Cycling Across Maryland Presents Views of Diversified Landscape, Heritage


Act_bikeBeach_panCivil War routes highlight historic campaigns

BALTIMORE – Slow down, pedal your way around Maryland.

May is National Bike Month. Biking along a bike trail gives you up-close, authentic experiences, says the Maryland Office of Tourism, and it’s a good way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

“When you bicycle across the various regions of Maryland, you become familiar with the state’s magnificent physical diversity— from Mountain Maryland to the flat, open spaces on the Eastern Shore,” says Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Each landscape affords enticing opportunities to explore our historical and cultural landmarks— and see what makes Maryland unique.”

“You can trace portions of the 200-year-old Historic National Road —especially in the western counties— and get a feel for this celebrated byway, the first federally funded U.S. roadway,” says Margot Amelia, executive director of the tourism office. “In Southern Maryland, you can follow routes that reflect the origins of our state along the Religious Freedom Byway. And, on the Eastern Shore, you can cycle through areas that showcase Chesapeake Bay wildlife. Kent County, for instance, has a network of bike routes.”

In tribute to the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War, Amelia also says: “We have a new page on with information about six routes connecting prominent Civil War sites.” The routes are designed for well-conditioned cyclists and include Sharpsburg, Gettysburg (Pa.), and Harpers Ferry (W. Va.) as destinations. The page includes links to local maps and detailed information about each route.  Here is a sampling of what’s available for cyclists across the five regions of Maryland:  

Western Maryland

Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath As part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park, the towpath is a 184-mile corridor that runs along the Potomac River, starting in Washington, D.C., and extending to Cumberland. In Cumberland, it merges into the Maryland stretch of the Great Allegany Passage,  a route that continues through Frostburg and westward to Pittsburgh.  

Washington County The county features touring routes that go through and around Hagerstown , Antietam National Battlefield  and Fort Frederick State Park . Other routes pass through miles of orchards and scenic views along the way to South Mountain. The Bridges of Washington County are also accessible to cyclists.  

Western Maryland Rail Trail This 23-mile route traces the C&O Canal and the former Western Maryland Railway line. Hancock is the mid-way point. Going east, the trail stops a half mile from Fort Frederick State Park, site of the restored star-shaped fort used in the French and Indian War (1754-1763).  

Capital Region  

Capital Crescent Trail This 11-mile pathway follows a former route of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad from the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., to Silver Spring in Montgomery County. Bikers pass over four historic bridges and through two tunnels along the Potomac River. It connects with the C&O Canal Towpath and the Rock Creek Trail.

Gambrill State Park Located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County, the park has 15 miles of wooded trails that are open to mountain biking. Many offer scenic overlooks.

Harbor Walk Trail— This trail at National Harbor  in Prince George’s County connects with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail, a hiking and biking route that crosses the Potomac River into Alexandria, Va.  

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