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Celebrate Great Outdoors Month By Taking a Hike in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area

June 3, 2019

Frederick County State Parks National Park Service Washington County Recreation Carroll County

June is Great Outdoors Month, a month-long celebration that encourages everyone to embrace our natural world and get outside. While the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is best known for its rich history, the heritage area offers plentiful hiking opportunities throughout its parks and public lands. It’s the perfect time of year to get out on the trail — wildflowers are blooming, wildlife is on the move, everything is green again and there’s more daylight which gives you additional time to hike. It’s also a great time to link up with a buddy or find a local group that actively explores the outdoors. Hiking with others can help you stay motivated and encourage exploration of new places.

Creating time in our busy lives for outdoor recreation can be the biggest challenge of all, but try thinking of it as a form of self care. Anyone, of any age, can reap the benefits of connecting or reconnecting with nature. It’s been scientifically proven that when you are in nature your brain behaves differently. Nature provides a calming effect for your entire body, lending positive physiological benefits such as lower blood pressure. Time in nature lessens the symptoms of anxiety and depression and even lowers your mortality rate. Current research suggests that as little as 20 minutes in nature can significantly decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It should come as no surprise that doctors around the globe are prescribing nature to patients with chronic illnesses. 

Heading out on the trail for a short hike or even a day hike doesn’t require a lot of equipment. Comfortable footwear suitable for the trail conditions, water, bug spray, snacks and a trail map are essentials. Other items you may wish to consider are a first aid kit, backpack or waistpack and hiking poles. Taking a cell phone is always recommended, with notifications turned off to the fullest extent possible so you can reap the health benefits of time spent in nature. Not only are there apps that can help you navigate trails when you’re in an area with cell service, but it’s also good to have in case of emergencies and for taking photographs. Always tell a friend or family member where you’re planning to be as well as an estimate of when you plan to return. There are four additional things you need to be aware of on the trail in Maryland this time of year: ticks, black bears, timber rattlesnakes and copperheads, the only two kinds of venomous snakes found in Maryland.

There are a wide variety of trails throughout the Heritage Area, ranging from easy, mostly flat trails to moderate trails with more changes in elevation and even difficult, challenging climbs. You’ll even find urban hiking opportunities like Frederick’s Carroll Creek Park or the Hagerstown Cultural Trail.

Here are a few suggestions for scenic hiking locations in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area:

Easy Hikes

Moderate Hikes

Moderate/Difficult Hikes


Not only does time in the outdoors support better health, physically and mentally, but it can also bring families and communities together. Time in nature enables us to connect deeply with our authentic selves and with each other. Hiking is just one way for us to connect to places like historic sites in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, strengthening our shared past, present and future. 


Charissa Hipp

Contributing Author: Charissa Hipp

Charissa Hipp has a passion for connecting people to places through tourism marketing, storytelling, writing and hiking. A wife and mother of three, she is the Maryland Ambassador for Girls Who Hike and encourages people to connect with nature to experience its physical, mental and spiritual... Read More