Liberty Dam Waterbird Series  LbNA # 37255 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateDec 17 2007
LocationMarriottville, MD
Planted ByDaddyCat    
Found By Super Rod
Last Found Sep 22 2009
Hike Distance?

Liberty Dam Waterbird Series

This series is about water birds that you might find in Marylandís wooded areas. I often see kingfishers, blue herons and various types of ducks in the area below the Liberty Dam near the McKeldin area of Patapsco State Park. This is one of the unmaintained trails in the Patapsco State Park system. Besides the wonderful wildlife, the dam is quite impressive. It might even sneak up on you as it did me the first time I did this hike. I was walking along and looked up to find this massive wall of concrete, 160 feet high, only 100 feet from me. I had not seen it coming.

Driving Directions:

Take route 40 to Marriottsville Road, go North on Marriottsville Road (right if coming from Ellicott City or East; left if coming from Route 70/Frederick or West). You will go about 5.3 miles on this road, as you travel you will cross some railroad tracks, then pass the entrance to Patapsco State Parkís McKeldin area. After passing the park entrance, you will go down a hill then cross a bridge. Take the first left after crossing that bridge. This is a private road that is shared with Patapsco State park. You can park on the pull off not far from the main road or you can park near the trail head which is a little further down the road on the left, as the road begins to turn right. Do not travel the road beyond the point where the road curves right and goes up a hill as you will be entering a private driveway that is marked no trespassing.

The trail head is at that right curve and has a few short wooden posts at the start. The trail goes along the Patapsco River and eventually leads you to the base of the Liberty Dam. As you go you will come to a dip in the trail, with an option to go around the dip. My kids call the dip, the dip-it-ee-do and the path around it the loop-it-ee-loo. I prefer the dip-it-ee-doo but my daughter likes the loop-it-ee-loo. Continue on the trail and you will eventually see some large boulders up on the hill to your right. Soon after that you will see a large rock near the trail on the left. Just past that rock, on the right you will find an old moss-covered log that points away from the trail at about 100 degrees. The Liberty Wood Duckís nest is under the opposite end of that log. He may be hiding under smaller logs. Stamp in and restore Mr. Duckís nest as you found it.

Go back and continue on the trail. It will divide and come back together, either route is usually fine. You will cross a small stream and pass another trail that heads off to the right. Donít take that trail, yet. Continue on the trail until you come to a Y, the left branch leading down to the river. Take a compass reading. The kingfisher is on the right at about 80 degrees. His nest is in a hollowed-out tree (which you may have noticed as you were approaching the Y) and he hides under a leaf pile in the hollow. Stamp in and restore the kingfisherís nest, making sure he is well hidden under leaves.

Now go back to the trail. If you look ahead you can already see the dam. Continue on the trail to the base of the dam, look around, and take some photos, then begin back the way you came. Go past the kingfisherís home and look for that trail that you were not supposed to take on your way out. This time take the trail, heading off to the left. You only need to go about 20 steps until you will be standing on a large rock right in the middle of the trail. Get out your compass. The Blue Heron lives on the right at 120 degrees, near the stream, under a tree with a large hollowed-out area at the bottom. Mr. Heronís nest is in nook on the right side of the hollow and is probably hiding under some leaves. After stamping in, restore Mr. Heronís nest as you found it so that he can keep his home for a long time.

Go back to the original trail and return the way you came. I hope you enjoyed the k=hike and hopefully got the chance to see some live water birds.