Seneca Creek State Park

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Seneca Creek State Park
Maryland State Park
Remains of the Black Rock Mill in Seneca Creek State Park MD.jpg
Remains of Black Rock Mill
Country United States
State Maryland
County Montgomery
Elevation 220 ft (67 m) [1]
Coordinates 39°08′42″N 77°15′23″W / 39.14500°N 77.25639°W / 39.14500; -77.25639Coordinates: 39°08′42″N 77°15′23″W / 39.14500°N 77.25639°W / 39.14500; -77.25639 [1]
Area 6,283 acres (2,543 ha) [2]
Established Unspecified
Management Maryland Department of Natural Resources
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Location in Maryland
Website: Seneca Creek State Park

Seneca Creek State Park is a Maryland state park encompassing approximately 6,300 acres (2,500 ha) in Montgomery County and extending along 14 miles of Seneca Creek to the Potomac River.[3]

Activities and amenities[edit]

Clopper Lake
Clopper Lake

The developed portion of the park centers on 90-acre (36 ha) Clopper Lake and the Clopper Lake Day Use Area which is bounded by Clopper Road (to the north), Longdraft Road (to the east), Great Seneca Highway (to the south), and Riffleford Road (to the west) in Gaithersburg.[4] The lake was created for recreational use and flood control by damming Long Draught Creek, a tributary of Seneca Creek, in 1975.[5] Clopper Lake averages a depth of 18 feet (5.5 m), has shallow enclaves, and is stocked with largemouth bass, tiger muskie, channel catfish, sunfish, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish.[5] Boating is available on the lake.[3]


The park contains 50 miles (80 km) of trails, some in the CLDUA, and 12 miles (19 km) in the Schaeffer Farm Trails Area. Trails are used for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. The Lake Shore Trail loops around Clopper Lake.[4] The Seneca Creek Greenway Trail follows the entire length of Great Seneca Creek for 16.5 miles (26.6 km) from Route 355 to the Potomac River.[3][6]


Sections of Seneca Creek can be travelled by kayak, especially south of Route 28, Darnestown Road, or further north during periods of high water. North of Route 28, it may be necessary to portage around trees down across the creek.

Other uses

The park has picnicking facilities, a tire playground, an 27-hole disc golf course, and a restored 19th-century cabin. Hunting is permitted in several areas of the park.[3]


Among the special events held at the park is the annual Winter Lights Festival. Since 1995, the festival has featured a drive-through holiday light show at year's end in the Clopper Lake Day Use Area.[7]

Historic sites[edit]

Remains of Seneca stone cutting mill

The park's historic landmarks include the partially restored Black Rock Mill which has interpretive exhibits featuring a history of area floods. The Seneca Schoolhouse is a restored 19th-century schoolhouse which was built for the children of local quarry laborers. Parts of the park were once part of an estate owned by the Clopper Family. The Woodlands, near the CLDUA, is an area dedicated to commemorating the life of the Clopper Family. A self-guided trail offers visitors a look into life in the area in the 19th century.[3]

Just west of where Seneca Creek empties into the Potomac is the Seneca Quarry. Remains of the stone cutting mill, built in 1837, still stand off Tschiffely Mill Road, though there are no interpretive signs. The mill cut the red sandstone for the Smithsonian Castle.[8] Above the quarry site is the restored quarry masters house. Both are part of the state park.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1999 film The Blair Witch Project was partially filmed in the Seneca Creek State Park.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Seneca Creek State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "FY2013 DNR Owned Lands Acreage Report" (PDF). Maryland DNR. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Seneca Creek State Park". Maryland DNR. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Seneca Creek State Park Map (CLDUA)" (PDF). Maryland DNR. September 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Inland Fishing, Clopper Lake". Maryland DNR. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Seneca Creek State Park Map (All Areas)" (PDF). Maryland DNR. September 2014. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Winter Lights Festival". City of Gaithersburg. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ Sheir, Rebecca (March 30, 2012). "From Stone to Bright Red Structure: A Tour of the Seneca Quarry". WAMU 88.5 FM Metro Connection. American University Radio. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ Peck, Garrett (2012). The Potomac River: A History and Guide. Charleston, SC: The History Press. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1609496005. 
  10. ^ "The Blair Witch Project: Filming Locations". IMDB. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 

External links[edit]