The Five Best Paths for Bikes and Hikes
Milder weather is an invitation to fit the trail on foot or wheels.
The BWI Bike Trail is an 11-mile loop around BWI Airport, mainly on a smooth asphalt surface with brief segments on streets with traffic. A spur of the trail by I-97 connects with the Baltimore & Annapolis trail.
The route of the BWI Bike Trail is mostly level, with a couple of bridges and one challenging looping hill approaching Andover Park on the north. The Amtrak station has a drinking fountain, bathroom, and vending machines. Bathrooms are available at Andover Park and the Dixon Aircraft Observation Area on Dorsey Road on the southern end of the loop.
You can park and begin the loop at several spots. Parking lots are available at the Amtrak station, Andover Park, and the Dixon Aircraft Observation Area.
Baltimore and Annapolis Trail
The B&A Trail is mostly level and flat, running15.5 miles along a passenger/freight line from Dorsey Road near BWI airport to the Annapolis waterfront. At the northern end of the B&A Trail, a short spur connects with the BWI Bike Trail. The southern portion of the trail travels through suburban neighborhoods; Glen Burnie, Pasadena, Millersville, Severna Park, and Arnold, ending near the Cromwell Light Rail Station. The trail passes near Marley Station Mall and has a ranger’s station.
Gwynns Falls Trail
A meandering 15-mile trail through West Baltimore communities. The Gwynns Falls Trail begins at the Park-N-Ride near I-70 and the Beltway and courses through historic Franklintown, Leakin Park and 30 other neighborhoods to Cherry Hill Park on the Middle Branch of the Patapsco.
Northern Central Railroad Trail
The NCR Trail begins in the Hunt Valley area and runs 20 miles to the MD state line, and another 20 or so miles to York, PA. The southern portion of the NCR Trail is relatively flat, through wooded terrain and rural expanses. As you travel North through Baltimore County along the Gunpowder Falls, the hills become increasingly challenging. On the PA side, there are convenient amenities as the route courses through developed areas.
Number Nine Trolley Line
A paved trail on the old Number Nine trolley line, running about 1.5 mile from the end of Edmonson Avenue through Oella to the Patapsco River at the doorstep of Ellicott City.
The Number Nine trail runs through wooded greenway along the Cooper Branch, and includes a wooden boardwalk and a rustic suspension bridge. The trail is popular with bicyclists and people with dogs and/or children. The trail courses downhill from Catonsville to Ellicott City. Riding from west to east is continuously uphill. Parking is available in a lot at the Ellicott City end or along Edmonson Avenue at the eastern end.