July 22, 2019
This review is based on this being a beginner trail, and covers from Frederick rd. past Huntmaster rd.
It's a flow trail that's rated as green. The vast majority of the trail is singletrack and wooded, so shade is abundant in the summertime. Lots of wildlife in the summer and there's even an overlook of a part of the stream.
Don't let the "green" rating fool you. While there are no jumps or extensive rock gardens, there are a ton of roots along the trail. Also, if you are not in shape . . . this will help get you into shape. There's a good bit of climbing early on as well as some good speed descents. It's not designed for high speed so you'll want to be aware and keep your eyes down the trail.
The first section is perhaps the most hilly, as it goes from N. Frederick Road (Rt 355) to Watkins Mill. The climbs may feel a bit technical for a beginner; there are many roots to be found. As you get closer to Watkins mill there is a climb after you cross a bridge that has a couple switchbacks. It's perhaps the toughest climb along this trail. You end in a large parking lot and have to pedal along Watkins mill Road for about 1/8th of a mile before crossing the street to the next trail head.
This begins with a steep (but short) rocky climb out of the parking lot before you find more wooded singletrack. After crossing the bridge there is another solid climb that is at times pretty rooty. The reward is a good, solid descent that's manageable for beginners that takes ends at a small (1 foot wide, 1-2 inches deep) water crossing. Be aware there is a VERY rooty section just before the downhill becomes steeper as it reaches the small creek. Given the rise on the other side of the water, you'll want to manual. The rest of the downhill (you'll want to go straight as the walking path goes to your left) is wide - about 1 1/2 bike width in parts. Pump the rollers but check your speed; this goes down to Great Seneca Creek which is a stream. After a small rock roll, you'll shortly find the path widens. Be aware this part can become rather muddy after rains and it can take quite a while to dry out. Most of the remainder to this section is double track . . . really grassy fireroad. I introduced my child to mountain biking on this part of the trail, approaching from Brink road (she loved it!) This does have some singletrack mixed in (and another mud hazzard) and leads to another trail entrance at Brink Road. About 20 yards past the entrance you can relax by the stream and take a break before going back to the entrance at Brink
Cross at both stop signs and the trail leads on. initially you have double track which gets down to single track after a bridge and you have a fork in the trail. The left leads toward Huntmaster road near Davis Mill and the longer trail; the other ends at Huntmaster Road a bit north of Brink Rd. and is new as of 2019. The right fork takes you on a roller filled trip for about 1 1/2 miles and ends in grassy double track. There is a small stream crossing (about 2 feet long, 2 inches deep and a couple of brand new bridges. Experienced riders can easily get air on these rollers but it's not necessary! Feel free to pump them on your hardtail. Done as an out-and-back to/from Brink road is a total of 3 miles almost on the dot. You do have to pedal parts of it but there are no real climbs if you maintain momentum. It's short, but fun!
The left fork continues toward Huntmaster road and is more challenging. It's all singletrack with roots a common sight and even some rocks to watch out for. Line choice will be a great thing to have here. There is a small bridge (about 6 feet long w/o rails) and there are some switchbacks. As you get to Huntmaster road, the trail parallels the pavement. There are some places here that - due to the sideways incline toward the road - beginners may want to walk. Eventually you'll cross the road and head up toward Damascus.
I'll continue to update this review with my progress.
In summation: due to its combination of wooded nature, rooty paths, good climbs and fun decents . . . it's a great trail to begin with. Pack lots of water and keep your eyes up. It will help you get into shape in quick order. If you're already in shape, it's a solid workout.