The Savage Mill Trail in Savage Park travels along the rolling Patuxent River through the grounds of an old cotton mill. In the early 1800s, Savage was a major manufacturing center, harnessing power produced by the falls on the Little and Middle Patuxent rivers. Near the trailhead stands an 1822 textile mill, today renovated as a shopping center where you can buy antiques or grab a picnic lunch to enjoy on the pleasant 1-mile trail.
The trail begins at an old Bollman truss bridge, an iron structure used exclusively by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Built in 1869, the bridge was moved to Savage in 1887. Though the company built about 100 of these bridges before 1873, only two of Mr. Bollman's bridges still exist in the States. The train tracks have been left in place on one side of the bridge, so you can imagine the train passing beside you as you ride or walk over this piece of history.
Most of the trail is paved and flat, but the surface changes to gravel and then dirt before it ends abruptly in the middle of the woods. Although you are near a major highway, and the bustle of the shopping center, the music of the river rolling over large boulders and the white oaks surrounding the trail create the impression that you're in the wilderness.
It's easy to stop and savor the natural oasis at one of the trail's many picnic tables. The Savage Mill Trail is part of a larger, 20-mile system of pathways through Howard County. For a more challenging trip, hit the Patuxent Branch Trail, which begins a few blocks away.
From Interstate 95, take State Route 32/Patuxent Parkway east to merge onto US 1/Baltimore Washington Boulevard, heading south. Turn right on Gorman Road then right on Foundry Street. The Savage Mill parking lot is on your left.