Ma & Pa Railroad - Rocks State Park

copyright, Peter H. Anderson, Baltimore, MD, Feb, '99


Location.

MD State Route 24 at Lower Parking Lot in Rocks State Park. ADC Map, Page 9, Coord G4. Note that there are two parking lots along Route 24 as it passes through Rocks State Park. The most northern is on the east side of the road and is used by adventure some youth to scale to the King and Queen Seats. The southern lot is on the river side. This discussion starts with the southern lot.

Description.

This half mile is the only portion of the former Maryland and Pennsylvania Rail (Ma & Pa) line which I am aware of that can be hiked in Maryland.

This line meandered some 75 miles between Baltimore and York and traveled through such places as Glen Arm, Fallston, Bel Air, Forest Hill, Rocks and Delta and then on to Red Lion and York. Considering the rail line was abandoned a mere 40 years ago, this certainly is a missed opportunity for Harford County. One need only look to the popularity of the North Central Rail Line which passes through Monkton in Baltimore County which attracts some 500,000 vistors a year.

From the parking lot, look upstream and across Deer Creek and note a large bridge abutement where the Ma and Pa crossed Deer Creek and the current Route 24. Hike north along Route 24 a short distance to a cut on the uphill side.

This cut parallels Route 24, south and east to the limits of the Park and then crosses through the back yards of residences on Indian Echo Road. I usually descend to Route 24 near the park boundary and return via Route 24. However, be very aware that Ro ute 24 is a mighty dangerous road. Where possible, consider hiking on the creek side of the guard rail.

A number of blazed hiking trails intersect with this cut. I assume they are a part of Rocks State Park.

The amount of effort in excavating this cut in the rock is impressive. I assume it was necessitated by the fact that the road followed the creek as it currently does and there simply was not room for the rail line as well.