US State Forums Maryland » Western MD Rail Trail Rss Feed  
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2013-08-30 6:43 PM

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Subject: Western MD Rail Trail
Just now gaining more confidence cycling - however still would like a safer alternative to a long ride. Anyone ever been to the Western Maryland Rail Trail? Was thinking about taking a trip out there one day but it's quite a hike and was wondering if it was worth it to get some good long rides in. Thanks!


2013-08-30 7:56 PM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
sorry - not that one

i'm trying the Washington and Old Dominion Trail this weekend, that starts in Northern VA and runs out that way - its like 45 miles one way
2013-08-30 10:33 PM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
I have run on the Western MD Rail Trail, as it's part of a Ragnar Relay leg that I do annually. It's flat and easy, but I wouldn't recommend it for a long ride, as it could get tedious, and the part of it that I know runs just a few feet away from the noise of I-70.

I would second the endorsement of the W&OD trail in Northern VA. It's possible to do long rides of various distances. There are places to stop along the way to refuel or use the bathroom, and it covers a nice mix of surroundings. My weekend rides used to regularly start at either Vienna (mile 12) or Herndon (mile 20) and ride out to the end of the trail in Purcellville (mile 45) and back. Both of those places have a range of options for post-ride food, plus parking right by the trail.
2013-08-31 10:01 AM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
Thanks much for the feedback. I'll have to check out the W&OD trail.
2013-08-31 12:24 PM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
heres the R2T link or it - http://www.traillink.com/trail/washington-and-old-dominion-railroad...

I use this website quite a bit for finding different rides - the rail trails are normally pretty nice for rides - also use the Indian Head one which is down my way - its only 13 miles one-way, but it great for my shorter - 20-25 mile rides - and I can easily add some roads in if I want to make it longer
2013-08-31 7:16 PM
in reply to: austhokie

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
I'm a beginner, so 13 miles to start right now would be terrific. I've been doing anywhere from 6 to 8 right now. Just bought my very first road bike a few weeks ago, so it's like a new car, I want to go out ALL the time. I'll check out the link, thanks for sharing. Also, let me know how you liked the W&OD. I'm in need of hills, but not insane slopes just yet


2013-08-31 9:48 PM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
There are no crazy hills on the W&OD - it's a rail trail, after all. There are various very gentle up and down slopes, but for most of the way the biggest climbs are over bridges. There's a longer slog just beyond Leesburg - that heads into the prettiest section of the trail - but it sounds like that is a bit further than you'd want to go right now anyways. For where you are, you'd probably be happiest in the sections between Vienna (mile 12) and Leesburg (mile 34), which are well-paved, have relatively few road crossings, and have only gentle slopes. There's a nice little store by the trail at mile 27.5, packed with cyclists on the weekends.
2013-09-01 8:41 AM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
This is a great ride. I thoroughly enjoy it. If you start at the beginning and ride through Hancock to the end you can get in 40 miles. The trail is pancake flat. I think it it well worth the trip. I do it about twice a year. You don't have to worry about traffic or other nuisances. It does get a bit crowded at the beginning and around Hancock. Go early to avoid all that.
2013-09-01 6:14 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
i did mile 0 to 27.5 today (little corner store for a break)

overall thoughts, nice ride - the ups and downs weren't too bad - over my 56mile ride, it was a gain of 1700ft (according to Strava) - which is about 400 off what IM ChooChoo is going to be - it was relatively busy on the early end of the trail, but that petered out - i'll def. be going back for my long rides in the fugure
2013-09-03 7:49 AM
in reply to: austhokie

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
Thank you for all the wonderful feedback - very helpful. I think I'm going to try the Western MD Rail Trail first, since I feel that it may be less populated (and flat). I've had my share of hills this weekend around me (Harford County can be very hilly). From there I'll venture down to the W&OD (which may be a bit further for me).
2013-09-05 3:39 PM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
The W&OD trail will be closer if youre coming from Harford county.

I wouldnt start the W&OD trail from the beginning. Start somewhere around Vienna or Falls Church and head west. Starting any closer to the beginning means you will be spending more time waiting to cross roads than you will riding.


2013-09-05 7:56 PM
in reply to: nhunter344

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
that was a huge lessons learned for me I ended up talking to someone along the way and he said falls church...you can get off the East Falls Church metro and the trail is right there
2013-09-05 8:06 PM
in reply to: austhokie

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
Originally posted by austhokie

that was a huge lessons learned for me I ended up talking to someone along the way and he said falls church...you can get off the East Falls Church metro and the trail is right there


Yes, if you're coming from the metro, then East Falls Church is a good option. If you're driving, then Vienna is even better. The trail gets much better after Vienna, and there's good trail-side parking (with bathrooms and water fountains) right there, plus a Whole Foods and a fantastic ice cream store, depending on what type of post-ride refueling you're looking for.
2013-09-05 8:22 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
that being said the stopping/starting is good if you want to practice clipping into pedals etc...
2013-09-12 8:55 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous so would be a nice opportunity to try out the trail. Saturday is my long run, so I think I'll try it out Sunday. Great feedback, you all have been helpful. Thanks

austhokie - that's actually a great idea. I really need to get more comfortable with clipping in!

To add: What about the BWI trail? Anyone have any good experiences with that. When I mapped it out it did look like it crossed a lot of roads (which I'm trying to avoid so I am not stop, go, stop, go).

Edited by TriChic 2013-09-12 8:59 PM
2013-09-13 5:27 AM
in reply to: TriChic

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
The BWI trail is another one of my favorites. It does get a bit crowded on the weekends so I suggest that you ride it early in the morning. The crossings are not too bad. There are only a few, and the drivers are used to bikers. So don't worry about that. Try it. I am certain that you will love the ride!


2013-09-13 5:56 AM
in reply to: marine10k

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
I just posted about the BWI thread in another one...

I'm doing a double loop of the Indian Head trail this weekend for our 50 mile ride (my friend who I train with, lives in King George now) - so any of the DC trails are a hike (and she HATES driving in the city)
2013-09-15 3:09 PM
in reply to: marine10k

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Subject: RE: Western MD Rail Trail
The BWI trail is probably a lot closer to me than the western maryland, but when I looked on google maps it seems to have a lot of intersections. That was when I first got my bike and wasn't as confident. That might be a good one to try, since it's closer to home. I never got a chance to make it out today due to lack of planning, but was able to try out my new indoor trainer
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