Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 24, 2024

An exploration of parks and trails near campus

By BAILEY ROBERTSON | November 14, 2019



The Jones Falls Trail is one of the best outdoor options near campus.

Many students may believe that the extent of nature which can be found in Baltimore are the trees immediately surrounding campus. However, there are many places nearby full of outdoorsy opportunities for those who feel like exploring nature when they’re not studying for their exams. While not spectacularly expansive, there are areas nearby which are within walking distance from campus. These options provide opportunities for running, hiking or biking depending on what you prefer.

The furthest, yet most rewarding, is the trek to Lake Roland. Located near the intersection of Falls Road and Lake Avenue on the northern side of the city, Lake Roland boasts a Nature Center and multiple hiking trails near the lake. Easy for running or walking, the paths wind through nature and range from one mile to four miles. The red trail (four miles) is particularly flat and good for off-road biking.

The park is also dog friendly and has an off leash dog park for your furry friends as well. The area surrounding Lake Roland is perfect for forgetting that you’re in a city, without actually having to leave Baltimore.

More familiar to the runners on campus is the Gilman Trail, which runs from the Recreation Center all the way to the Gilman School. 

This trail winds through local neighborhoods and follows a small stream the entire way up to the Gilman School. While the presence of the city is more prominent than in the Lake Roland area, the Gilman Trail still manages to maintain a more suburban feeling, while still remaining very close to campus. 

The trail itself is about 3.5 miles long and, while narrow in some areas, is still accessible for off-road bikes. Not only that, but there are also many interesting sights to stop at and explore throughout the trail that showcase what northern Baltimore has to offer.

Finally, the nearest to campus is the Jones Falls Trail route, which depending on the direction can either take you north through Druid Hill Park or south into Inner Harbor. The northern end of the Jones Falls Trail surrounds Druid Hill Park and extends up to the Cylburn Arboretum. While exploring Druid Hill Park, make sure to stop by the Moorish Tower which has overlooked the city since the 1800s and offers a view of the scenic cityscape at sunset.

Traveling the Jones Falls Trail in the southern direction will take you through the city of Baltimore, all the way down into Inner Harbor if you’re that ambitious. Going this way, you’ll pass by man-made water features (along with some interesting graffiti) as well as the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The Jones Fall Trail is a good way to get to know Baltimore more intimately and discover interesting areas that you would’ve never thought existed in the city. The entire trail is paved with asphalt, so it is rather easy to run or walk and appropriate for any type of bike.

Fortunately, students do not have to limit themselves to Wyman Park when exploring the outdoors. There are multiple options available for students to try if they are willing to explore Baltimore. Whether you are interested in getting some exercise, becoming one with nature or finding the perfect artsy photo for Instagram, there’s something nearby for you.

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