people, and taking pictures; and still completed this in about 5 hours. Thanks for all the info!
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Name: Vern                                                                                                               Hike: Susquehanna SP
Date: 05-10-2009                                                                                                    Rating: 5

Critique: I never knew about this park until I saw it here. This one ended up being a fantastic hike. It started off along the river on the Mason/Dixon trail. The first couple of miles were all very level, and it was a fairly easy hike except in the few sections where the rail bed had been washed away. After turning away from the river, there were some impressive elevation changes. In fact, at the very end of the hike the trail seems to tower over the treetops at the river level.

Along the way, the trail passed through several pastures, and also some very dense foliage. It was a beautiful day, and we had lunch under the pine trees near the maintenance buildings. The sun was shining, and there was a great breeze blowing. One of those rare days in Maryland where it is not too hot or too cold.

We missed the old white oak, but did see the beech tree and the flint tower. The tree was very impressive. The hike took about four hours total, and it was time well spent. I really enjoyed this one, and will definitely be doing it again very soon.

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