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Tags:
Level: Beginner
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +894/831 ft
Total: 51 riders
 

Mountain Biking Seneca Creek Greenway Trail

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#52 of 97 mountain bike trails in Maryland
#8069 in the world

Don't let the flat sections fool you, this trail has plenty of tight, rooty and rocky sections that demand a good line and clear head. The hill just north of Watkins Mill Road is full of roots and rocks, making both uphill and downhill passage interesting. But with the nice open sections and a couple of long flowing downhills, you'll have plenty of time to catch you breath and recover.

The trail is well marked with blue blazes. There are some splits along the way, but there are plenty of blazes to lead you in the right direction. I may go back and run some of the other routes to see where they go, but we'll see how adventurous I'm feeling. However, the main trail is challenging enough and plenty long to provide an excellent workout.

There are a few at grade crossings, but most stream/creek crossings are done with a well constructed bridge. They have done an excellent job of clearing limbs and trees from this year's storms, so the path is wide open. At times the paths can be a few feet wide of well cut grass or as narrow as a bike tire. There is no easy way to characterize this trail. The easier portion is between 355 and Watkins Mill. Everything north of Watkins Mill is tougher, but certainly doable.

It is a fun trail and well worth a couple hours on any nice weekend day for the full course. Shorter lengths can easily be fit in after work, if necessary.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
There are numerous trailheads and parking locations along this 7.27 mile (and growing) trail. It looks like there is plenty of parking available at a few of them. Here are the coordinates and major roads.

MD 355N: 39.167552,-77.229242
Watkins Mill Road: 39.187013,-77.214452
Intersection of Brink and Wightman Rd: 39.20098,-77.203916

From any of those points, you can head North or South along this portion of the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail on your bike. Find your way to any of those points from Rt270 (exit 11, Rt124 towards Montgomery Village Ave) and make an immediate left onto 355N. The trailhead will be a mile or two up on the right.
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rmap01 (on Jun 12, 2020)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Gaithersburg, Maryland

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Beginner | 20 mi
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Intermediate | 10 mi

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Reviews

  • Revengel
    ****

    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.

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  • rmap01
    ***

    This is a decent trail. There are some flat sections in low lying areas that don't drain very well after rain. Other sections have some short punchy climbs on some fairly tight singletrack. There's one fairly extensive creek crossing which can get pretty deep after a rain. Lots of roots throughout. The trails are typically done as an out and back. They are also part of the MoCo Epic 55 and 75 mile routes.

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  • David Caramanica
    ****

    This train is interesting. We typically ride it in the late fall throug the winter and intro to spring. It is rolling hills. But the downhills are packed with tight switchbacks, so no balls out downhill sections or you'll find yourself in the woods off the trail (hitting trees most likely). That makes for some interesting uphill climbs...
    We ride from 355 to the creek crossing about 7 miles in, so our total is just over 14 miles.
    It is great for night rides!

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  • Roger Rogo Thorpe Jr.
    ****

    Pretty fun little single track. Lots of good climbs with many rewarding downhill runs. From Brink to 355 and back is about 12 miles.

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  • Bubblehead10MM
    ****

    I rode between Brink rd and N Frederic Ave. Lots of good trail with little to no technical chalenge, it was right up my alley. Plenty of good hills to climb and role down. Watch out for nettles, but not much trouble as long as you stay on the path. Lots of folks out there on a nice day, both riders and hikers/dog walkers.

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  • AJ711
    ****

    Plenty of parking options help to create awesome workout/ride options. Ride a few miles, or do the entire 14+ miles from bottom to top and back, this trail will not disappoint. The southern portions of the trail are wider and easier to ride, but the northern sections can get tight and technical, with plenty of root and rock gardens, twists, turns, and other challenging sections.

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