A hilly ride around the Patapsco-Woodstock area featuring cool sites and nice views of the river.”
— Ken Lohr
These trails do not recover quickly from precipitation, especially in the colder months. Also, freeze-thaw is generally in effect in the winter months, so you'll need to get out early when the ground is frozen.
Woodstock 201 is more than an "Intro to Woodstock" ride but not quite a full "Tour de Woodstock" since it doesn't hit *every* trail. There are lots of sweet, flowy singletrack featuring the Patapsco Through Trail, nice views of the river, and several cool sites along the way. A great alternative to popular Avalon area which some people consider too crowded on summer weekends.
It's best ridden in the summer or fall months when the track is dry and the hoof prints have been smoothed out. Winter can be hit or miss, but good when the ground is frozen. Springtime often brings too much moisture, the trails get muddy, and do not recover quickly.
Don't let the ride rating scare you away - it is assessed as difficult due to the many steep, punchy climbs and occasional rocky sections or big logs, but there are options to reduce the amount of climbing, and the technical sections are short. Definitely check out the trails if you like the Avalon trails just down the road.
Need To Know
There is a lot of equestrian activity in the area, with numerous nearby horse farms. Sometimes the horses are skittish, so be ready to stop and yield the trail, and talk to the riders - they may request that you dismount.
There are no facilities or water back in the woods, so bring with you what you need.
You may encounter wavyleaf basketgrass along the trail. This is an invasive species that PVSP is trying to contain. From September through December the grass blooms seed bearing spikelets that are sticky and attach to just about anything. Please take care to clean your bike, clothing, and gear of the seeds to help contain the invasive grass.
Park at the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Church off Old Court Rd. Please be respectful to the church community and their property. The trailhead may be hidden behind some dumpsters at the end of the parking lot.
The ride starts with a generally downhill profile until you hit the Patapsco Through Trail (white blaze) at mile 1.25. Then you'll follow some mostly flat doubletrack until you cross a creek around mile 2.5 and the climbing begins.
The descent that starts at mile 5 is super fun. The route has you turn before you reach the bottom, but you could continue following the trail downhill past a few sweet overlooks of the RR tracks and river. Then just turn around and climb back up, this time stopping to check out the views.
Another option is to continue all the way to the RR tracks, go across the small RR bridge over a creek, then cross the tracks to your right and follow the Through Trail to the Daniels Dam and an old abandoned church, a good spot to stop for a snack. When you're done, retrace your tracks back along the Through Trail and climb back up to the overlook.
Mile 6 starts with a nasty, loose and steep climb that most end up walking. Don't fret, some good singletrack is coming up.
Take care on the descent at around mile 6.7 that starts in an open field under the powerlines. It gets steep and there may be logs down along the way, and at the bottom there is a stream crossing that should be smooth and rideable.
Around mile 7 there is a right hand turn to climb up out of the valley. If you want to limit your climbing, simply head straight - the trails reconnect at mile 7.7.
Likewise at mile 9.8, you can skip that climb by continuing straight - the trails reconnect at mile 10.5.
Around mile 10.5 you'll see a trail go off to the left. This trail takes you across the river to the McKeldin area of Patapsco. The river is generally shallow and fordable by hopping rocks during the summer and fall months, but expect to get your feet wet. In addition to more singletrack, there are restrooms and facilities at McKeldin if you are in need of water.
Right around mile 12, off to your left, is the Hernwood Landfill. Worth riding some 50 feet along the gravel path to the top of the hill to check out the open field. Probably not a good idea to eat the dirt in this vicinity.
This ride is intended as a good sized introduction to the trails in the Patapsco-Woodstock area. Definitely try riding the route in the opposite direction, and definitely check out any of the other trails that you see along the way.
How long will this ride take you? It took me 2 hours moving at a moderate pace with minimal stopping on a cool, autumn day with super-dry trails. Rider fitness, trail conditions, and the amount of stopping may increase the length of the ride, so be prepared with enough water and nutrition.