This is a a great trail if you love x-country mountain biking through the forest. Don't let the fact that it is a fire road fool you. It has a lot of steep technical climbs and plenty of flow and speed. Your skills, strength and stamina will be tested. There are peek-a-boo views of the reservoir, but resist the urge of riding down to the water on one of the bike restricted trails; this is an environmentally sensitive area.
Although it is tempting, stay off the hiking-only trails.
This trail is part of Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County. There is a short trail located at Seminary Avenue and Dulaney Valley Road that runs along Seminary and has a parking area. When it ends, you have to go about 25 feet up the same side of the road to the official trailhead for the Glen Ellen Trail
on your left. The Seminary Road Trailhead can be tricky to find. You can enter the trail on the northeast corner of Seminary and Route 146 or continue east on Seminary Road, and the trailhead is marked by a few large boulders, some signage and a kiosk.
The Glen Ellen Trail
parallels Seminary Road before climbing up towards the reservoir. All along the trail there are branch trails that go along the water, but they are clearly marked as being prohibited to bikers. The bike trail is very well-marked with white blazes, arrows, and bike signs.
The fire road section of the trail is rolling, hilly terrain, growing more challenging further along the trail. Some hills are steep with loose rocks and large roots. You'll find sections of the trail that narrow to singletrack because there is clearly a line that everyone prefers to take. There are a few small stream crossings that beginners may want to walk across. Trees often fall in this forest, so don't be surprised to find small and large log jumps with the occasional tree that just cannot be ridden over. These usually get cleared quickly, but sometimes it can take weeks.
When the trail comes to a large fork, you want to stay to the left to continue on the Glen Ellen Trail
. You'll have a another challenging and steep climb before you take a right onto Cutoff Connector
. Take this connector a very short way to the Glen Ellen Cutoff
route that heads south. This climbs a mild hill, the ends at the intersection with Glen Ellen Trail Alternate
. The trail is primarily hilly forested x-county terrain. There is new wayfinding signage that directs you along the desired trail. There are many cut-throughs and branches, so new signage was added to mark the official trails.
At the end of the Glen Ellen Trail Alternate
you'll take a left back onto the Glen Ellen Trail
. All those steep climbs are now fun downhill runs, but what was down before will now have to be climbed. This is a great ride to build uphill endurance and downhill speed skills. You'll have a great time learning and honing skills.