Waterworks Park is a hidden gem in Annapolis, featuring miles upon miles of trails for hiking and biking through the woods, picnic spots, and three fishing ponds.
Quick Look at Waterworks Park
Address: 260 Defense Highway, Annapolis, MD
Parking: Free Housley Rd. (Permit req. Rt. 450)
The main entrance to the park is on Route 450, but to park there you need a permit (which you can apply for here).
However, you are allowed to park outside Waterworks Park and come in on foot or by bike. The easiest spot to enter is on Bestgate Road, across from the parking lot nearest to Pet Smart. If you’ve ever driven through that area on a weekend you may have noticed a line of cars parked along the side of Bestgate. The entrance to the park is just ahead of those cars. It’s merely a cut into the woods (see photo), but just a few steps in you’ll find a trail map.
Where to start
You’ll start at the Housley Loop, which is a one-mile trail loop through the woods, up and down with some slopes. We always have a ton of fun at Waterworks; the kids love finding little tree frogs, listening to birds and spotting cool shapes in fallen trees. The scenery is always lovely, even in the winter, and if you’re hiking, you can see oncoming bikers well ahead of time to step off the trail and out of their way.
About halfway through the loop, you can hop off the trail and head down toward the Missing Link path, which takes you to the dam and South Reservoir. Around the lake you’ll find people fishing and there’s a picnic pavilion across the lake. Here you’ll also find the entrance to the .5-mile paved Reservoir Trail, and the Overlook Loop (.5 mile) and Woodland Trail Loop (1 mile), which parallel the reservoirs to the east.
What’s more, if you’re up for a great big adventure, you can keep hiking or biking all the way to Bacon Ridge Natural Area via a connected series of trails that starts at the dam and the Solar Loop Trail. Find out more on the connecting trails from Waterworks to Bacon Ridge here.
For more information on the park, check out the park brochure.