Rachel Carson Conservation Park covers 650 acres in Montgomery County which was set aside to recognize the county’s most famous environmentalist, Rachel Carson.
Quick Look at Rachel Carson Conservation Park
Address: 22201 Zion Road, Olney, MD 20833
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Pets: Dogs allowed on a leash
Notes: Not stroller friendly, No restrooms or drinking water available
The park has over six miles of trail through the thick woods and along a meadow filled with wildflowers. The trails are dirt and in some places shared with horses and bikes, although you probably won’t pass many people on the trails. What you won’t find are any amenities. Bring drinking water and make sure to pack out your trash. There are no restaurants or restrooms close by.
A huge meadow borders the parking lot off of Zion Road and connects to most of the trails which wind through the forest and along rock outcroppings. Follow The Rachel Carson Greenway Trail until you reach the Hawlings River. Walk along the river until it joins with the Fern Valley Trail and before you know it, you will be back at the meadow and you are sure to see butterflies and birds enjoying the flowers. This looped trail is about 3.5 miles. There are side trails and shortcuts if you want to make your walk shorter, or longer.
The Hawlings River is shallow and creates a happy gurgle over the rocks. Fishing is allowed. The trails are shady, a great relief when it’s hot outside, and there is a steady decline from the meadow to the river. Keep that in mind because eventually you are going to have to hike back up to the parking lot. This park is about as untouched by any development as you will find anywhere. It’s one of Montgomery county’s premier conservation areas and best natural areas.
Looking for more fun parks to explore? See our collection of Park Spotlights for great places to experience nature.