7 Maryland bike trails fit for the family

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5. Grist Mill Trail (Easy)

CLOSED in 2018 during Bloede Dam demolition

This popular paved trail located in Patapsco Valley State Park runs along the Patapsco River. The trail runs for 2.5 miles, taking users from Ilchester Road, past the swinging bridge in the Avalon area of the park to Lost Lake, a special fishing area for children under 16, senior citizens and visitors with disabilities.

Jeff Dalik, owner of Aviation Velo in Linthicum, says he often recommends the trail for families because it is paved, scenic and fairly flat. "I like the Grist Mill Trail because it is close to the main pavilions with the playground and river access, close to Lost Lake where my son and I catch fish and because it is an accessible trail for cycling, jogging, walking and wheelchairs," he says. The trail is also "long enough to feel like you went somewhere but short enough to fit a kid's attention span," Dalik says.

Parking is available near Lost Lake. There is a fee to get in the park.

Infor: http://dnr.maryland.gov/centennial/Pages/Centennial-Notes/Gristmill.aspx

6. Rockburn Skills Park (Moderate to Difficult)

If you're looking for a more challenging family adventure, Rockburn Skills Park is the place to be. The off-road park, located in Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge, opened in 2012. One of the main features is a pump track – a continuous mountain bike and BMX course, filled with hills, dirt mounds and jumps. You don't have to be a pro to ride here, but family members should be stable cyclists. That means no training wheels.

The park also has a rock-filled, uphill bike trail and three courses for riders of varying skills. Bikes with knobby tires are best.

Be sure to check if the park is open before you go, as rain and muddy conditions can temporarily close the park. Parking is available inside the park's east entrance off Landing Road. Restrooms are available on the park's west side and sometimes on the east side near the turf fields, depending on the sports schedule.

Info: www.rockburnskillspark.org. Closure hotline: 410-313-4455.

7. The Torrey C. Brown Trail (Easy)

Formerly the Northern Central Railroad or (NCR) Trail

Chris Stelzig, an Annapolis father of three, calls this trail one of the best in the area for younger kids. The flat, 10-feet wide path has a stone dust surface and runs for 20 miles from the Hunt Valley area to the Pennsylvania state line along the Gunpowder River.

The multi-use trail, a former line of the Northern Central Railroad, opened in the mid-1980s. The trail now hosts more than 500,000 visitors a year.

When riding, remember: This trail is not a loop. If you ride 10 miles from the start, you have to ride 10 miles back.

Parking is available at several sites along the trail, including off Freeland Road at the northern end and Phoenix Road at the southern end. Restrooms are also available along the route.

Info: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/tcb.aspx

By Allison Eatough

KEY
Easy – Mostly flat, smooth surfaces, stopping points of interest along the way
Moderate – Some hills or rough surfaces
Difficult – Includes hills or off-road surfaces and possibly obstacles

Click Next below for tips for cycling with kids

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