Even if you’ve spent considerable time in Druid Hill Park, chances are you haven’t wandered some of its oldest trails on the spookiest weekend of the year.
On Saturday, Oct. 28, the Friends of Druid Hill Park will lead a guided tour of the park’s back hills area from 10 p.m. to midnight. Rather than getting weird, watching horror flicks on your couch and/or eating lots of candy that evening, you can join the volunteers who run the weekly Druid Hill Farmer’s Market for a crisp evening hike through the park’s more remote stretches.
The back hills area is a far cry from the athletic fields and landscaped, grassy sections of the city’s oldest park. A stroll through the winding hills feels a lot like being out in the woods in northern or western Maryland, with a twisty two-lane road shrouded by trees carved between the park’s northwestern edge near Woodberry and the Jones Falls Expressway toward the northern center. The walk can transport you right out from Baltimore’s brick and formstone grids to the woods in mere minutes.
The Friends of Druid Hill Park hold these walks semi-regularly in springtime and throughout the fall, though this one has the added bonus of falling on Halloweekend. The timeframe of 10 p.m. to midnight is unconventional, but enticing for scare-seekers. On the flipside, if that just sounds plain scary, remember that you’ll be among friends for the journey.
Tom Orth, manager of The Friends of Druid Hill Park’s weekly farmer’s market, said they don’t have any Halloween-like components planned for the hike as of now, but there should be plenty of spooky appeal.
Part of that will be a lack of artificial light. “We discourage flashlight use,” he said. “Letting people’s minds and imaginations wander is sometimes better than actually planning something.”
In all seriousness, Orth pointed out that many people are surprised to find the back hills area to be very safe.
“I’m shocked how many times I am in the grocery store and someone will say they came on one of these hikes, and now they walk the back hills all the time with some of their friends,” he said. “It has encouraged use of that area for biking, hiking, jogging. It’s worked, really.”
The walk is about five miles long. There’s a $10 fee that goes to support the group’s free programs at its weekly Wednesday farmer’s markets. Participants are advised to dress for the weather and bring something to snack on. The night hike begins at the Rawlings Conservatory toward the front of the park.
Click here to learn more or, if you’re already sold, here to pre-register.
This story has been updated with comment from the Friends of Druid Hill Park.