Frederick county and the surrounding area boasts some fine options for recreational path riding. Whether you are looking to get your heart rate up or enjoy an evening with the family, Frederick has great options.
The Great Allegheny Passage
The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile nearly flat rail-trail that links Cumberland, MD, to Pittsburgh, PA. Ultimately, the trail will connect to the C & O Canal Towpath at which point the path will stretch about 335 miles from Washington, DC, to Pittsburgh, PA. Great Allegheny Passage Website
The BWI trail is an 11 mile asphalt trail suited for cycling, walking, skating etc. The trail loops around Baltimore Washington International Airport to the spur to Baltimore and Annapolis Trail. While you ride you can enjoy the marvels of modern aviation as well as the more tranquil Friendship Park and Andover Park. Lengthen your ride by connecting to the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail via a spur at its southern end. BWI Trail Website
Baltimore & Annapolis Trail
The 13 mile asphalt trail follows the old B & A Shortline Railroad route, which connected Annapolis to Baltimore. If you would like to extend your ride, you can add 12 miles by continuing at the north end of the trail where it connects to the BWI loop trail. This circles the airport and offers some spectacular views of modern aviation.
Free trail parking is available at the Earleigh Heights Ranger Station on Earleigh Heights Road in Severna Park. There is also parking at MD 450 and Boulters Way in Annapolis. Public parking is available at the Glen Burnie Parking Garage at the corner of Crain Highway and Post 40 Road in Glen Burnie, and the Severna Park Park-and-Ride at Jones Stations Road and MD Route 2 southbound. B&A Trail Website
Capital Crescent Trail
The Capital Crescent Trail connects Georgetown in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring in Montgomery County, MD. The asphalt/crushed stone trail extends about 11 miles along the right-of-way formerly used by the Georgetown Branch rail line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Bicycles are permitted on Metro rail (limited to two bicycles per car) weekdays, except 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Bicycles are permitted all day Saturday and Sunday as well as most holidays (limited to four bicycles per car). Bicycles are not permitted on Metro rail on July 4th and other special events or holidays when large crowds use the system. Capital Crescent Trail Website & Trail Map
- Silver Spring (in the vicinity of Stewart Avenue): This segment of the trail is little used, and there is almost always on-street parking available.
- Little Falls Parkway: The trail crosses the Bethesda Pool’s two parking lots along Little Falls Parkway. Usually, there is space available, but it can become congested during the summer months when the pool is open.
- River Road Bridge area: Parking is generally available on evenings and weekends in parking areas used by commercial or industrial facilities during working times. However, discretion is advised to avoid locations where towing might result.
- MacArthur Boulevard and Sangamore Road: Parking is available in the parking lots of Little Falls Mall which are rarely crowded. The Mall is located about two blocks up Sangamore Road from the intersection.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
The 184 mile C&O Canal follows the Potomac River offering 184.5 miles of crushed stone/dirt/gravel trail. The mixed surface trail extends from Washington, DC, to Cumberland, MD. While you ride, you can enjoy hundreds of original structures, including aqueducts, locks, and lock houses.
As one might expect, weekends in the spring and fall are especially busy. The first 14 miles of the canal from Georgetown to Great Falls are the most congested. Solitude can often be found in the northern areas of the trail. There is an entrance fee at the Great Falls area of the canal. It costs $4.00 per vehicle for a three-day pass and $15.00 for an annual pass. Cyclists and walkers pay $2.00. C&O Canal Website & Trail Map
The Western Maryland Rail Trail
The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is a paved trail located in Western Maryland between Hancock and Fort Frederick, about 1.5 hours northwest of the Capital Beltway. It is between I-70 to the north and the C&O Canal to the south. The western section of the trail follows the rugged mountain terrain west of Hancock and the newer section offers a great view of the Potomac and surrounding mountains. Consider taking the C&O Canal for the ride back to the car. Although unpaved, it is quite shaded and thus much cooler. This will add about five miles to your trip. WMRT Website
WMRT Trail Maps: Big Pool to Hancock & Hancock to Pearre
Rock Creek Park
Maryland’s 14 mile long Rock Creek Trail is a collection of paved multi-use paths through southern Montgomery County. Although this area is mostly urbanized, the trail follows a mainly wooded route along the Rock Creek stream valley. As a result, the trail provides a nice traffic-free route between Rockville and the Bethesda/Silver Spring business districts. Rock Creek Website & Trail Map
Seneca Creek Greenway Trail
This natural surface trail follows the Great Seneca Creek from the Potomac River upstream to Route 355. The moderate 16.5 mile trail continues on Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission park land. It provides access to the Great Seneca Creek stream valley for those who enjoy the challenge of a long hike in the beauty of the outdoors. Due to the environmental sensitivity of the trail’s location, bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on the state park section of the trail. Equestrians are permitted on the section between Route 28 and Berryville Road. The Greenway follows the Great Seneca and Long Draught Trails in the Clopper Lake Day-Use Area. Seneca Creek Trail Map