At a Glance

Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Cost: Free.

Tips: In late fall and winter, horse hoofprints on muddy trails become frozen, making walking difficult. Sturdy hiking boots, with hard soles, are recommended. ◾ No restrooms.

Hunting: Hunting is allowed in designated sections of Morgan Run; be aware of hunting seasons and visit accordingly.

Best Seasons: Year-round.

Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Winfield NE, Finksburg NW, Finksburg CW

Local MOS Chapter: Carroll County Bird Club

Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area

4000 Benrose Lane, Sykesville, MD 21784
(410) 461-5005

Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area (NEA) is comprised of approximately 1400 acres of natural area. The entire area has been left alone, with well-maintained trails but no unnecessary “improvements,” making it a perfect place to bird. A 499-acre section of Morgan Run has been set aside as a State Wildland, with restrictions to protect the sensitive habitat and allowing only passive recreation.

Morgan Run NEA has a wide variety of habitats and, thus, a wide diversity of bird species. In fact, the first thing you notice at Morgan Run is bird activity: songbirds flitting about, shuttling from the tall trees to the regenerating fields and their many nesting boxes, while within the woods woodpeckers and small songbirds make their incessant noises and hawks and turkey vultures wheel overhead. A pair of Long-eared Owls was seen for a period in early winter one year. Flocks of turkeys are seen by local residents, but usually heard rather than seen by birders.

The Morgan Run itself is a catch and release trout stream. A wheelchair accessible parking lot and an accessible platform for fly fishing are available for anglers or birders. Some, but not all, of the trails are open for biking.


Over 150 species have been reported on eBird from Morgan Run. Some highlights are: Wild Turkey (breeder), American Woodcock (spring migrant), Willow Flycatcher (breeder), Blue-winged Warbler (breeder), Yellow-breasted Chat (breeder). A pair of Long-eared Owls was seen for a period in early winter one year. Flocks of turkeys are often seen by local residents, but usually heard rather than seen by birders.


Free, unpaved lots.

Special Features:

A wheelchair accessible platform for fishing or birding is available on Morgan Run. See the Trail Map at link at left for location of the platform and parking. ◾ Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area is contained within the Patapsco Valley Important Bird Area as designated by the National Audubon Society. ◾ Additionally, part of the Morgan Run NEA has been designated by Maryland DNR as a State Wildland,with special protections in place that limit uses and development. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Carroll County Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.


From the Baltimore Beltway/I-695, take Exit 18 to go west on MD Route 26/Liberty Road. Liberty Road will take you across the dam at the south end of Liberty Reservoir. Continue going west on Liberty Road through Eldersburg. At Dorsey Crossroads, make a right to go north on MD Route 97/Old Washington Road. From Rt. 97 north, make a right turn to go east on Bartholow Road and then turn left onto Jim Bowers Road, followed by an immediate left onto Benrose Lane. Follow Benrose Lane north to its terminus at the Morgan Run entrance.

Nearby Sites:

Liberty Reservoir CWMA – Bollinger Mill Road; Liberty Reservoir Cooperative Wildlife Management Area – Baltimore County


Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Rivers & Streams


Bicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)FishingFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsHuntingNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsParkingPets AllowedWheelchair Accessible Features


Audubon Important Bird AreasHunting AreasState Natural Areas & WildlandsState Parks