Open daily, dawn to dusk. Closed for deer hunting generally Wed-Sa from December to mid February
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Gravitas: Hiking: Proximity:Note: We love Baldpate Mountain so much, we’ve written four reviews about different aspects of the park: 1) Overview, 2) Switchback Trail, 3) Eastern Trails, 4)Pine Grove Hike. In addition, the new Fiddler’s Creek Preserve has been added on the other side of Fiddler’s Creek Road.
The Eastern Trails of Baldpate Mountain originate from two trail-heads, neither very clearly marked: 1) the Creek Spur trail, on Fiddler’s Creek Road, about a mile east of the Summit Trail’s parking lot, and 2) the Honey Hollow trail, which originates off Church Road, just east of its intersection with Fiddler’s Creek Rd.
These trails get a lot less use than the park’s better known Summit and Ridge Trails. For one thing, parking is limited at both eastern trail-heads. For another, the eastern trails drain very poorly. Even in the summer you will run into muddy patches, and in early spring, or after a rainy spell, expect many of the trails to be sodden. Over the ankle Gore-Tex boots are a very good idea when it’s wet, and in early spring you might consider wearing gaiters so you don’t get mud slopping over your boot-tops. Even in summer, be prepared to tip-toe around localized muddy patches, or wear low Gore-tex shoes.
Also, since these trails get relatively light use (and most aren’t terribly well suited to cycling), they are narrow, especially in the late spring when plant growth is most lush. There are lots of brambles (including wild raspberries, yum!), stinging nettles, and poison ivy along the trails, so long hiking pants are a necessity for a pleasant hike, even in high summer.
All that said, the Honey Hollow and Copper Hill Trails are among the loveliest in the park. In combination, they are comparable to the Summit Trail in terms of elevation gain (absolute gain is perhaps 50 feet less, but the Copper Hill trail has some ups and downs). Some of the other eastern trails, having experienced once, I’m now happy to skip including the Power Line Road (along a major electrical transmission right of way) and the Kuser Trail, which runs through immature woodlands.
If, like me, you’ve hiked everything else in Baldpate, the eastern trails open up a bunch of new opportunities, including:
- Honey Hollow/Copper Hill Loop. This is one of our favorite walks! Park in the Brickyard Parking Lot by the Honey Hollow trailhead. Follow Honey Hollow to its terminus. Then loop around the orange-blazed Copper Hill and white-blazed Ridge trails, returning via Honey Hollow. It’s a lovely 2.75 mile hike. As of April 2016, the lower end of the blue-blazed Kuser trail (south of Honey Hollow Trail) and the orange-blazed Cedar Grove trail, are both permanently closed due to “unstable conditions”.
- Summit/Creek Spur Loop. In this variation, you’ll head up to the Summit Trail, then walk east along the Ridge Trail. Depending on time and fitness, you can either head down the Copper Hill Trail where it first hits the Ridge Trail about a quarter mile west of the Pleasant Valley Road parking lot. If you want a longer hike, you continue all the way to the lot, then make the right onto Copper Hill Trail there (note, the beginning of this trail is poorly marked, and you won’t see an orange blaze for while). Either way, you pick up the blue-blazed Creek Spur trail back to Fiddlers Creek Road. You’ll then have a mile walk along the road back to the Summit trail-head parking. Note that the Creek Spur is probably the wettest of the wet trails in this end of the park.
- Switchback/Honey Hollow Ramble. If you’re with a group, you can set up a car shuttle with one car at the Switchback trail-head on Rt. 29, and another at the Brickyard Rd. parking lot off Church Rd. Starting with the yellow-blazed Switchback trail, you then follow the Ridge Trail to the end, then down Copper Hill and Honey Hollow. That’s nearly a 4 mile hike, one-way, through some of the loveliest terrain in the park.