When my husband Dean and I hear a few hike that provides unbelievable panoramas, scenic footbridges, a lake with the bluest water within the state, and hardly a non-photogenic view in sight (that final one is for me), we’re all in.
That’s precisely how the Lakeside Loop hike at Rocky Gap State Park is described. Rocky Hole State Park is a 3,000-acre public recreation space in Flintstone, Maryland. The Lakeside Loop is a 5.3-mile climbing path that encircles the attractive 243-acre Lake Habeeb. Positioned within the western “Mountain Side of Maryland,” this hike lives as much as its status.
Listed below are my high tricks to get essentially the most from this hike.
1. Arrive Early
As soon as once more, being early risers labored to our benefit. We obtained to the park at 8:45 a.m., able to go. Because of this, we had a personal hike for the primary hour or so.
Professional Tip: That is widespread sense climbing, however make sure you convey water and a snack or path combine with you. This hike is longer than 5 miles, so that you may want a refreshment.
2. Cease By The Customer Middle
If you’re lucky, while you go to the customer heart at 8:45 a.m. and discover out they don’t open till 9:00 a.m., a sort park ranger will open the door to ask if he may help you. We requested him if there have been any situations (muddy, washouts, and so forth.) on the Lakeside Loop that we should always find out about. There weren’t, so we grabbed a map and set out.
3. Ignore The On line casino
We learn on-line forward of time that Rocky Hole On line casino Resort (privately owned) makes its dwelling on the shores of Lake Habeeb, so we weren’t shocked to see it (however frankly, it’s nonetheless a bit of jarring). To us, it appeared misplaced. To their credit score, it wasn’t gaudy or obnoxiously lit up (in fact, we have been there in the course of the day) and the design blended, as greatest it might, into the environment.
Early within the hike, we might hear the on line casino music blaring and it did detract considerably from the setting, however quickly we have been out of earshot and pure sounds trumped the on line casino noise.
4. Get Your Bearings
We selected to do the hike clockwise, so we obtained the much less fascinating (to us) on line casino views out of the way in which first. We began on the customer heart, walked to the seashore, and took the trail west, following the orange blaze marked path, across the lake.
Professional Tip: The Lakeside Loop is a average hike, which implies encountering some slender paths, roots, and rocks. We additionally had one flooded, however very shallow footbridge to cross. I feel this hike is rated “average” largely due to the size. Additionally, that is black bear nation, so keep in mind widespread suggestions as you hike.
5. Discover The Glowing Solar
That is the nice that comes from an early-morning hike. The daylight glinted on American lotus (I assumed they have been lily pads at first) like diamonds, reworking them from widespread and bizarre to one thing actually radiant and particular.
6. Get pleasure from The Expansive Lake Views
The outline is true. As you hike round this lake, there’s hardly a non-photogenic view, and I took full benefit of it. We occurred to have a picture-perfect day, which didn’t damage both!
7. Replicate Whereas Sitting On A Bench
If you happen to want a breather or a snack, take a break and revel in one of many park benches alongside the way in which. Dean advised this could be a spot the place of us who spent an excessive amount of time on the on line casino contemplate the state of their new monetary state of affairs.
8. The Tuscarora Sandstone Gorge
Whereas different softer types of rock, like limestone and shale, have eroded over time, an indication at this spot on the hike informed us that the hardness of Tuscarora sandstone makes it immune to erosion, which is why there’s such an impressive gorge at Rocky Hole.
9. Get pleasure from A Picnic Lunch At The Gazebo
We completed our hike earlier than lunch, but when your timing works, this gazebo is a good spot to take pleasure in a picnic lunch that you just carry in. That is in the identical space because the gorge, so there are many nice views right here.
10. Don’t Be Fooled By The View
The lake is curvy and stuffed with inlets and bays. Greater than as soon as as we hiked alongside, I used to be satisfied we have been on the midway level as a result of it seemed like we have been straight throughout from the customer’s heart. Greater than as soon as, I used to be fallacious. Across the subsequent bend within the path was one other bend, after which one more bend. There aren’t any shortcuts on this 5.3-mile hike — except you’re up for a swim.
11. Respect The Selection On The Path
Components of the path are alongside a sidewalk (the half by the on line casino), some are filth paths and slender, there are a number of gentle inclines, and different elements are over footbridges. There’s loads to like, however listed here are two of my favourite elements of the path.
Strolling By way of A Cathedral Of Bushes
I beloved two distinct areas on the northeast aspect of the lake that fashioned a veritable “cathedral of pine bushes.” The path right here was cushioned with fallen pine needles and the bushes towered overhead. It’s a regal feeling to stroll on this house. Spectacular.
Hike Amongst Orange Mushrooms
I don’t assume I’ve ever seen a cluster of orange mushrooms, a lot much less on a climbing path. Internet analysis informed me they’re (appropriately) referred to as the Jap American Jack ‘O Lantern selection. I’m certain it is a seasonal factor, however I beloved seeing this shiny splash of bizarre colour on the path.
12. Word The Beautiful Bushes And Vegetation
We noticed a mixture of curious, lovely bushes and vegetation on this hike. Chestnut bushes, hemlocks, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and grapevines. Because of the free Seek app by iNaturalist, I can inform you we noticed widespread jewelweed (orange and yellow cone flowers), reddening lepiota (white and brown noticed mushrooms), and wild teasel (brown cone shapes) that have been previous flowering however nonetheless fascinating and wonderful.
13. Watch The Wildlife
We noticed geese on the lake at varied factors in our hike, and it was calming to observe them float and feed. We additionally noticed these lovely orange butterflies (the Search app tells me they’re Nice Spangled Fritillary). They have been enjoyable to observe, and we have been shocked at how shut they might allow us to get with out flying away.
14. Attempt Your Hand At Fishing
An indication informed us that Lake Habeeb is dwelling to brown trout, rainbow trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. On our hike, we noticed a fishing pier on the far west finish of the lake and a few fishermen angling from shore on the japanese aspect.
15. Hike On Canyon Overlook Path
Feeling formidable? Take the Canyon Overlook Path one-quarter of a mile as much as an expansive canyon view on the southwest finish of the park. We have been anticipating the canyon to show extra of the Tuscarora sandstone we had seen earlier, however as an alternative, it was closely wooded. We imagined in a number of weeks, it could be resplendent with fall colour.
Professional Tip: The Canyon Overlook Path doesn’t intersect with the Lakeside Loop Path. We drove to a separate trailhead to hike this path.
Different Out of doors Choices At Rocky Hole
Play A Spherical Of Golf
If climbing shouldn’t be your factor, the Rocky Gap Golf Course could be. Play 18 holes in a serene, mountain and lakeside atmosphere (minus the on line casino). That is Maryland’s solely Jack Nicklaus Design Golf Course. Hire golf equipment and revel in this 7,000-yard, par 72 course that contains a 50-spot driving vary and two placing greens and chipping areas.
Water Sports activities Gear
The customer heart rents equipment together with canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle (SUP) boards. The day we have been there, we noticed a number of kayaks on the lake, in addition to a few individuals having fun with SUPs.
The Magnificence Of Maryland
Maryland is legendary for big-city Baltimore, Chesapeake Bay, the army renown of Annapolis, and blue crab deliciousness, however Rocky Hole State Park, on “The Mountain Aspect of Maryland,” has loads to supply. What a ravishing and diversified state! The hikes round lovely Lake Habeeb and as much as the Canyon overlook are a beautiful approach to benefit from the pure fantastic thing about this superb space.
Professional Tip: There’s a day-use admission fee to entry Rocky Hole State Park.