Bikers taking a break on the GAP Rail Trail

Places to Go Biking

By Chris Korman

Find two-wheeled nirvana along Maryland’s trail system second-to-none!

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Bikers taking a break on the GAP Rail Trail

From boardwalks to backcountry, some of the country’s best bike tours are right here in our backyard. Shift into high gear or take an afternoon cruise along our Maryland bike trails and discover miles of natural beauty and state history begging to be explored. Ride along the broad canal running beside the Potomac River or a fort built to protect a young nation’s capital city. Cut through one of Baltimore’s famous urban parks and right into its lively Inner Harbor. Stop at a museum full of artifacts pulled from a dig or ride along a coast where horses roam the beaches. Grab your helmet and let the good times roll.

1
Great Allegheny Passage
Bike Trail and Tracks of Maryland
Allegany County

Peddle the Great Allegheny Passage, featured in National Geographic’s “Top Ten Fall Trips in the World.” Stunningly beautiful and stretching 159 miles from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail uses historic tunnels, viaducts and bridges for a smooth, mostly flat journey through the Appalachian Mountains and friendly small towns of Western Maryland. If you have a longer bike trip on your mind ride toward Cumberland to continue on the C&O Canal Towpath.

2
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
C&O Canal Bike Trail

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, also known as the “Grand Old Ditch,” was built to connect the country. Today, it’s a biker’s paradise with hundreds of miles of Maryland bike trails. Running from Cumberland to Washington D.C., ride toward Hancock and through the Paw Paw Tunnel and then stop in Sharpsburg to explore the site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, the Antietam National Battlefield.

3
Green Ridge State Forest
Trail at Green Ridge State Park
Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Mark Beals

For those looking to break a sweat, Green Ridge State Forest is home to the top mountain biking trails in Maryland. Explore the open trails or, for the more advanced rider, take the 12-mile Mountain Bike Trail, complete with stream crossings, steep inclines and fast descents. 

4
Fort Washington Park
The original fort here was destroyed by its own garrison in the War of 1812 to prevent its capture.

Explore Fort Washington Park on two wheels and ride through the 200-year-old stone fort built to protect Washington, D.C. Plan your trip around one of the artillery demonstrations and other reenactments at the site and then stay to explore more in the Capital Region.

5
Adventure Sports Center International
Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Sport Center International - ASCI

Set atop Wisp Mountain, Adventure Sports Center International is for the thrill-seekers. Find endless outdoor adventure from whitewater rafting to climbing to scenic Maryland biking trails around the 550-acre Fork Run Recreation area in McHenry.

6
Seneca Creek State Park
Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg

The Seneca Creek State Park features more than 50 miles of well-kept trails running along the scenic creek and around Clopper Lake. There’s no shortage of interesting stops along this route, like the1815 Black Rock Mill and the Seneca Schoolhouse, a small Civil War school built with the same signature red Seneca Sandstone used to build the Smithsonian Institution’s Castle. 

7
Gunpowder Falls State Park
Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Nature, Free Things to Do, Family Fun

Inside Gunpowder Falls State Park, the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail is a shaded dirt trail that follows the old Northern Central Railway all the way to the Pennsylvania border. Along the trail’s 20 miles, catch views of picturesque farms and stop at the refurbished train station in Monkton, a must-stop for visitors who want to learn the history of the trail, grab a quick bite or stop off at the nearby bike shop. 

8
Gwynns Falls
City bike trail
Gwynns Falls Trail

Take the Gwynns Falls Trail to immerse yourself in Baltimore. This quickly-changing trail covers 15 miles and connects to more than 30 neighborhoods across the city. Biking in Baltimore along this trail you’ll go through urban parks and pass notable landmarks such as the Baltimore Ravens’ home stadium and the National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor. 

9
Jefferson Patterson Park
Tour the exhibit barn at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum to experience the British invasion on the Chesapeake during the War of 1812 from the viewpoint of locals who endured the turmoil.

Tour the exhibit barn at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum to experience the British invasion on the Chesapeake during the War of 1812 from the viewpoint of locals who endured the turmoil.

