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Maryland's Susquehanna State Park is recognized for challenging hiking and biking trails, camping facilities, rock outcroppings, boating, a museum and restored historical sites. But none of these outshines the Susquehanna River, which sweeps majestically by, beckoning fishermen and nature lovers.
One way to take in the scenic river is by venturing out on the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail along the western bank. The Philadelphia Electric Company built the corridor in 1926 to transport materials from Havre d'Grace on the Chesapeake Bay to the construction site of the Conowingo Dam. The dam was completed in two years and the rail line, no longer needed, became a victim of overgrowth and erosion until the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail was created.
Eventually, it will extend 50 miles along both sides on the river; presently, only 2.5 miles are open. To start the trail from the south, in Susquehanna State Park, go to the north side of the Deer Creek bridge. Near this end, where the trail travels inland to the sparkling Deer Creek, is the site of the early Stafford flint furnace, with a portion of the furnace still standing. Along the way to the impressive 4,648-foot-long, 102-foot-high Conowingo Dam, you'll pass wooded wetlands harboring songbirds and abundant wildflowers, especially in the spring. You may also spot old rail tracks and informational displays with historical and scientific details about the area.
The wide, stone-dust trail is easy to walk or bike, and although there is a dense canopy overhead offering shade in the summer months, the river views are frequent and beautiful. Near the northern end, a viewing platform provides river access to anglers, bird-watchers (the dam is a feeding ground for many varieties) and others.
To start from the south, follow State Route 155 north from Interstate 95 and turn right on Lapidum Road. Take a left on Stafford Road and follow it to Susquehanna State Park and the Deer Creek picnic area on the north end.
To reach the northern trailhead, take Interstate 95 north from Baltimore to Exit 85. Follow SR 22 north to SR 136, continuing north. Upon reaching US 1, go north. Turn right on Shuresville Road and then left on Shures Landing Road. Follow this to Conowingo Dam and look for the trailhead just south of the dam at Fisherman's Park.
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