Situated in the upper reaches of Montgomery County, Maryland, the 2,000-plus-acres of Black Hill Regional Park have several great options for paddlers in the Washington, D.C. area. The main body of water in the park is made up of the 505-acre Little Seneca Lake, which has numerous finger-shaped bodies of water extending outward off of it in every direction making it a great spot for exploring inlets and coves along the shores.
Little Seneca Lake starts in the westernmost finger. A man-made lake, it filters under a road through Tenmile Creek before opening up into several more segments. Construction on the lake was finished in 1984, and its purpose is to serve as an emergency water supply for the Washington, D.C. area. Until it's needed for that purpose, Little Seneca Lake is a great spot for paddlers to enjoy some relaxing time on the water.
What Makes It Great
The choices for paddling in Black Hill Regional Park are numerous. Little Seneca Lake itself has many sections. East of Tenmile Creek the lake is broken up into two sections: Cabin Branch to the north and, further east around a few bends, Little Seneca Creek. The latter actually winds through Tenmile Creek and after many twists and turns down smaller creeks eventually empties into the Potomac.
Paddlers can also follow the Black Hill Water Trail, which winds along the middle section of Little Seneca Lake. The trail has 12 stops, each one highlighting a different feature of either the surrounding land or the water itself. A trip around the trail should take you about two hours of leisurely paddling. It’s recommend you bring a lunch and enjoy it along the shores during one of the stops.
Black Hill Regional Park is also offers many activities in addition to paddling, including hiking, mountain biking, or trail running along many miles of trails, picnicking near playgrounds, or visiting the dog park with your furry friends.
Who is Going to Love It
While there is no rushing white water to give thrill-seekers a turbo-charged ride here, paddling around Little Seneca Lake is a different kind of thrill. You can go at any speed you'd like and the water trail is a fantastic way to see what the land—and water—has to offer. Bring the kids, bring your grandparents, bring your dogs—everyone will appreciate the beauty of Little Seneca Lake and Black Hill Regional Park as a whole.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Address: 20930 Lake Ridge Dr, Boyds, MD 20841
The park is open from sunrise to sunset all year round.
The park is located off 270, so if you're in Washington head out of the city and hop on 495. Once you see 270, go north and exit at Ridge Road in Germantown. From there, take 355 north to W Old Baltimore Road, and then turn onto Lake Ridge Drive.