Self-Guided Opportunities
Location Gunpowder Falls State Park, Hereford Area, 410-592-2897
Access Parking area and trailhead are on Bunker Hill Road. From I-83, take exit 27 onto Mount Carmel Road heading east. Turn left heading north on York Road. Just north of Hereford High School turn left onto Bunker Hill Road and follow it to the end. Access river with your tubes from the picnic area. Spot a car at York Road or arrange for someone to pick you up at the conclusion of the trip.
Distance 0.9 miles from Bunker Hill Road to York Road
Time 1 hour
Skill Level Easy
Suitable For Families? Yes, children must use life jackets
Hazards/Restrictions No bicycles or motorized vehicles in wildlands. Pets must be on a leash. The water in the Big Gunpowder Falls is a chilly 55 degrees year-round, even in the summer. Plan to take breaks as needed and bring a change of clothes to warm up.
Potable Water Water and restrooms are available at Camp Wood near the Bunker Hill trailhead.
Natural Features The Big Gunpowder Falls flows through calm sections and a series of bouldery rapids through hard, erosion-resistant mica schist rock.
This area provides habitat for trees adapted to cool hillsides, including river birch, cherries, oaks, hemlocks, mountain laurel, dogwood, spicebush and witch hazel.
Early spring wildflower displays include hepatica, bloodroot, spring beauty, rue anemone and pink ladies slippers.
Late summer flowers include goldenrod, asters and woodland sunflowers.
Beaver activity in the river, evidenced by gnawed trees, is common.
Numerous brown trout thrive in pools in the cool water.
Historic/Cultural Features None
Camping Organized youth group camping is available nearby at Camp Wood on Bunker Hill Road. Call the park for reservations, 410-592-2897. A private recreation park offering camping is located in the Hereford Area.
Other Points of Interest Twenty miles of trails are located in the Hereford Wildlands and also surround Prettyboy Reservoir. Flyfishing for trout is a popular activity in the river. Kayakers and canoeists test their skills in the moving water.
Other Accommodations The Mill Pond Cottage, a quaint park-owned home located on Masemore Road, has been renovated for overnight rental accommodations. Call 410-592-2897. A bed and breakfast is located in Parkton.
Service Charges or Permits Youth group camping permit or overnight rental fees for accommodations only.
Description The pools and riffles along the Big Gunpowder Falls make for a float trip that is both lazy and relaxed, with some excitement. Bunker Hill Road and York Road provide easy put-in/take-out locations for tubing, with gentle grassy areas on the banks of the stream.
This trip is best on the hottest of summer days, because water temperatures do not go above 60 degrees, due to the releases from the cold waters at the depths of Prettyboy Reservoir to maintain the trout fishery. Along the way you may be treated to the sights of belted kingfishers or beaver evidence. The steep-sided wooded stream ravine is habitat for rich vegetation that loves cool hillsides, such as mountain laurels and hemlocks. Picnic tables are available at Bunker Hill Road for those who like to make a day trip.

  • Country Walks Near Baltimore (Alan Fisher)
  • The Baltimore Trail Book (Suzanne Meyer Mittenthal)
  • Gunpowder Falls State Park trail map, available from the park
  • Gunpowder Falls State Park homepage
Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Bring your own inner tube and life jacket
  • Small first aid kit
  • Water and a snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Wear clothes and shoes that can get wet
  • Have a towel and change of clothes ready, as the river temperatures are chilly