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Hit the trail

Enjoying the great outdoors—right next door

During my sophomore year, I discovered a series of amazing trails that run parallel to Loyola's campus and through 15 Baltimore neighborhoods.

These trails are close-by, accessible, and immediately transport you from campus to the woods. I visit them several times a week.

Check out the Stony Run Trail and the green spaces that I fell in love with. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Stony Run Trail from Newman Towers

I started using this trail soon after I moved into Newman Towers on the west side of campus my sophomore year.

A view of Newman Towers from the Stony Run Trail.

Each day I would wake up and peer out my window towards the patch of trees that sit beyond the parking lot. This near-panoramic scene piqued my curiosity enough that I did some research on Google Maps and discovered there is a wooded trail right behind the building, in the middle of the city.

The Stony Run Trail runs for three miles along an old Maryland-Pennsylvania railroad line that follows a stream running parallel to Charles Street and Roland Avenue, and which eventually empties into the Jones Falls. Stony Run leads to three city parks.

A student jogs along the Strony Run Trail. A pair of golden retrievers swim around in the river.

The portion of the Stony Run Trail next to the west side of Loyola's campus stretches from W. Cold Spring Lane, between the Royal Farms and Newman Towers, a mile north to the Fitness & Aquatic Center.

I highly recommend this trail for anyone who runs or goes on jogs (even on the treadmill), or for those who simply enjoy nature walks. The path is made up of asphalt, crushed stone and gravel, dirt and grass, and woodchips, which means it's also great for biking and even cross-country skiing.

What's nice about this trail is that it provides another option to walking along North Charles Street to get to the FAC. You’ll avoid the cars and the main roadway and enjoy fresh air and the sound of critters rustling in the trees.

 

Stony Run Trail to Druid Hill Park and the Maryland Zoo

When the trail next to Newman Towers ends, it picks right back up across the street through the park, leads past Johns Hopkins University's main campus, and takes you to Druid Hill Park.

A view of Baltimore from Druid Hill Park.

This 745-acre green space is one of my favorite spots in Baltimore. It is a 45-minute walk from Newman, but it is home to the Maryland Zoo, a 1.5 mile loop that encircles a reservoir, the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, an 18-hole disc golf course, and several tennis courts.

The surrounding neighborhood of Wyman park. A view of the giraffes at the Maryland Zoo.

A 15-minute walk further up the trail takes you to Wyman Park. If you are starting to crave city air again, Johns Hopkins and its surrounding neighborhood is right there. If you like the sight of dogs living their best life, visit the park on any warm afternoon and settle into a park bench. Bring a picnic or a book and enjoy the sunshine just a short walk back to campus (it feels like a world away).

 

Stony Run Trail to Sherwood Gardens

The final spot I recommend is Sherwood Gardens. You can divert to Sherwood from the trail after the park, called Stony Run Park, on W. Cold Spring Lane and walk via Overhill Road.

A student enjoys the lush greenery of the trail. A bee rests on a sunflower at Sherwood Gardens. A view of the river that runs along Stony Run Trail.

This urban oasis is basically a giant city garden and is best known for the hundreds of tulips that bloom in the late spring, so naturally it’s the best location for a picnic, to play Frisbee or even study for final exams, or an Instagram-worthy photo shoot.

I enjoy coming here partially because it departs from my usual scene of the woods. Google Maps guides you through one of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods, Guilford. Those who have taken an art history course can probably better identify architectural styles present along the way than I can (although you don’t need to take a course to appreciate quality aesthetics!).