Mountain Biking the Washington, DC / Baltimore Area  by Scott Adams & Martin Fernandez

Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C. / Baltimore Area Guide Book

by Scott Adams & Martin Fernandez (Falcon Guides)
Mountain Biking the Washington, DC / Baltimore Area  by Scott Adams & Martin Fernandez
Plunge down singletrack over the Allegheny Mountains in Maryland, or travel off-road through Virginia’s scenic horse and wine country with this fully updated and revised Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C./Baltimore Area. Featuring the greatest off-road bicycle rides of Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., readers will find maps, color photos, GPS coordinates, and much more.

© 2015 Scott Adams and Martin Fernandez/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C. / Baltimore Area" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 48.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 48.

Thanks to the efforts of local mountain bike advocates, the mountain bike community can now enjoy this previously off-limits area. Located in Montgomery County, Black Hill has a great network of singletrack that is bound to put a smile on off-road cyclist's face. Without serious changes in elevation but with plenty of twists and turns, these trails will delight the casual rider as well as the more advanced mountain bike enthusiast time and time again.
Germantown, MD - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.5
This ride isn't designated for thrill seekers and singletrack lovers. Instead, it reveals the lighter side of off-road bicycle riding, leading cyclists on a pleasant off-road trip past flower gardens and lakeside vistas. The route is mostly flat and smooth, traveling along well maintained dirt paths around Burke Lake or meandering along South Run on a paved bicycle path. If you get eager to take on some rough stuff, simply cut out from the South Run bicycle path near South Run District Park and take on the rugged, hilly singletrack beneath the power lines. There's plenty for off-road cyclists to do along this easy route to and from Burke Lake, so bring the family and enjoy the ride.
Springfield, VA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.5
Located in Montgomery County Maryland, Cabin John Regional Park is a great destination for any local mountain biker who can't get away to more remote locations, or it's great for the visitor looking for a quick ride close to the urban landscape. Recently opened to mountain biking, Cabin John offers a wide variety of rolling trails that descend and run parallel to Cabin John Creek. Its proximity to the Beltway, Rockville, Maryland, and the conveniences of Montgomery Mall make it the ideal getaway.
Potomac, MD - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.1
Traveling first in Virginia, the course alternates between paved and unpaved roads, starting out flat, then rolling, before getting very hilly as it crosses over Catoctin Mountain. On the Maryland side, you can relax along the all flat, all dirt C&O Canal Towpath, which meanders along the scenic Potomac River. Along the way, you will cross over the Monocacy Aqueduct, the largest aqueduct along the 185-mile canal. Catch the ferry atWhite’s Ferry to cross back over to the Virginia side and return to the start of the ride.
Leesburg, VA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 36.5
Tight twisty singletrack is what you'll find when you visit Cedarville. There are over 10 miles of singletrack and doubletrack in this 3,500-acre state forest just south of Washington, D.C. Its proximity to the nation's capital and its modest terrain have made Cedarville State Forest a popular cycling destination for riders throughout the region. Unlike neighboring parks to the north, the trails in Cedarville are generally hard-packed dirt with very few rocks. Occasional mud holes may slow you down, but this is otherwise one of the most enjoyable mountain bike destinations in the area. Trail Surface: Flat, dirt trails and dirt roads.
Brandywine, MD - Fishing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.9
Although short, the ride will certainly be a pleasing one. It has quickly become a favorite destination for my daughter and I to visit. The relatively flat trails and smooth surface make it a perfect destination for novice to intermediate riders. A short section of trail has been crafted to please more experienced riders and can easily be bypassed if you are not up to the challenge.
Gainesville, VA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.3
Roughly between the McKeldin and Avalon areas of Patapsco Valley State Park is the largely undeveloped Daniels area. Extremely popular with paddlers, anglers, hikers, and mountain bikers, the Daniels area is an all-year playground rich in history. Riders will see few glimpses of a once-thriving mill community as they make their way along the park’s trails on either side of the Patapsco River. In 1886, communities along the banks of the Patapsco were devastated by a great food and very little evidence of their existence remains. Today, the area is marked by the presence of the Daniels Dam. The dam once served as a primary source of energy for a denim and canvas mill that produced, among other items, tents for the Union Army. The mill remained operational until 1968 and in 1972 it, along with the town surrounding it, was destroyed by the power of the river fueled by tropical storm Agnes.
Ellicott, MD - Fishing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.4
Situated in one of Maryland's most popular vacation spots, the trails at Deep Creek Lake State Park offer a challenging network of rides that is bound to satisfy even the most demanding mountain biker. Expect a well-marked trail system that will take you, among other places, up to the heights of Deep Creek Lake's lookout tower, where breathtaking views of western Maryland's mountainous terrain await. Climbing is not all you'll do, though. Upon reaching the summit and the lookout tower, you'll be treated to some outstanding western Maryland singletrack that takes you downhill all the way back to the car.
Swanton, MD - Cross-Country Skiing,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.4
This is by far one of the most difficult rides in the book, but one of the most rewarding. I won’t sugarcoat it—this ride is demanding, technical, steep, fast, and dangerous. If the ride itself doesn’t do you in, a bear might. When you finish, you’ll ask yourself “Why?” And then, out of nowhere, you’ll start planning your return, or researching other rides in the forest—there are plenty, more than 400 miles of singletrack to choose from. This demanding and technical ride has become a rite of passage for mountain bikers in the Washington, D.C., region and serves as the perfect introduction to the type of trail you’ll find elsewhere in the George Washington National Forest and the Catoctin Mountains to the north.
Front Royal, VA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 11.7
