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more of the trail, generally wide enough for two people to walk side by side
Lake Shore Trail - Seneca Creek State Park
Closest available address
11950 Clopper Road Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Open 8am-sunset (March-October) & 10am-sunset (November-February)
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Lake Shore Trail is a 3.75 mile loop trail that circles 90-acre Clopper Lake in Seneca Creek State Park. The dirt trail is generally flat, well maintained, and easy to hike. Most of the trail area is forested, so there is little to see on the hike except the lake and occasional boaters. In addition to hiking, the park offers boating, fishing, disc golf (which uses a Frisbee instead of a golf ball), volleyball and biking. Swimming is permitted in the creeks but not currently in the lake.
Seneca Creek State Park is a large park at approximately 6,300 acres, although not all of the park is developed. The park has a generally long and narrow shape and with a north/south orientation. It includes 14 miles and of Seneca Creek and connects to the Potomac River. Park lands were acquired from the Clopper family in the 1950s. A short interpretive trail near the visitor center passes by some historic sites associated with the prior Clopper farm. There also is a historic cabin in the park. It was not open at the time, but one could look through windows.
This park can get busy in nice weather during summer and on weekends. Most visitors come for picnics and playgrounds. The trails tend to be quieter. Also, there are enough trail options here to get some space and privacy from other hikers. There were only a few other people on Lake Shore Trail on a Sunday afternoon in August. Beginning the hike around the boat house worked well as there was plenty of parking, and this can facilitate a boat outing either prior to or after the hike if you are so inclined. The trail was broad and uncluttered. It’s generally wide enough to accommodate two people walking side by side, so works well if you want to have a conversation while hiking. It was also well marked. There were surprisingly few bugs for a summer afternoon so that was a positive as well. Although there is little scenery here to admire or write about, the trail provided plenty of solitude and relaxation. There were just enough hills and ravines to make the topography more interesting as well. If you are looking for an enjoyable place to get some exercise and unwind for a couple hours, a hike around Clopper Lake is a good choice. Note that parts of the trail are open to mountain biking as well.
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