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Free Range: A Walk Through Paradise

A segment of the former Short Line restored by Catonsville Rails to Trails is a lush 1-mile diversion through the neighborhood of Paradise.

The Catonsville Short Line Railway, which meandered through western Baltimore and the communities of Catonsville, Paradise and Yale Heights, operated from the 1870s until 1972. One of several rail lines in this area of the county, the Short Line carried passengers as well as coal to power Spring Grove.

A mile-long segment of the Short Line inside the beltway has been restored as a walking trail by Catonsville Rails to Trails. In December, 2011, ownership of the Short Line Trail was transferred from Catonsville Rails to Trails to Baltimore County.

The segment stretches from Paradise Avenue just inside the Beltway sound barrier, crosses Maiden Choice Lane, and passes along the picturesque Baltimore National Cemetery.

The eastern terminus of the Short Line Trail opens in a clearing with a couple of benches for resting for the walk back. It's a pleasant, quiet spot surrounded by woods.

The Short Line Trail has been and was .

The trail has a flat surface that is suitable for running/hiking or wheeled vehicles such as strollers or bikes--except for a bridge of pallets over a muddy portion near the western side at Paradise Avenue.

There is no perceptible change in grade from one end of the trail to another, so the trail has no challenging hills.

One of the shortcomings to the trail is a lack of parking at either end. The most convenient parking is on Garden Ridge Road off Maiden Choice, at about the midpoint of the Short Line Trail.

Also, there are no public restroom facilities at any point along the Short Line Trail, so keep that in mind as well.

A map of the Short Line Trail from Catonsville Rails to Trails shows a walk around Frederick Road to pick the path up outside of the beltway. The trail continues for another half-mile outside of the beltway, eventually merging onto Mellor Avenue.

A detailed map of the Short Line Trail, with driving directions, is here.

Free Range is about places outdoors that are healthful recreation for people of all ages.

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