A series of trails runs through and around Jefferson Patterson Park, which is home to the state’s archaeology museum. Take a casual ride through the park, enjoy a picnic then stop by the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, which serves as the clearinghouse for artifacts dug up throughout the state.

10
St. Mary’s River State Park
scenic river
DNR

The main 7.5-mile trail loops around the lake in Saint Mary’s River State Park is home to freshwater fishing and some of the best bird-watching in the state. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, follow the single-track dirt trail for an afternoon of Maryland mountain biking.

11
Assateague State Park
Wild Ponies on Assateague Island National Seashore

On the Assateague Island National Seashore, Assateague State Park has it all: pristine beaches, wild horses, beautiful birds and trails to challenge any cyclist. Camp on the island to explore nature and enjoy views from the beach to the bay or stay in nearby Ocean City.

12
Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area
Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area
Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Stephen Badger

Tucked in the northeast tip of Maryland, the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area may be best known for its ties to horses and equestrian sports, but you can also find an approximately 80-mile trail system there that offers some of the best mountain biking in Maryland.

13
Anacostia Tributary Trail System
Anacostia Riverwalk
Tim Evanson, wikimedia

Take an adventure on the Anacostia Tributary Trail System, made up of more than 60 miles of paved trails connecting to the nation’s capital. Riders may begin at Lake Artemesia in College Park and ride the 5.2 miles to Bladensburg Waterfront Park to rent a kayak or take a boat tour on the Anacostia River. Bike riders can continue another 7 miles to downtown Washington, D.C. on the Anacostia River Trail.

14
Patapsco Valley State Park
Patapsco Valley State Park at Thomas Viaduct
Maryland Department of Natural resources/Ed Johnson

Patapsco Valley State Park, along the Patapsco River, is one of Maryland's oldest state parks, founded in 1907. The rough, hilly terrain in the valley makes it perfect for experienced mountain bikers. Among the moderate trails is the Cascade Falls Trail Loop. More casual riders will want to check out the Alberton Road Trail, the site of a historical textile mill with bridges and scenic views. Come prepared to get muddy!

15
Baltimore Waterfront Promenade & The Fort McHenry Loop
Inner Harbor View
@jaredrussellstrouse-Instagram

A popular route along the Inner Harbor in Baltimore offers a chance to pedal through historic and cultural sites. From the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry is a 3.2-mile one-way trip, so out and back makes for a nice morning or afternoon activity. Be prepared for lots of pedestrian trail-users and some uneven, brick surfaces.

16
Ocean City Boardwalk
OC Boardwalk
Rachel Smith Photo

Cruise three miles of shops, restaurants and attractions along the boardwalk in Ocean City. While the boardwalk is officially open 24-hours year round, hours for biking are limited to the morning during the summer season due to the popularity for tourists.

17
Gambrill State Park
Gambrill State Park, Middletown
David Kegley

In Gambrill State Park, the 1600-foot summit of High Knob provides views of Middletown and the Monocacy Valley. Hiking and mountain biking are popular throughout the area. 

Near Frederick, Gambrill State Park features 16 miles of trails for biking, as well as hiking and horseback riding. The relatively steep terrain in this region means that the rides are more advanced. Check out the Black Locust Trail to see a variety of landscapes from the wooded forests to the rocky scenic overlooks.

18
B&A Trail (Baltimore and Annapolis rail trail)

This 13-mile path is paved and offers riders lots to see and learn along the journey. Pick up the trailhead near Boulters Way in Annapolis and travers to Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie, where you might opt to hook into the BWI trail. Treat yourself to pizza or frozen yogurt, which can be easily accessed from the trail. Stop by the ranger station before you embark to pick up a flyer about the historical markers on the trail.

19
MA & PA Trail

Following the historic path of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad, the MA & PA trial now provides an excellent place for biking near Bel Air and Forest Hill. A recent campaign to connect the two trail sections was successful in linking separate portions into a continuous 8-mile stretch.

20
Three Notch Trail

One of the newest rail trails in Southern Maryland is a 13-mile paved path that will eventually become 28 miles extending as far south as the Naval Air Station near Patuxent River. Perfect for a picnic, the asphalt pathway offers a smooth bike ride through wooded areas. Access the Three Notch trail from the John V. Baggett Park trailhead.