Trips and Tips

Featured Events This Week


Billy Goat Challenge
Enjoy a challenging eight-mile hike along the Potomac River from Carderock with the Sierra Club. An Instagram-perfect hike along Billy Goat Trails "A" and "C." But even this roughly 8-mile hike along the Potomac River is not for newbies, slowpokes, or acrophobes. Billy Goat A is famous for its boulder scrambles and a short scamper along a cliff. "C" entails more dirt trails than rock scrambles, but they also feature a few boulders. Bring your camera! (Sorry, no kids or pets.) Dec. 16, 10am-2:30pm; Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Carderock. More details.

Explore Patuxent Research North Tract
Enjoy a three-mile hike with some birding, tree identification and more with the PG County Sierra Club. At the North Tract of the Patuxent Research Refuge, there are miles of trails through fields and forest. Practice your winter tree identification among the beeches, oaks and pines and discover little islands of greenery. If we're lucky, we might see some interesting birds. This 3 mile walk on natural surface trails (some roots and branches to step over and some muddy spots) will take about 2.5 hours. It is best for adults and children 8 years old and older. Ditch the shopping mall. Let's spend an afternoon outside. Dec. 16, 1pm-3:30pm; Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel. Registration and more information.

Middle River Christmas Bird Count
Birders of all levels of expertise or experience are welcome and urged to participate in this annual Baltimore Bird Club post-migration bird census in eastern Baltimore County. The area being surveyed is in a 15 mile diameter circle in eastern Baltimore County, encompassing Fort Howard up to Days Cove at the mouth of the Gunpowder. This is a count of all birds seen or heard in the count circle. Count totals will be submitted to the National Audubon Society for nationwide publication. Dec. 15, 7am-4:30pm. Contact for area assignment.

Visit SERC’s Pepper the Robot
Meet the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s new robot docent, Pepper! Pepper can dance, play games, pose for photos and tell stories SERC science. Pepper will be greeting visitors at our Reed Education Center. Dec. 15, 2:30pm-4:30pm; Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater. More details.

Winter Birds - Sandy Point State Park
Join an experienced birder on a walk to see and learn about winter birds on the Chesapeake Bay. Bring a pair of binoculars and a bird guide if you have one. Park entrance fee of $3/vehicle applies. Dec. 16, 8am-9:30am; Annapolis. More details.

Winter Wonderland at the Ward Museum
The Ward Museum in Salisbury invites you to a free celebration and their lobby is decked out for the holidays! There will be artist demos, winter crafts for the young and young at heart, a photo booth, and you can even visit Santa for a picture! Free admission to the Galleries and special discounts at Treetops Gifts! Dec. 15, 10am-2pm; Salisbury. More details.



Shenandoah’s Winter Vistas Hike
Beginning at Pinnacles Picnic Area, hike south on the Appalachian Trail with the Sierra Club. Take in westerly views from the ridge that are typically hidden by leaves in the summer. Then pick up the Passamaquoddy Trail around Stony Man Mountain and begin the ascent to the summit. At the top you’ll enjoy a picturesque 270’ vista of the valley from 4,000 feet up. With inspiring new selfies to share, return via the AT to Pinnacles and regroup back to Vienna. Dec. 16, 8am-3pm; Shenandoah National Park, Thornton Gap. More details.

Caledon Night Before Christmas Wagon Ride and Story
Sing holiday songs, while taking a wagon ride through the winter woods at Caledon State Park. Bring a warm blanket, your singing voice, a sense of humor, and the family - young and old. We will sing holiday songs while taking a wagon ride through the winter woods. After the ride we will return to the visitor center for hot chocolate and a reading of the classic holiday story, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. $3 per person or $8 for the whole family. Dec. 13-16 and 20-22; Caledon State Park, King George. More information and reservations.

Luminary Nights at Natural Bridge
Enjoy an evening stroll under the Natural Bridge this December with our third annual Luminary Nights. Cedar Creek Trail will be lined with candle-light luminaries and the bridge will be lit with festive colors. This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. The event entrance fee is $3 per person, or $8 per family. Proceeds will benefit the Friends of Natural Bridge State Park, which is a non-profit that helps fund park projects and makes community events like this happen. Dec. 15, 5pm-8pm; Natural Bridge State Park; Natural Bridge. More details.

Geo Series: Ice Age at Stratford Hall
Based on his recent discoveries, United States Geological Survey (USGS) paleontologist Bryan Landacre will provide participants with an in depth discussion of the vegetation and climate that existed in the Stratford region 1.5 million years ago. USGS emeritus geologist Robert Weems will follow with a discussion of the Ice Age animals that we now know lived within this landscape. Together, these talks will provide participants with a vivid picture of the Stratford Hall region during the Ice Age, a past time at Stratford that until recently was thought to have been lost forever. After the lectures guests will be transported to Stratford’s beach where they will have access to areas inaccessible to the public. Once at the beach, guests will have the opportunity to search for fossils, sharks teeth, and get up close and personal with Stratford’s cliffs! $25 per person’ pre-registration encouraged. Dec. 15, 9:30am-12:30pm; Stratford Hall Plantation, Stratford. More details.

A Washington Family Christmas
Celebrate the holiday season at George Washington's birthplace with colonial music, costumed interpreters and candlelight. The Washington family celebrated the 12 days of Christmas which begin on Christmas Day and end on January 6. The Memorial House will be decorated for the holidays and filled with colonial music. The plantation will be busy with demonstrations and activities performed by costumed interpreters. The park will be illuminated at dusk with candles. This is a free event. Dec. 15,  10am-7pm; George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Colonial Beach. More information.



Rock Creek Park Holiday Open House
The historic Old Stone House is reopening just in time for the holiday season after some structural rehabilitation and exhibit updates. There will be fun for all ages, including games, crafts, and more. Stay as long as you like. This is a drop-in event. Rock Creek Conservancy will be there too, so stop by to get your #LoveRockCreek stickers. Dec. 15, 1pm-6pm; Rock Creek Park. More information.


Natural Ornament Workshop
Create your own tree decorations from natural materials like pine cones and acorns. All the paint, glitter, and glue you need to get creative will be provided. Suggested donation of $2 per person. Dec. 15, 11am-3pm; Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, Columbia. More details.

November 30, 2018

Main image: Billy Goat Trail, Barbara J. Saffir photo
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