October 14, 2015
I rode this when I was out in the area in early-mid October and looking for a place to get a ride in. I saw it listed here on Singletracks an decided to try it out. I started at Herrington Manor and rode out to Swallow Falls and back, about 12 miles round trip. Bike was a 27.5 Ti hardtail.
This is not really a challenging trail, but as another reviewer points out, it's not an appropriate beginner trail due to the fairly numerous rock gardens. Only take a beginner here if you want to turn them off the sport for good. And that's the big problem with this trail - it's just not much fun. It looks to me like most of the trail is the remains of an old road, probably a depression-era dirt road from when both parks were Civilian Conservation Corps camps. It's been allowed to go back to nature since then, so that while the road bed is fairly wide, the actual rideable trail is mostly singletrack. But because it started out as a road, it's graded and oriented more for automobiles, not bikes. There's one or two interesting sections, but not enough to make up for the numerous tedious, tooth-rattlingly rocky straights. Smooth, flowy singletrack is in short supply here. It may have been worse because I rode it at the height of autumn, and the newly fallen leaves hid many of the rocks. Maybe there was a smoother line hidden under there, but I probably won't go back to find out. I was glad when this ride was over, and not because I was tired.