A scenic ride that mirrors the Quarry Trail (Jesse's Trail
) on the other side of the river. It starts out easy with singletrack within feet of the Little Gunpowder. There are many spots to get down to the river and even take a dip in the summer. The middle section takes you up into the forest with nice views from the top down to the river below. The final stretch, on the way down, is steep, rocky and narrow along a steep drop off.
Make sure you park at the right lot or you'll be heading down to Jesse's Trail
. If you see white blazes, you'll know that you are on the wrong side of the river and need to go to the lot down the street on the other side.
This ride starts at the parking lot on Route 147 on the northbound side. The southbound parking lot takes you to the Little Gunpowder Trail (Harford Rd. to Bottom Rd.)
. This trail is rarely crowded, other than summer weekends, but it is twisty singletrack, so keep an eye out for hikers/runners/dog walkers around blind curves. There are no blazes on the trail, but it is very well maintained, so it is easy to follow.
The first section of this ride is relatively easy. It begins in the forest and quickly meets up with the river. There are a few stream crossings with wooden bridges. The trail is only a few feet from the water's edge making for many beautiful views worth stopping for to snap a pic. There are a few tight switchbacks and thick roots, but a beginner should be able to handle it.
This section of the trail ends when you reach the tall concrete barrier of Bel Air Road bridge. Do not attempt to get to the Bel Air Road trailhead from here. Instead, follow the trail to the left as it runs along the barrier and then begins to ascend deeper into the forest.
This section is more challenging and you'll understand why it is a quarry trail. There are steep climbs, some rock gardens, and a few longer uphill climbs. You'll pass a nice viewpoint marked by a crumbling wooden shack. Head up to the shack to take a look down into the forest. Another steep climb will lead to the top of the trail, which is marked by another lookout spot.
The remainder of the trail moves into much more difficult territory. The descent back down to the river begins with a few steep rock gardens before the track levels out. There are tight switchbacks and some 6-10 inch logs to jump. You'll descend another rock garden before entering the final descent. It's a great spot to view the rushing river through the trees. Head down a very narrow, rocky track with a steep drop off on the left. This will take you back down to the river.