Hike #2: Hard Rock Trail (Boyds, Maryland)

Woman peeking from behind a tree

This is part of the 50 First Hikes series. 
To learn more about my #50FirstHikes Challenge, check out this post.

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, I completed my second hike in the #50FirstHikes Challenge. I had to attend a taping in a different part of my County that day, so I was able to get in a hike in a different area from where I live just before sunset.
There are lots of trails at this park, so I definitely want to revisit it, but it was fun picking from all of the trails and just going for it.
48 hikes to go!
Hard Rock Trail at Black Hill Regional Park


This was a very short hike in a wooded area. We hiked in the early evening just before dark. 


Hard Rock Trail, Black Hill Regional Park, Boyds, Maryland, USA

Trail Map/Website

This trail is located in Black Hill Regional Park, a large regional park in Montgomery County, Maryland, so there is plenty of information on the Montgomery Parks website. There is a printable trail map for all of the trails at this park, and the trails are very well marked.

Trail Basics

Distance: 1.27 miles

Terrain: Natural surface trail; not very rooty or rocky

Elevation Gain: 136 feet

Trail Markings: There were lots of trail signs and the trails were clearly blazed.
Accessibility: As this was a natural surface trail that is also used as a mountain bike and equestrian trail, this was not an accessible trail for people with disabilities.

Parking: We parked over by the maintenance building, and there was plenty of parking in a surface lot.

Distance to Washington, D.C.

This trail was a bit further out in the ‘burbs, with a distance of 30-35 miles outside of the city line (depending on the route). 


Little Seneca Lake is located at the Black Hill Regional Park, but the trail we selected did not circumvent the lake. We had views of the woods, which I imagine can be pretty dense the rest of the seasons of the year, but we were able to see through the woods rather easily as this was a winter hike.


1 out of 5 (easy for all fitness levels, with some smaller hills, but a pretty easy surface and a short distance)
Field Crest Spur Black Hill Regional Park

Land Acknowledgement

For this hike, we learned that both the Piscataway and Manahoac Tribes had connections to this part of the County. I’ve been reading up on the Piscataway Conoy Tribe and its history in Maryland ever since my last hike, but it was the first time I’d heard of the Manahoac Tribe. Sadly, from the reading I’ve done so far, I’ve learned that they disappeared from historical records around the early 1700s. 
This made me reflect on what it means for a tribe, for a people, to just… disappear from the records. I read that it’s possible that this tribe merged with other tribes, but it still makes me sad to think about what this means for their culture, heritage, and history.

Lessons Learned

Know Which Trail You’re On

You would think this would go without saying, but… yeah. The struggle was real once again. As soon as we started on the trail, we immediately forgot which trail we were on. Fortunately, it was a short trail that looped around, because we once again were not prepared!

Save a Map in Advance

This goes back to lesson number one. The fact that Montgomery County Parks has such a great website with tons of resources makes this even worse this time around. Do better, Alexis and Tikima!

Come Back and Hike Here (Especially During the Day When We Might See Horses)

I really loved driving through this park on the way to the trail parking lot. I was able to see just how big and beautiful this park is, and I want to hike ALL. OF. THE. TRAILS.
I had been here before and walked around the paved trail around the lake, but I didn’t get to see any horses that time either! It is now my mission to see horses on one of my hikes at this park!

I Love Loop Trails

I often hike out-and-back trails, but I think loop trails might be my favorite! I like that you see different things the entire hike, and the motivation to get back to the start keeps you moving a little bit faster.
Tree hugger hugging a tree

I Love Hugging Trees

Okay, hear me out: I hugged this tree in the middle of the hike, and I could swear it made my heart beat differently, and I felt overwhelming calm and joy. There is scientific research on the health benefits of forest bathing, so I suspect this might explain it. Either that or maybe I’m part koala? To be honest, I like both explanations.

Overall Rating

This was a great, short, easy hike. I loved breathing in the fresh air, and it was great being on a trail where we only passed one other person (a mountain biker at the start of our hike). 
I still haven’t figure out if I actually want to rate these hikes, so this is all you’re getting from me!
Stay tuned for more hikes in this series! To get a sneak peek of hikes before the reviews land on this blog, visit my Instagram page!

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