West Friendship Park
12985 Frederick Road, West Friendship, MD 21794
- Size: Approximately 375 acres
- Habitat: Varied. Deciduous woods, scrub, field and edge, wetlands along the Middle Patuxent River, streams, agricultural lands, and two small ponds.
- Best Months: April and May; September to November.
- Coverage Time: At the peak of spring and fall migration, one can easily spend more than a half day exploring this park. Even in winter or when walking for exercise, it would take two to three hours to cover most of the trails.
- Trails/Paths: Trails are predominately mown grass with some packed earth, and crushed gravel. Combined, the trails and paths cover over six miles of the park. The Map of West Friendship Park shows the trails in color.
The Woodland Trails and the Living Farm Heritage Museum Nature Trail (Red) are the longest and with various side trails are easily two miles or more. These trails can be accessed from the Hebb House parking lot or the amphitheater parking lot. The Crop Edge Trail (Yellow) takes one along the agricultural fields and is approximately one mile long. Access from the Woodlands Trail using the Hebb House parking lot or directly from the amphitheater parking lot.
The Mowed Trail (Blue) winds along crops and wooded edges eventually leading to the two ponds, Middle Patuxent River floodplain, and wetlands. It is approximately one and a half miles long. Access is from the amphitheater parking lot.
- Notable Birds: Ross's Goose, Snow Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Sedge Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Summer Tanager, Dickcissel, Lark Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow.
- Amenities: One port-a-pot is available by the barn behind the Hebb House. The Mowed Trail has benches for resting, trash cans, and hitching posts for horses. Other benches are scattered throughout the park. A small children's playground is located inside the gate, close to the one room schoolhouse.
- Handicapped Access: Paths are not suitable for wheelchairs; all are mown grass, gravel, and dirt with some inclines. The paved entrance road however is over a half mile long providing excellent views of the sky, open grasslands, and tree-lined fence rows. Multiple paved spaces allow pulloffs without leaving the vehicle.
- Operation and Hours: Howard County Recreation and Parks rules apply: 7:00 a.m. to dusk or as posted. Please note that the gate is not controlled by Howard County Recreation and Parks. It is best to park near the Hebb House or in the parking area by the amphitheater. Trails can be accessed from either location. Drive in and you risk being locked in! A residence sits on park property next to the park gate.
- Special Attractions: The Hebb House sits near the park entrance and serves as the headquarters for the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club. The club and its members serve as the custodians and curators of the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum located on park grounds and maintain all the trails in this park. For more information go to Farm Heritage.
Many unique and historic pieces of farm machinery can be found along the entrance road. A restored one-room school, a home before electricity, and a milking barn all combine to give the visitor a feel for a way of life "once upon a time" in Howard County
- Howard County Recreation and Parks information
Compiler: Jeff Culler