The Management of Wildlife Cooperative Area, managed in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources MD, aims to protect the reservoir and watershed. It is open to the public for bird watching, fishing, boating, photography, horseback riding, hiking, archery, and deer hunting. Covering 1,600 acres, it surrounds the Raven, Loch Raven, and Gunpowder Falls, which are major tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. The reservoir was formed in 1914 by damming the Big Gunpowder Falls and supplies drinking water to the surrounding counties and the City of Baltimore, located north of Loch Raven Reservoir.
Birdwatching and the ability to reach optimal natural surroundings, Loch Raven offers a serene birdwatching encounter. Despite being situated in a residential vicinity next to the city, the wooded regions lining the reservoir are composed of fully-grown, diverse deciduous and coniferous woodland, as well as a few areas that have been recently logged. Additionally, there are multiple pathways available for birdwatching purposes.
There are numerous old roads and foot-trails surrounding the reservoir. The map trail is available in a jpg version on his website, and it was prepared by the local resident Phil Manger. The link to the map trail is provided at the left. Additionally, there is a separate link for the mountain biking trail map of Baltimore’s City.
Please refer to the directions below for the suggested driving route around the reservoir. This map is actually a parking map produced for hunters to use, so consult the Map Locations Parking section for places to park. The reservoir is surrounded by a network of roads that provide access to the foot trails and water. These roads include East Seminary Avenue (MD 131 Route), Providence Road, Raven Drive, MD Route 145 (Paper Mill Road), Warren Road, Merryman Road, and part of Jarrettsville Road. Additionally, MD Route 146 (Dulaney Valley Road) provides access to the water and foot trails.
The top ten most efficient hubs are as follows: with a plethora of eBird hubs encompassing various regions, more than 240 bird species have been documented on eBird from Loch Raven and its adjacent territories.
Winter brings a variety of waterfowl, loons, and grebes. They can be found here during the warm months. Herons are also present during the warm months; Great Blue herons are here all year. Bald Eagles, Red-shouldered Hawks, and Red-tailed Hawks are also seen throughout the year. Many birds pass through during the spring and fall migration. They are present from spring to fall. They may be present, especially in the Paper Mills Flats area at the north end of the reservoir. They can be found near the water in the summer. They are present during migration and some stay throughout the breeding season. They may be found all year. Chipping Sparrows, Veeries, and Cedar Waxwings are common in the spring.
Restrooms are not available. Although the trails at Loch Raven are not suitable for wheelchair access, the parking areas and roadside pull-offs offer excellent opportunities for bird watching.
Leashed pets are permitted; please clean up after your pet and carry the pet waste with you upon departure.
The map provided by Deer Area Management DNR displays the designated parking areas. It can be challenging to locate legal parking spots, as they are typically situated along the roadside. Vehicles that are parked illegally are subject to receiving parking tickets. For recommendations on parking, please refer to the instructions provided below.
Fishing is permitted in non-tidal state waters with a fishing license. Additionally, personal boats of these types may be launched here with a required permit. The fishing center also offers boat rentals, including electric-motor boats, jon boats, and kayaks. The fishing center operates a boat launch area and boat rentals are available at the Recreation and Parks County Baltimore center, located just east of the Dulaney Valley Road bridge over the reservoir.
The Maryland Native Plant Society has provided access to a report by D. Earl Redmond (2004) called The Vascular Flora of Loch Raven Watershed, Baltimore County, Maryland, which provides information about the variety of plant species in the watershed. The City of Baltimore, responsible for overseeing the forests in the Loch Raven Watershed, ensures the purity of the drinking water from the reservoir.
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The Bird Club of Baltimore is the founding chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, and it continues to be an important hub for birding activity in the state. The club offers monthly meetings with informative presentations, as well as field trips and walks in the bird-filled and scenic fields. The club is open to the public and free for all to join.
The special episode of Maryland Outdoors, titled “River Ribbon Blue,” explores the rich natural diversity and beauty of the Gunpowder Falls watershed in Baltimore County. It also focuses on the controlled releases of water from Loch Raven, which plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal water temperatures downstream. Additionally, there is footage from Prettyboy Reservoir in the northern part of the county.
The links on the left provide information about the Parking Locations Map and Trail Map. Additionally, having a well-designed printed road map would be beneficial. The itinerary will guide you on a tour of the reservoir in an S-shaped pattern, beginning from the southeast side. The trails and entry points mentioned here are highly regarded by birdwatchers.
