Sunday, January 27, 2013

Susquehanna State Park, MD

Susquehanna State Park - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail -

GPS Coordinates 39.598607, -76.129533

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Trail parking around the corner from the large boat ramp parking lot.  There is a charge to park in the boat ramp lot and pets are not allowed so best to park here.

Susquehanna State Park Trail Guide - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The map for this particular park is currently showing as out of stock and is not included on the ordering page. 

HIKE DISTANCE:  12.15 miles

From the parking area, walk back towards the intersection to the boat ramp parking which is on the left but turn right at the corner around...
...  these ruins and continue to loop around uphill on top of the ruins ...
...  to the red-blazed trail going uphill into the woods.  There is a blaze visible on a tree, just can't see it in this picture.
Looking back down towards the boat ramp parking from the beginning of the trail at the top of the ruins.
The trail is also intermittently blazed in silver and blue along with red but stay with red.
The trail ascends to ...
... great views of the Susquehanna River below.
The red trail descends to the road where a brief road walk leads to ...
... Rock Run Landing.
Working historic grist mill.
From the historic Rock Run area, leave the red trail and pick up the old abandoned railroad tracks along the bank of the Susquehanna River.  This is not shown on the map and is not blazed but based on the footprints in the snow, it is definitely used as a trail.  Although railroad ties are still in place, it is easy enough to walk on.
Assorted ducks and geese in the Susquehanna River.
The ground is sometimes washed out from under the tracks but still passable.
Looking back to the east.
The abandoned tracks lead directly to a bridge over where Deer Creek flows into the Susquehanna River.  The trail is now shown as an alternate greenway route on the map and is sometimes blazed in blue.
Looking down off of the bridge where chunks of ice are flowing into the Susquehanna River from Deer Creek.
The alternate greenway trail follows along the Susquehanna River.
A great blue heron in the Susquehanna.
A very cute red-bellied woodpecker having some breakfast.  And then...
... right up above the trail.  Truly magnficent!  And if that weren't enough...
A juvenile bald eagle a few minutes down the trail.
He took off...
... and came back ...
... so I could get a shot of his front side!
The alternate greenway trail then merges on to the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trail.
More views of the river along the Greenways Trail.
Looking back east and zooming in on the I-95 bridge over the Susquehanna.
Then on rocks in the river, FIVE bald eagles!  Three adults and two juveniles and ...
... they were joined by a black crow.  The eagle on the right was eating and the crow ducked down behind the rock, no doubt to swipe some of the eagle's breakfast.  Brave crow!
It was simply beyond thrilling to watch them in action!
At the end of the Greenway Trail, the Conowingo Dam and the turn around point.
Heading back east.
Yet another bald eagle.
And three more!
I saw no fewer than a dozen bald eagles not counting those on the way back since they could have been duplicates.
Beavers live here, too.
The Greenways Trail veers right and follows along Deer Creek.
Stafford Flint Furnace at the end of the Greenways Trail.
Deer Creek
At the end of the Greenways Trail, turn left on paved Stafford Road, cross the bridge over Deer Creek ...
... then pick up the silver-blazed spur trail just to the left of the park sign (no sign and no blazes visible until on the trail).
The silver spur trail leads to the green-blazed Deer Creek Trail then to the red-blazed Susquehanna Ridge Trail.
The red trail ascends to the ridge and follows along ...
... for more scenic views of the river.
The red trail descends to a creek crossing right at Rock Run Historic area but with snow and unstable ice, it was too hard to determine where to step and I felt it was not safe to do so we bushwhacked along the creek a short distance to Stafford Road and crossed over on the bridge.
After crossing the bridge on Stafford Road, turn right on Rock Run Road then left to Archer House.  (Had the creek been passable, the red trail would have turned left on Rock Run Road and it would have been a right turn to Archer house from Rock Run Road.)
Follow the road past Archer House and through the parking lot to the silver-blazed Land of Promise Trail.
When the silver trail come out at a field and the blazes stop, turn right and follow the right edge of the field with the Steppingstone Museum to the left.  Head for the slit rail fence and go between the break in the stone wall.
This leads to an old farm road along a ridge with countryside views before the silver blazes start to pick up again.
Old farm road.
The silver trail leads back to the red trail and desends to the ruins and parking area.

[  0.00]  From the parking area walk back along Stafford Road to the intersection with Lapidum Road, turn right and ascend around to top of ruins to the red-blazed trail into the woods (map does not show this accurately); there will also be blue and silver blazes
[  0.45]  Keep right on red when silver goes left (will be coming in from silver on return route)
[  0.85]  Keep straight on red when unmarked trail not on map goes left
[  1.35]  Turn left on Stafford Road and walk short distance towards Rock Run Historic Area
[  1.45]  After exploring area, go to viewing spots along river at the abandoned railroad bed, turn left and follow old train tracks
[  2.10]  Cross bridge over Deer Creek and continue on footpath to the right after bridge; some blue blazes along this route shown as "Alternate Greenways Route" on map
[  3.30]  Keep right on the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trails with a bridge to the left
[  3.95]  Section of boardwalk
[  5.25]  End of Greenways Trail at parking lot and Conowingo Dam; retrace
[  6.45]  Section of boardwalk
[  7.15]  Keep right across bridge when Alternate Greenways Route comes in from the left
[  7.55]  Flint Furnace on left, cross bridge and trail ends at Stafford Road
[  7.60]  Turn left on Stafford Road and cross bridge over Deer Creek
[  7.65]  Cross Stafford Road to the right at Susquehanna State Park sign and pick up silver trail to the left of the park sign
[  7.85]  Turn left on green at T-intersection
[  8.10]  Continue straight on red when green leaves to the right
[  8.20]  Cross bridge, turn right on red/blue then left on red when blue goes straight
[  8.85]  Keep straight on red when silver goes right
[  9.00]  Unmarked trail to right goes short distance to a hay field, continue straight on red
[  9.65]  Rock hop over creek then turn left on Rock Run Road then right towards Archer House OR retrace on red a short distance if creek is not passable and before trail turns left and heads uphill, continue straight towards park building to Stafford Road, turn right and cross on bridge, turn right on Rock Run Road then left towards Archer House
[  9.85]  Continue on paved road to Archer House as it winds uphill, continue through parking lot behind Archer House to silver-blazed Land of Promise Trail
[10.05]  Keep straight when purple trail (not on map although it might be the same as the yellow trail on the map) crosses over
[10.35]  Keep left at intersection (straight goes to Steppingstone Museum but is not shown on map)
[10.55]  Keep left on silver when a trail goes right (might be the other side of the yellow trail, did not see blazes)
[10.85]  Rock hop over small creek
[11.15]  Come out into field, turn right and follow right side of field towards split rail fence (no blazes)
[11.25]  Cross paved road through break in rock wall at split rail fence and continue straight along the right side of another field
[11.35]  At the end of a field on a large tree, blazes start again
[11.80]  At T-intersection with red, turn right on red (still some silver blazes and also blue)
[12.15]  Back at parking