Hidden scenic drives of Maryland


Photo by Leah Pratt

A scenic gravel road can be found located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain and enjoyed by all who drive past.

Along with road-rage inducing bumper-to-bumper traffic, Maryland is home to scenic views.

Being one of the original 13 colonies, this state holds historic sites dating back to the Civil War and even the first settlers. Many of these sites are just a scenic drive away. “I love the drives around rural Maryland; they are the best if you know where to look,” senior Eli Bull said.

River Road and Route 28 are the two closest drives to the Rockville area. The drive along River Road has windy turns and is stoplight-free but it’s worth mentioning the abundance of hiking trails and locks along the way. “I enjoy Riley’s Lock and other Potomac locks,” senior Esther Pustylnik said.

Riley’s Lock is known for its trail along the canal, fishing spots and water activities. “I love stopping by the lock. However, if you do go overboard while boating, I recommend that you avoid getting a lungful of water, considering it is the Potomac River,” senior Madeline Press said.

Past Riley’s Lock further down River Road there is a right-hand turn onto Partnership Road, which leads to the small town of Poolesville. This particular road showcases small farms with horses, sheep and more. Another way to get to Poolesville is to take Route 28. There is a fork in the road just past the winery and the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail. Sticking to the right eventually leads to Sugarloaf Mountain, while going to the left goes to Poolesville. During spring and summer, this small town occasionally hosts festivals full of food vendors, petting zoos, local business shops, live music, car shows and more. Regardless of the time of year, the rural drive to Poolesville stays the same. “I love driving to Poolesville,” Pustylnik said.

Staying to the right of the fork and continuing down Route 28 leads to more expansive drives. This drive features acres of farmland and gardens such as Lewis Orchard. Past the orchard is Beallsville. Continuing straight through the traffic light at Beallsville eventually leads to Sugarloaf Mountain, but taking a right onto Beallsville Road is the way to go to see vast rolling hills of farmland, forests and old country-style houses surrounded by greenery and lush gardens. This road leads to old towns such as Barnesville and Comus. At any point along the way, one can simply drive back toward Sugarloaf Mountain and find Route 28, which leads all the way back to Gaithersburg and Rockville. “The best times to take these drives are during Autumn, especially when the fall colors are at their peak, Spring for obvious reasons and mid to late summer when the cornfields are at full growth,” Bull said.

If time and money allow there are also routes outside of state lines that are well worth the trip. Skyline Drive at Shenandoah contains great hiking trails and popular scenic overlooks of vast hills, valleys and sunset views.