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Underground Railroad Experience Trail

Volunteer guides lead groups on Underground Railroad trail, 2005
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
16501 Norwood Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Program & General Information: 301-650-4373


Underground Railroad Experience HikeFree Weekly Guided Underground Railroad Hikes

Runaway Slave ImageThe Underground Railroad Experience Trail hikes commemorate the involvement of Montgomery County residents in the Underground Railroad and celebrates the Quaker heritage and traditions of Sandy Spring.

Free guided hike lasts 2.5 hours and is provided by talented volunteer "conductors" who lead groups on a simulated Underground Railroad experience covering 2.0 miles from Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park along a wooded, natural surface trail to the historic Sandy Spring, then back to the park.

Hikers learn about various techniqes that "freedom seekers" used to elude trackers, find food, and navigate their way North to freedom. The Underground Railroad Experience Trail is part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program. Please let us know if your group (10 or more) is interested in a guided hike during the week and call us at 301-650-4373.

2016 Schedule and Times
  • April 2 - June 25 | Guided Hike begins at 10:00 am
  • July 2 - August 27| Guided Hike begins at 9:00 am
  • September 3 - October 29 | Guided Hike begins at 10:00 am
Woodlawn Stone Barn, built 1832.What to know before you hike ...
  • NO reservations are needed for Saturday hikes.
  • One (1) hike is held each Saturday morning, starting at 10:00 am.
  • Hike lasts about 2.5 hours and begins at the Stone Barn in the Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park.
  • For large groups (10 or more) joining the Saturday hikes, please contact Park staff in advance of your visit.
  • Guided hikes are usually conducted rain or shine.
  • For your safety, we do not hike during heavy rain or downpours, high winds, stormy or poor trail conditions, so please call ahead to make sure the park will be open.
  • Interpretive content is suitable for children ages 8 and up.
  • Only therapeutic animals are allowed on the guided hikes. Please leave all pets at home.
  • Wear comfortable shoes suitable for hiking.
  • Trail is not ADA-accessible and not suitable for all strollers.
  • Tick season is here! Be ready to hike outdoors - Learn more.

NOTE: In the event of severe weather, please call ahead to make sure the park will be open. On Saturday mornings, please call 301-650-4373 and a recorded message will advise you of the park hours.

Self-Guided Hikes Underground Railroad Experience Trail Viciinty Map

Park Hours: The park is open dawn to dusk to the public. Parking is available behind the Manor House.
This 2.0 mile trail is natural surface and includes interpretive sign markers keyed to the trail map that may be downloaded from this site. Trail stops include Woodlawn Manor and the Stone Barn and the Sandy Spring itself. One half-mile north of the spring is a 300 year-old Champion White Ash tree. The trail activities include hiking and horesback riding, bicycles are not permitted on this trail.

The time is the 1850s. The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, have helped make Sandy Spring a prosperous farming and commercial center. The Friends Meeting House, built in 1817, is the center of religious and community life. Even though slavery will not be abolished in Maryland until 1864, Maryland Quakers outlawed the owning of slaves by its members in 1777. In Sandy Spring, free blacks own their own homes and have organized churches, schools, and an array of social clubs although such public gatherings are extremely dangerous in this anti-abolitionist county.

Local patrols and slave catchers stalk the fields and woods. Quakers and free blacks assist escaping slaves via the secret “Underground Railroad”— a system of people and places organized to help slaves escape to freedom. Now you must travel through woods and skirt the edges of farm fields to safely reach the Sandy Spring itself. Can you do it? - download a trail map.

Group Tours

Group Tours Montgomery Parks is proud to be able to offer Group & School Tours of the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, one of our most prominent historic sites to the public. All tours will be presented by trained conductors who will make history come alive for your group.


Become a Volunteer Conductor!

Step back in time and become an Underground Railroad conductor! Volunteer to be a conductor (trail guide) for the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Sandy Spring, Maryland! The Underground Railroad Experience Trail hikes commemorate the involvement of Montgomery County residents in the Underground Railroad and celebrate the Quaker heritage and African American traditions of Sandy Spring. FREE training sessions includes a guided hike on the trail.

Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older, and be able to commit to six Saturdays (or weekdays) per the season through the first weekend of November. SSL hours are eligible. To become a volunteer conductor, please apply online at For more information, please contact 301-650-4373.


Last updated: November 13, 2015