This is a great local park that J and I used to do at least once a week when we lived in the area. It’s surprisingly woodsy for being right in the middle of the Columbia suburbs and has trails for all levels. There are a lot of breweries nearby that you could pair with this hike but we went with one of our old standbys: Hysteria Brewing! Hysteria always makes really really good beer and has a fun indoor space. Let’s check it out!
THE HIKE: Wincopin Trails
Length: Variable (up to ~6 miles)
Elevation Gain: 335ft
Trail use: Hiking, biking, leashed pets
Parking: Medium sized parking lot, overflow on street
Wincopin Trails are located off Vollmerhausen Road in the greater Columbia area and are managed by the Howard County Parks & Rec. There’s a medium-sized parking lot but it does fill up quickly since this is a pretty popular spot! You can also park along the road or in the middle school lot up the road. Just be aware this will add an extra 0.5 mile on either end of your hike and there’s a rather steep hill.
There’s a few different trail combos that you can do here. Check the trailhead map before you get started! For some reason this map isn’t anywhere online and only a few of the trails show up on AllTrails. Wincopin trails are built along the site of an old quarry. Much of the trails around Savage run along old mills and quarries which make for interesting ruins. At the Wincopin Trails there are old bridge supports that now make for great lookout spots over the river. All of the trails in this system are clearly blazed and there are directional signposts throughout. The Red trail leads from the parking lot and then branches off into others. The Blue and Green trails go along the river while the Red takes you along the ridge overlooking the river. There are some steep inclines that keep the trail interesting. I’ve done this trail multiple times in tennis shoes so hiking boots aren’t a necessity. This trail is popular so if you want to get away, take the less trod White trail that wanders through the woods overlooking the Middle Patuxent River. It’s a fairly easy hike but with little inclines that keep you on your toes.
This is a great hike to see birds, butterflies, and mushrooms! We always see tons of mushrooms here which J loves. I really like this trail because you can come for a quick walk or stay for a fairly long hike. If you were to do all of the trails including the white out and back, it would likely be about 6 miles. This is also a great one to bring the kiddos on! My only complaint about this park is that in certain areas you can really hear the highway sounds from I-95 which kinda shatters the whole woodsy experience.
THE BEER: Hysteria Brewing Company
Address: 9570 Berger Rd suite j, Columbia, MD 21046
Distance from Trail Head: 3.4 miles, 8 mins
Food?: Bullhead Pit Beef in the very next suite!
H&H Rating: 5/5
There are a ton of breweries in Columbia so you could easily turn your post-hike into a brew tour or just pick one of your favorites. Hysteria was one of the first breweries we went to when we moved to Maryland and it has stayed at the top of our list! They have a huge wrap around bar with tons of seating and lots of tables and chairs too. And keep an eye out for their furry mascot painted on the walls! They also have some tables in the back with some pub games like corn hole and bucket toss. New for Covid, they’ve also set up some tables and chairs outside in the parking lot. Because they don’t have their own kitchen, dogs are more than welcome and you’ll usually see lots of four-legged friends. If you’re feeling hungry, Hysteria has a great partnership with Bullhead Pit Beef right next store! Or you can always bring your own.
Okay onto the beer. Hysteria makes my favorite Maryland beer. Like ever. You may have heard of it. It’s a little thing called Trash Panda. Even if you’re not into the Hazy IPA fad, you should really try this one because it’s Ah-mazing! And I might be a little biased because once a year they do “Trash Panda Day” and make at least ten different varieties of their headliner beer and it always falls on my birthday. It’s fate! Hysteria also makes some other really good beers and frequently collaborates with other Maryland breweries. I love me a good collab! Last time we went, we got a really nice crisp lager that really hit the spot after a sweaty hike. J went for the black IPA which is a style that I’m still unsure about but this one was pretty good! I love that Hysteria always has something new and interesting on tap while keeping a few favorites around. You can also find Hysteria beer in stores around Maryland!
Hysteria will always be a favorite for us! We need to check out their new taproom in Pasadena soon!
- Be Kind, Please Rewind – Lager – 5%
- Ultimate Dreamy Teamy – Black IPA – 7.5%
- Trash Panda – NEIPA – 7.2% → Probably my favorite Maryland beer!
Wincopin trails are managed by Howard County Parks & Rec and are located near Columbia. They are open for hiking, biking, and leashed pets. There’s no fee but the parking lot usually fills up. The trails are nice and woodsy with some interesting architectural ruins and rocky inclines. There are several different trails that can be combined to make a longer hike. Nearby is Hysteria Brewery which allows dogs and has a partnership with the takeout restaurant next door if you’d like food. They make excellent beer and have an eclectic design inside. This is a great option for a weekday hike or if you don’t have a ton of time on the weekend!