A Hiking Jewel in the Crown

Posted in HikingNature

Hats off to everyone who worked to set aside Bacon Ridge for conservation and recreation, and who create and maintain the trails. One of the things that surprised me the most when I moved here from Washington State is the dearth of easily-accessible wild areas, so I was really happy to find Bacon Ridge Natural Area. Hopefully it will serve as a model for similar projects in the future.

There are three sections to Bacon Ridge: The "Phase 1" southern section, the "Phase 2" northern section, and the recently-opened mountain bike skills trail. Phase 1 is the original, and possibly the busiest. The mountain bike skills trail is new, and getting a lot of interest. Phase 2 doesn't seem to get as much attention as the other two, so that is where I recommend hiking.

The trailhead is located off of Bacon Ridge Rd. on the west side of I-97 near Crownsville.

The gravel parking lot is a decent size, and when I was there around 4 pm on a sunny Thursday, the parking lot was completely empty.

Parking lot

Park rules are clearly posted.

Park rules

Apparently not everyone abides by the rules.

Please abide by all park rules

All the trails are marked, and there are signs along the way to guide you.

Trail marking

There are a few different interconnected loops, so you can go for as short or long of a hike as you want, but it's easy to get a little turned around. I like to use an app called Gaia GPS to help keep me oriented.

Gaia GPS

The trails are easy to follow and well maintained.

Easy trail

You do need to watch your step. There are some tripping hazards.

Tripping hazard

Bacon Ridge is popular with mountain bike riders, so stay alert and give them room to pass.

Mountain bike tire tracks

Even on a sunny day there is plenty of shade when the leaves are still on the trees.

Sunlight poking through tree leaves

The trail is not difficult, but there are enough hills to get your heart rate up.


There is also a comfortable place to stop to let your heart rate come back down.


Wet muddy parts of the trail have a nice boardwalk.


Over all, Bacon Ridge is one of the best places in the Annapolis area to hike, and I highly recommend it.

Happy trails,

- E