Emmitsburg is slowly, but surely, making an imprint on the off-road cycling map. The new trails at Emmitsburg’s Rainbow Lake, coupled with the additional trails extending to the town’s community park, offer mountain bikers more than 15 miles of high-quality, professionally built singletrack. The trails at the historic town of Emmitsburg, Maryland, have been in the planning process for quite some time now, and thanks in part to almost $300,000 in grants, volunteer work, and private donations, nearly 10 miles of trails have been completed, with more to come in the future. Our ride will take us along the completed network of trails on the west side of Hampton Valley Road, with an option to do an out-and-back on the in-progress connector trail that will link riders to the community park in Emmitsburg.
Emmitsburg, MD - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.2
Known primarily for its rich equestrian heritage, the Fair Hill area does not conjure up images of mountain biking. However, this northern Maryland Natural Resources Management Area has some of the most enjoyable singletrack in the state. Similar to the trails in Patapsco Valley State Park, the Fair Hill Area offers a superb network of trails sure to satisfy the most demanding riders. The earliest known settlers of the Fair Hill area were the Susquehannock Indians. They belonged to the Iroquois Confederacy. Looking for a peaceful home, the Susquehannocks left the Seneca Nation and settled in this area because of the natural abundance the northern Chesapeake River.
Elkton, MD - Fishing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.2
Nestled along the border of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County is this little gem of a park. Over the years, and thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, the trails at Fairland have become a regional destination. It’s hard to believe how far Fairland has come since I first laid knobby wheels on it in the mid-1990s. My wife and I were fresh out of the army and had just bought a home in Burtonsville, MD. I generally packed the gear and bike and headed north to Patapsco Valley State Park (Rides 20 to 23) for my regular mountain-bike dosages, but more often than not time kept me from making the trip.
Burtonsville, MD - Mountain Biking,Road Biking - Trail Length: 8.3
The trails at Fork Run offer more experienced mountain bikers a challenging network of trails. If you’ve ridden Deep Creek Lake and tackled the distances of the 5.5- Mile Trail, then you’re ready for the tight and technical trails of the Fork Run Area.
McHenry, MD - Climbing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.1
This ride will take you through one of the region’s most successful off-road cycling projects. Originally conceived by a band of riders from MORE in early 1994, and redesigned with the International Mountain Biking Organization (IMBA) in 2010– 2012, the new Fountainhead Trail is challenging, fun, and an incredibly rewarding system of trails. The once straight and steep climbs and downhills that crossed the park have been replaced with challenging switchbacks and screaming berms. Fountainhead is a glorious playground in which to take your mountain-biking skills to the next level.
Springfield, VA - Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 14.8
Maintained by MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts), the Yellow Trail in Gambrill State Park is a challenging and demanding ride. Gambrill is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in the state of Maryland, attracting riders from as far south as Richmond, Virginia. The Yellow Trail, at 6.5 miles, is the longest loop in the Gambrill trail system and the perfect trail for up-and-coming mountain bikers looking to test their mettle on some difficult singletrack. This is not a trail for the novice rider, and will be extremely challenging even to those who are well-versed in rugged terrain.
Frederick, MD - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.8
Known simply as the Avalon area by most cyclists, this small corner of the Patapsco Valley State Park is quite possibly one of Washington, D.C./Baltimore’s most popular mountain-biking playgrounds. Avalon’s terrain is oftentimes severe and nearly always challenging, but for serious off-roaders, these conditions represent nothing less than prime mountain-biking real estate.
Elkridge, MD - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 20
Great Falls National Park is a natural haven for thousands of Washingtonians seeking solitude from the daily grind of gridlock and government. Trails about throughout this park on the river offering cyclists, hikers, and equestrians alike terrain as rugged on land as it is in the water. Some portions of the park's trails are wide, dirt carriage roads dating back through history and meandering through the scenery, while others are steep, rocky, and narrow, keeping even agile cyclists on the tips of their seat. Come one and all to this park of presidents, dignitaries, and commoners and enjoy what folks throughout time have been enjoying along the rapids of the Potomac.
McLean, VA - Climbing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.8
Greenbrier State Park provides many recreational opportunities. Mountain biking is just one of them. Home to a number of mountain bike races, Greenbrier has become a favorite destination for many Washington D.C. riders. The challenging trails are great for the intermediate rider who's not quite ready for the arduous trails further west in Allegany and Garrett Counties. After your ride, take advantage of the beautiful man-made freshwater lake and go for a swim or simply sit back and lounge on the beach.
Hagerstown, MD - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.2
The Sweet Air area of Gunpowder Falls State Park offers perfect intermediate trails. Located in northern Baltimore County, Sweet Air has 1,250 acres of trails. The variety of trails, from steep rocky climbs and descents to fields and flat twisty riverside trails, gives the intermediate rider the perfect stage to hone her or his skills. Although not readily apparent when you start your ride, the Gunpowder Falls State Park area is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and its delicate ecosystem. The watershed covers 64,000 square miles and spans sections of several states, including Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York. About 20,000 years ago, the sea level was more than 300 feet below what it is today.
Fallston, MD - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.25
The HMC is another trail crafted in Germantown by a coalition of various user groups, led in the effort by the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE), to extend riding opportunities in the region. The trail can be ridden as an out-and-back, or combined with loops in Black Hill Regional Park (Ride 14) and Schaeffer Farms (Ride 12) to extend your ride. The HMC is an integral portion of the MoCo Epic series of rides. Our ride will start from the Schaeffer Farms parking area, but the trail can also be accessed along Clarksburg Road and from the South Germantown Park (by the driving range).
Germantown, MD - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 12.2