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
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.
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
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 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.