Best Bike Trails in Baltimore / Columbia / Towson

The Baltimore metro area butts right up against the DC metro, but fortunately the must-ride trails overlap very little. The Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), founded in 1992 and maintainers of more than 400 miles of bike trails in the area, deserve all of your kudos for providing excellent riding opportunities in one of the most populous areas of the USA.

Patapsco Valley State Park

Photo: TheWVPedaler

If you’re in the Baltimore area and don’t hit up at least some portions of Patapsco Valley State Park, you’re missing out. With more than 25 miles of trails that offer up flow, rock gardens, bridges, and berms, Patapsco is a great spot for intermediate to advanced riders. There’s even a slick bike skills park at Rockburn Branch Park, adjacent to Patapsco where kids and beginning riders can hone their moves.

Schaeffer Farms

The trails at Schaeffer Farms are maintained by MORE and are beloved by both Baltimore and DC-area residents alike. The 10+ miles of trails are well-signed and flowy, with most trails suitable for beginner riders. Schaeffer Farms was formerly recognized as part of an IMBA Epic route called the Mo Co Loop. The South Germantown pumptrack is located close by.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Photo: TrickkyGangsta

Northeast of Towson, Gunpowder Falls State Park has about 10 miles of trails that are open to mountain bikers. The park itself follows the river and so do the trails, making this system fairly easy to navigate. There are a few rocky sections that may give beginners fits, but otherwise the trails flow well and promise a good XC-style workout.

Bacon Ridge

#baconridge manual fun with @micahfontz

A post shared by Dave Fontz (@fontzter) on

Bacon Ridge is a growing trail system located just within our 25-mile radius of downtown Baltimore, though truthfully it’s much closer to Annapolis and also within reach of the DC metro area. The first phase brought beginner-friendly flow trails to Bacon Ridge, while the newer trails in Phase II offer more challenging root and log crossings.

Unfortunately within a two hour drive of Baltimore, there aren’t a lot of trail systems that don’t overlap with other cities on this list like Philadelphia and Newark. Within three hours, however, mountain bikers can access Allegrippis and Rothrock in Pennsylvania for more rural, backcountry riding experiences.

Next up: Pittsburgh.

# Comments

  • PGH Rider

    Just an FYI for the Pittsburgh section of your article. PORC stands for Pittsburgh Off Road Cyclists. Your link takes you to Pittsburgh Offroad which is a motorized mud bogging/lift kit type of group. Additionally, PORC does not as a group build or maintain trails in Pittsburgh (maybe as volunteers for other other groups or illegally). The main groups that build and maintain trails are Trail Pittsburgh (http://trailpittsburgh.org/), the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy(https://www.rachelcarsontrails.org/), Allegheny Land Trust, Hollow Oak Land Trust, Allegheny County Parks, and the Mount Washington CDC. If you need help reporting on Pittsburgh mountain biking in the future, please let me know.

    • Jeff Barber

      Good catch on the URL and thanks for the shout out to other groups in the area!

  • kevindsingleton

    Two more excellent Pittsburgh singletracks are the Bavington trail, in Hillman State Park, near Burgettstown (southwest of Pittsburgh, search for “Haul Road Trailhead”), and the trails at Brady’s Run Park, in Beaver County, a little north of the airport.

  • juarez

    Cool article!
    It’s great to see other people writing about our quiet, humble riding area (Ottawa-Gatineau).

    Of course it’s FAT season here now. We have some crazy good shared single track is 2 riding areas, plus Kanata, Larose, and city trails.

    You can learn more about our fat riding areas here:

    Our local networks are growing by leaps and bounds too. Advocacy over the last 10 years is paying off and our Gatineau Park Trail Network will be growing exponentially as previously limited bike access is increased overall rate next 5 years.

    And we have a brand new riding area called Larose Forest that is multi-use, purpose machine built flow trail. Larose has BIG plans to expand and local riders love the first beginner and intermediate trails that are now open. (Did I mention how FUN these trails are?) The Larose management team has a BIG vision for the area.

    Larose Forest Primer:

    Have fun everywhere.


  • Downhill Mike

    Also got to add Durham Forest, Dagmar, Walker Woods and Glen Major. Its all can be connected together by bike in one day and easily has over 100km of singletrack.

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