To reach the starting point from Baltimore’s I-695 Beltway, follow Cromwell Road Bridge and take Exit 29 to Drive Bridge Cromwell Road. Then, drive northeast on Route MD 567, following Raven Loch Drive until you reach the intersection with Loch Raven Drive.
The route guide is accessible at the URL provided. Utilize the hiking pathways to access the secondary barrier by parking at Willow Grove Farm section of Cromwell Valley Park. Alternatively, a petite asphalted area close to the primary barrier can be located approximately 0.8 miles further north. Seek out a secure location to park near the secondary barrier on the right-hand side by making a left turn (towards the northwest) onto Loch Raven Drive from the northbound Cromwell Bridge Road. When the water level is low, dabbler ducks and shorebirds can be observed at the secondary barrier, which serves as an excellent location.
The trail terminates on a peninsula and proceeds in an easterly direction near the water; the starting point of the trail is on the opposite side of the intersection. Please park on Chapelwood Lane, situated on the left-hand side, and search for MD Route 146/Dulaney Valley Road. Take a right turn (north) onto Seminary Avenue and keep going until you reach East Seminary Avenue. Take a left turn (west) onto Providence Road and trace it until you arrive at Providence Road. Take a left turn (southwest) onto Providence Road and travel northward to the primary dam on Loch Raven Drive.
The eastern section of the bridge features roadside parking on the southern side, while the western section has a compact parking lot on the northern side. A popular destination for fishing enthusiasts is the footbridge, which offers a pair of petite observation decks and is situated on the southern side of the bridge. To access the reservoir’s arm, one must travel north on MD Route 146/Dulaney Valley Road from Chapelwood Drive.
Excellent for bird species that inhabit water bodies. The path takes you south along a narrow strip of land to reach the reservoir. Take a right turn at the upcoming road to access the trailhead for the Old Picnic Ground. As you proceed, you will come across the turn for the Loch Raven Fishing Center on your right. Keep to the right to remain on Dulaney Valley Road (Route 146 veers left at this point) after crossing the bridge. Continue your journey towards the north and east on MD Route 146/Dulaney Valley Road from the Dulaney Valley Road bridge. You will eventually reach Old Picnic Grounds Road.
From the former picnic grounds, make a right (towards the east) onto Dulaney Valley Road and proceed a brief distance to the paved road leading into the Skeet Club on the right side. Parking is permitted near the junction with Dulaney Valley Road. Beyond the club structure, there are pathways that intersect each other throughout the peninsula. This location is favorable for observing sparrows, other small birds, and waterfowl. It is known as the Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Club.
The Mill Paper Flats, which are located on the right side of Park road, offer a short trail for visitors to enjoy. As you pass the intersection with Poplar Hill Road on the left side of the road, you will come across a pull-off area where you can park. To continue your journey, make a left turn onto Jarrettsville Pike (Route 146/Jarrettsville) and then take a sharp right turn onto Pike Jarrettsville MD. Just before reaching the bridge, make a left turn onto Dulaney Valley Road and you will see the Skeet Club on the right side. This area of the reservoir is known for its abundance of both landbirds and waterfowl, with more than 200 species to be seen.
Cromwell Valley Park, Fort Howard Park, Gunpowder Falls State Park – Hammerman Area & Dundee Creek Marina, Hart-Miller Island State Park, Holt Park, Irvine Nature Center, Lake Roland, Liberty Reservoir – Baltimore County, Marshy Point Nature Center, Milford Mill aka Villa Nova Park, North Point State Park, Northern Central Rail Trail (NCRT), Oregon Ridge Park, and Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area are all located in Baltimore County.
Baltimore City: Cylburn Arboretum ■ Druid Hill Park ■ Fort McHenry National Monument ■ Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center ■ Patterson Park.
Streams and Rivers Mud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal) Lake, Pond, or Reservoir Freshwater Marsh or Floodplain Forested Swamp Bushy Meadows Abandoned Fields, Suburban Neighborhood Upland Leafy Hedgerows Evergreens Leafy Lowland.
Bicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Boat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree – No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsHuntingPets AllowedWater View.
Hunting Locations: Ponds, Lakes, and Reservoirs along the Rivers of the Western Shore.