Sweet Air Ride
ElevationAscent: 370' 113 m
Descent: -366' -112 m
High: 536' 163 m
Low: 342' 104 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)
Current trail conditions
Popular rides nearby
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Gunpowder Falls State Park (LGP)
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3.9 mi 6.3 km • Loop • 44 ft Ascent 13.26 m Ascent
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West Friendship Park
3.4 mi 5.5 km • Loop • 220 ft Ascent 67.07 m Ascent
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“A tour through the Gunpowder State Park-Sweet Air trail system.”— Cheryl Ladota
You'll travel along an old farm road and through a large field of corn. After passing along a few suburban backyards, the trail splits with the Little Gunpowder Trail going right, and the Barley Pond Trail to the left. Stay right to head northwest onto the Little Gunpowder Trail. After a short distance the trail veers off to the left. There is a lot of thick rose hedges on this section of trail, so watch out for thorns, although they are hard to avoid. The trail crosses a wide pipeline cut and then dives back into the forest on the other side.
This open lowland forest is made up of twisty, rooty switchbacks and rolling hills. There are a few short technical sections, but for the most part it has bumpy uphills and flowing downhills as it makes its way towards the river. There are three to four stream crossings with narrow boardwalks.
When the trail reaches the river, the hiker-only Red Trail branches off to the right as the Little Gunpowder Trail runs close to the rivers edge to the left; stay left. This section is very scenic with many benches and viewing spots to enjoy. There are boardwalks and wooden bridges that cross small streams. Because many horses travel this route through the floodplain, there are a few muddy bogs that cover the entire trail.
The trail turns away from the river and heads up into the forest. This section of trail is full of tight switchbacks and can be quite narrow in places. The trail has numerous technical sections, particularly on the climbs, which often have large roots, small rock piles, and the occasional log jump. There are two steep technical climbs that may require a more advanced skill set. There are great views into the valley and river below. Near the end of the white trail, the trail branches with signage identifying the horse route and the hiker route. This area was recently rebuilt by an eagle scout team and it is in great shape. The caveat is that both sides are very steep and technical with some rail tie steps and log jumps.
The white trail ends where it meets the Boundary Trail, which starts as an old farm road. Follow this road to the right and around the large cornfield. It returns to the forest for a final, mostly downhill ride back to the parking lot.
Land Manager: Maryland DNR - Gunpowder Falls State Park