Oregon ridge nature center council

Now Booking Summer Outreach Programs! Details on the Programs & Events Page.

Now Booking Summer Outreach Programs! Details on the Programs & Events Page.

Here’s everything you need to know!

Hours of Operation

  • The Nature Center is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Business hours are Tuesday thru Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • The Nature Center Building is closed on Mondays and all Baltimore County holidays.
  • The Park grounds are open daily from, sunrise to sunset March thru October.
  • From November thru February Winter hours are in effect, and the Park is open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Groups of 10 – 25 must apply for a Group Gathering Permit no less than 7 days prior to their visit. Groups of 25 or more are only permitted in the park when attending a Nature Center sponsored program or when renting a pavilion. 

Park Rules

  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Dogs/pets must be leashed at all times and waste must be bagged and properly disposed of.
  • Swimming, fishing and the use of personal watercraft are prohibited.
  • Unauthorized motor vehicles and horses are prohibited in the park.
  • Bikes are not permitted on the trails.
  • Open fires, personal grills and weapons are prohibited.
  • Crabs, glass, amplified music or voice and balloons are prohibited.
  • Restroom facilities are only available when the Nature Center building is open (Tuesday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) A spot-a-pot is located in the lake area of the park (seasonal).
  • We are a trash free park, so please bring trash bags and carry your trash out with you.
  • Professional (fee paid) photographers must apply for a permit.
  • Metal Detecting is prohibited.

Trail Map

Oregon Ridge Park Trails have been voted the best in the Baltimore area by many local publications. Our 6-mile network of trails will take you through forest, field and stream habitats. Our Trails range from easy walking to moderate hiking levels of difficulty. Note: There are plans underway for new and improved trails.

Trail Map

click to enlarge

Nature Center and Park Exhibits

The Oregon Ridge Nature Center offers a variety of exhibits that cover the history, wildlife and natural environment of the park. Inside the Nature Center visitors can explore exhibits of flora, fauna and archaeology as well as live animals — including reptiles, amphibians, fish, honeybees and other creatures. Visitors will not want to miss the two raptor mews behind the Nature Center building.

Along the walkway to the Nature Center, visitors will find several outdoor exhibits explaining the past mining and iron furnace operations that took place from 1825 to 1885. There is also a nature classroom building located along the walkway leading to the Nature Center, as well as a restored tenant house and a sugar shack (for maple syrup production). 

This area also includes two hawk mews, a rabbit hutch, a poultry run with chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.  Of special interest to families are several gardens, picnic tables, the Kidd’s Nature Pavilion and a Nature Play Space. Please note that the Nature Play Space is only available for individuals and families. No groups, please.

There are two outdoor exhibits near the Red and Tan trails intersection, about a 15-minute hike from the Nature Center. A Gypsy Moth exhibit can be found at the hilltop gazebo which explains the moth’s life cycle. Along the red trail south (uphill) of the gazebo you will also find an exhibit titled the Mighty Chestnut, adjacent to a small grove of chestnut trees that were planted in 2008. The exhibit describes the efforts to restore the American Chestnut Tree.

Pavilion Rentals

There are 3 pavilions managed by the Nature Center area of the park. These pavilions are available for individual and family use (less than 10 people) when not rented.

Picnic Areas

There are many picnic areas throughout the park. These areas are available for individuals and families of less than 10. (Groups of 10 or more must apply for a Group Gathering Permit to picnic in the park. There is no fee for a Group Gathering Permit.) All Park rules apply. We also ask that all tables be covered while in use. We are a trash free park, so please come prepared with trash bags to carry your trash out with you.

Playgrounds

The Nature Center area of the park has 3 play areas:

The Nature Play Space (located near the Nature Center Building) invites children to use their imagination while playing in an area with natural features. In this area you will find a stage, canoe, sandbox and playhouse for creative play, along with logs, rock and other natural features for active play. This area is available for individuals and families only. No groups, please.

The Tot Lot (located to the east of the Lake Pavilion) provides play opportunities for the youngest nature explorers with age-appropriate features.

The Climbing Playground with Slides (located a short walk beyond the Lake Pavilion) features a structure for active play with a climbing structure and sliding boards. It is recommended for ages 5 – 12.

Story Book Trail

Sponsored by Baltimore County Public Library, this seasonally changing “trail” shows each page of a children’s book on a separate sign as you walk along the pathway and into the meadow.

Historical Signage and Restored Tenant House

In the area near the Nature Center building you will find historical signage related to the Mining History of the park and Water in the 1850s. In addition to the signage, the Restored Tenant House displays artifacts excavated on the site. Tenant House docents provide tours of the Tenant House along with stories of the mining history that took place at this site. Please contact the Nature Center during regular business hours to inquire about the docent-staffed open house dates and times.

Photography in the Park

Professional photographers and videographers must apply for a Photography Permit no less than 7 days prior to their photo shoot. There is no fee associated with the permit. This does not apply to individuals taking photos of nature for personal enjoyment.