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Thread: Torrey C. Brown / Heritage Trail

  1. #1
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    Default Torrey C. Brown / Heritage Trail

    This is north of Baltimore (where I live), but I'm mentioning it in case anyone's up this way, or piecing together a north-south route. This is a 40-mile rail-trail from Baltimore County to York Pa. The Mason-Dixon line is almost exactly at the halfway point. The Md. portion is officially the Torrey C. Brown trail, but all of the signs have the old name, the Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail. The Pa. portion is the Heritage Trail. I've ridden the southern half several times, from Hunt Valley in Baltimore County to New Freedom Pa. I've never gone further into Pa. The southern end is similar to the DC end of the C&O Canal trail in that it has a packed gravel surface, and it's very popular. Different in that it's slightly uphill in almost all sections, all the way to Pa. My understanding is that the Pa. line is a high point, and it starts downhill again. I don't know if it's downhill all the way to York.

    I rode the Md. portion on Memorial Day, up to Pa. and back.Unfortunately, nothing in New Freedom was open that day. On other rides, I was able to lock my bike up and have a couple of slices of pizza at Paesano's restaurant.

    The condition of the trail was good. (Someone mentioned on another thread that the C&O trail was muddy Memorial Day weekend.) I have been on the NCR trail in winter, and sections were covered with a thick layer of decomposing leaves, which are no better than mud for riding through.
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    Last edited by Joe Chapline; 05-31-2011 at 05:31 PM. Reason: Removed my snarky remark.

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    Thanks Joe. Curious, just how busy is that trail? I've also heard that parking can be a bit of a challenge? I know there aren't a lot of trails in Baltimore and wondered if it took the brunt of the local cyclist traffic. Is it shaded, or more open?

    And yeah, C&O was a mudpit this weekend. Fun at first but got old fast. Keep in mind though we were at the north end up by PawPaw, not the pretend C&O that the DC folks see

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    Thanks Joe. Curious, just how busy is that trail? I've also heard that parking can be a bit of a challenge? I know there aren't a lot of trails in Baltimore and wondered if it took the brunt of the local cyclist traffic. Is it shaded, or more open?
    The southern end of the trail is very busy on nice days. Lots of cyclists, including groups, but also runners and walkers. Much like the C&O near DC. At times you have to be patient and wait for an opportunity to pass. I enjoy seeing the people, though; that makes it more fun for me. It gets less busy north of Monkton, about 8 miles from the southern end. There's a large parking lot off Paper Mill Road at the southern end. I got there at 8 am and there were only a few parking places left. When I got back about 12:30, there were ten or so cars parked along the road -- overflow from the lot -- so I guess that's tolerated. This was a warm Memorial Day; I don't think there would be any problem on weekdays or in cool weather. The trail is almost all shaded; just a few, short, open stretches.

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    There's a parking lot in Freeland, I doubt that's ever full. New Freedom was a ghost town on Memorial Day; lots of parking there. Next time maybe I'll drive there and check out the Pennsylvania side.

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    Drove to New Freedom PA with a friend on Saturday and rode the Heritage Rail Trail, the upper half of this MD/PA trail combo. Very scenic, less crowded than the lower half (based on the days I've ridden). Going north, the trail ends in downtown York PA. My favorite thing about this ride is that when you get to the end, you're somewhere. York built a little park at the end (first pic). On the back of the big board in the pic is a street map, so you know how to get to restaurants, the local baseball field, and other points of interest. There's a large indoor market on Saturdays, we visited that.

    New Freedom, near the MD/PA line, is apparently near the high point of the trail, too. It's basically downhill in both directions, toward Hunt Valley in MD and toward York in PA. Riding north from New Freedom, the 20 miles to York was a breeze. I think we had a tailwind, too. Coming back was a bit of a grind, uphill against the wind.

    Surface is gravel, some of it pretty loose. I didn't see anyone on a road bike.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Chapline View Post

    New Freedom, near the MD/PA line, is apparently near the high point of the trail, too. It's basically downhill in both directions, toward Hunt Valley in MD and toward York in PA.
    Very much so..http://www.johncarterphoto.com/ncrr/...elevation.html

    Nice ride tho. The PA side is pretty textbook PA Rail Trail, crushed limestone. Reminds me of the GAP. Cross bike works well but I'd agree, road bike is a stretch.

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