Herrington Manor Loop is a 4.2-mile moderate hike that is best enjoyed during the spring and fall. It is blaze-yellow and begins from the trailhead parking lot found by bearing right after the park entrance.
Walk back up the park road less than a half-mile, turning on the yellow-blazed trail. Hike into the woods, bearing right at the fork. This trail is shared with cross-country skiers; therefore, it is wide and well groomed. Sights along the trail include an old cemetery, a hemlock grove and a plethora of spring-blooming wildflowers. Several other color-coded loops intersect with the yellow-blazed trail allowing lengthier hikes.
You will want to note that the trail does enter state forest hunting grounds. Also, the wildflower, false hellabore, is poisonous yet an attractive species. It is a stout plant with large alternating leaves that bear a shooting cluster of green, star-shaped, hairy flowers. It grows in the wetter areas of the trail and is most conspicuous in the spring before it wilts in summer's heat. Legends tell that Indians became chiefs only after surviving the digestion of false hellabore. Non-poisonous wildflowers observed in the area include the mayapple, a large-leaved plant at forest floor; the darling little bluets (1 cm), hardly noticeable at trailside; and the jack-in-the-pulpit, only seen by the observant eye.
Directions: From Washington, DC, Follow Rt. 270 west to Frederick and Rt. 70. Follow Rt. 70 west to Hancock, MD and Rt. 68. Follow Rt. 68 west to exit 14 at Keysers Ridge and Rt. 219. Follow Rt. 219 south 19.5 miles to Mayhew Inn Road (2 miles past Deep Creek). Turn right on Mayhew Inn Road, travel 4.5 miles to end of road. At the stop sign turn left onto Oakland Sang Run Road, travel 0.3 miles to first road on the right which will be Swallow Falls Road. Turn right onto Swallow Falls Road and travel 4.5 miles to Herrington Manor State Park. Once inside the park, bear right to reach trailhead parking. This trip will take you approximately 3.5 hours.
Elevation: 2,500 feet
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
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Herrington Manor State Park, West Virginia
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