Hike the Susquehanna Ridge Trail at Susquehanna State Park

Rate this Adventure Susquehanna Ridge Trailhead

A riverside hike through old growth forests with a pit stop at a 200-year-old gristmill and mansion.

What is it with Harford County and its slew of awesome parks?

Nestled in the Northeast corner of Maryland, between the Chesapeake Bay and the river it takes its name from, Susquehanna State Park is gorgeous. A couple miles and a world away from I-95, SSP is expansive and lush. There are 15 miles of trails in the park, and the longest and most difficult is the Ridge Trail. 

An out-and-back trail of 3 miles, you can start your hike at either the southern trailhead near the boat ramp (marked on the map) or the northern terminus, located on the western edge of the Deer Creek picnic area (see park map here).  The trail is well-blazed in red. From the south, the trail is accessed from Lapidum Road and climbs immediately and sharply up the ridge. (There are a few other climbs along the way that make this an "intermediate" trail, but certainly don't be scared away by what the park has mislabeled "extremely difficult.") From here you will catch glimpses of the Susquehanna River, remarkably wide at its delta and full of boulders. The best views are probably had in the winter, but who can resist a cool, leafy forest on a summer day?

After 1.5 miles, the trail will descend into the historic Rock Run Mill area. This is a nice place to stop and rest (and learn something!) before beginning the second half of the hike. There are restrooms nearby.

Much like the first, the second half of the hike climbs quickly before meandering through an old-growth forest of maple and sycamore. The trail here is full of rocks and roots, making for a bit of a hopscotch. The trail dead-ends at the picnic area, or you can follow the green blazes of the Deer Creek Trail to the Lower Susquehanna River Heritage Greenway. This path will allow you to loop back south (diverting right from the LSRHG at the first fork) to the Rock Run Mill area and give you access to the river's fish-able, swim-able banks. Keep your eyes out for the beautiful herons that wade these waters.  

Pack List

  • Good boots with ankle support
  • Sunscreen
  • Bugspray
  • Camera
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RT Distance 6 Miles
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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