If you’re new to Hopkins, you’ve probably noticed that we don’t exactly have mountains anywhere nearby. Baltimore isn’t known as an outdoor mecca. But don’t fret: There are a multitude of great hiking spots in and around Baltimore. Look at a city map and you’ll see swaths of green spattered across good old Bmore and even more of it out on the edges. Just half an hour north of Homewood, Loch Raven Reservoir offers a perfect escape from the red brick and repetition of Charles Village.
While it’s definitely possible to bike there, you may want to rent a Zipcar or convince a friend to drive you. Trust me — it’s worth the trip. Pull off the highway, park on some sketchy-looking gravel and put on your boots. There are many trails around the reservoir (which can be found at lochraventrails.com), but one of the best requires you to hike across the Dulaney Valley Road bridge. Climb over the guardrail on the left side and take a quick downhill-uphill to the rocks on the ridge. (You’ll have a prime photo op.) You’re on Merryman Trail, which loops down by the water, up some healthy inclines and can go all around the reservoir if you’re feeling ambitious. About two and a half miles in there’s a fairly natural turnaround for those of you who just want a morning outside and need to hurry back to B-level.
But wait, there’s more. Just four miles from Loch Raven Reservoir is a hidden gem of a creamery. For those of you who like ice cream, fresh milk, amazing yogurt or just want to get a look at cows, get ready to geek out. The Prigel Family Creamery is an adorable outpost plopped in the middle of a lovely green pasture. With two dozen flavors, cute decor and REALLY affordable pricing, you may find yourself wanting to stay for a second cone. Pro tip: Bring a cooler bag. Prigel Family Creamery sells beautiful ice cream cakes and pies, as well as quarts full of creative flavors like “Peanut Butter Pretzel Squirl.” Priced at less than $6, a quart-to-go is a must. Head back to Hopkins happy and rejuvenated from a day full of nature and delicious ice cream.