Trail

Rocks State Park - King and Queen PURPLE

Jarrettsville, MD
Length: 1.50 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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Accessing the King and Queen seat can be short or flat. Parking along Rocks Road, access this trail from the parking lot. This hike is short but steep and can be slippery due to rocks and slick leaves. This is afterall the east and north side of the large rock formations. The enjoyable parts of this hike are the rocks themselves. Little legs may need assistance or a boost to climb up rocky steps and boulders.

The first rock formation you’ll find is Gator Rock (Moby Dick) This rock star has a duel identity. To us in the Park this rock formation is called Gator Rock, but to the climbing community its name is Moby Dick. The large stone masses in this area are made up of the “Sykesville Formation” and may have once been part of a natural dam which was eroded by Deer Creek. The “Sykesville Formation” is also found in the Soldiers Delight Area of Patapsco Valley State Park and Rock Creek Park located along the Potomac River in Prince George’s County. This type of formation can also be found in Massachusetts and Newfoundland. The Rocks are made up of magma, sedimentary rock and white quartz that have been changed by heat and pressure caused by the collision of tectonic plates. This process also formed the Appalachian Mountains. These rocks are quite hard and resistant to erosion. It has taken over a thousand years of constant erosion to shape the rocks as they are today.

Continuing Up the trail, climb up the short more uphill section until you intersect with the White trail and hook a right. This takes you immediately to the King and Queen Seat.

The King and Queen Seat
Before this area was ever a state park, vandalism was already a reoccurring event. It is said that when this area consisted of a small village, there was a large boulder weighing many tons which acted as the backrest for the King and Queen. One night four men with long wooden poles pried the rock from behind the seat and it fell to the bottom of the formation, where it still rests today. The owner of the property offered a large reward to anyone who would name those who committed the crime. No one came forward. Later, the surfaces of the rock outcrop were carved with graffiti and inscriptions dating back into the nineteenth century when the site served as a popular local destination reachable by the Ma and Pa Railroad. Today, people use paint and markers on these rocks.
Please remember, graffiti mars the surface of the rocks making it slippery for climbers and unusable as camouflage for insects. Wildlife who utilizes the plant material and minerals found on or in the rocks may become sick after eating the plants or using it as nesting material. Graffiti stands out in this natural setting, so please leave the rocks the way you find them. This way visitors who come after you will be able to enjoy the same views that you have just enjoyed.

Before heading back to your car, skirt along the rocks on the same side, be careful as this trail is rocky and steep…but you can see

North Wall
This star is a favorite of the younger generation. At first glance, this wall is a short hop up, but on the other side it is a long way down. This is the “Beginners” or “The Children’s” wall. Climbing is a popular sport at Rocks and a dangerous one; not everyone can tackle the 190 foot heights of the King and Queen their first time here. Most new climbers to Rocks start here at the North Wall. Youth organizations (like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, private youth camps and children of parents who climb) all start off here learning the basics such as belaying, hand holds and rappelling before trying any climbs on the King and Queen Seat. Others start here to get use to the feel, texture and the way hand holds have formed in these rocks.

From North Wall continue downhill a short ways, and on your right hand side you will meet the next rock star.

Strawberry Jam Pillar
This is the most colorful of our stars. The top portion consists of a reddish brown hue. The color comes from iron particles in the rock that react with oxygen to form rust. The next two layers are a display of lichens. Lichens are not plants; they do not have roots and survive with the ability to tolerate little to no water. This allows them to grow in locations where plants cannot such as rock, sand, and man-made structures like walls and roofs. Lichens are organisms that are part fungus and part algae. The algae produces sugar through photosynthesis and the fungus gives the algae a place to live. Lichens serve as food for mammals, nest material for at least 50 species of birds, hiding places for small insects, and camouflage for tree frogs and moths that are hiding from animals who would like to eat them. When growing on rock, some lichens contribute to the weathering process releasing nitrogen for other plants to use and gradually turning the rock into soil.

 

If you’d like to have a safer spot to lunch, head up the red trail to the shelter where you can also find bathrooms and a playground and natural play space.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Carrier needed No
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Natural Play Area, Picnic Area, Playground, Shaded Hike, and Viewpoint

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

No fee required if you park at lot described.
Picnic areas are open 9 a.m. to sunset from March to October, and 10 a.m. to sunset from November to February. There is a service charge ($3/Maryland resident, $5 out-of-state on weekends and summer holidays; and $3/Maryland vehicle, $5/out-of-state vehicle on weekdays) to enter the picnic areas. Park Passport holders, Universal Disability Pass holders, seniors (with a Golden Age Pass), and children in car seats are free.
http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/Rocks/Picnicking-Pavillions.aspx

Trail Contributor

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Hey! I started as a BA in 2016 because I was looking for ways to not only connect with other outdoor fanatics but to also find a way to encourage new parents and caretakers the courage and support to find ways to get outside. There is no greater joy than watching a child come alive outside! I am happy to help you find the best- for you- Trails, Parks and Epic Play areas in and around Maryland….and add some fun facts in the mix.

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Trail Map

Getting There

From Point South: Take Route 24 North (Rocks Road). For the Rocks State Park Office: turn left on Rocks Chrome Hill Road, and office will be on your right. For the Rapids Area parking lot: continue past Rocks Chrome Hill Road, and the Rapids Area will be on your left. For the Rock Ridge Picnic Area: turn left on Saint Clair Bridge Road, and the Rock Ridge Picnic Area will be on your left.
From Points North: Take Route 24 South (Rocks Road). For the Rock Ridge Picnic Area: turn right on Saint Clair Bridge Road, and the Rock Ridge Picnic Area will be on your left. For the Rapids Area parking lot: continue past Saint Clair Bridge Road, and the Rapids Area will be on your right. For the Rocks State Park Office: turn right on Rocks Chrome Hill Road, and the office will be on your right.