This past week I had a chance to ride one of the best rails to trails bike path in the Baltimore/Washington area. Charles County Maryland has created a 13 mile bike path that follows the Mattawoman River as it goes through the County.
This bike path provides many viewing points along its marsh areas to watch an amazing amount of water fowl and even bald eagles as the information board below shows.
The area below with its dead trees provide a perfect perch for bald eagles and hawks to watch for food.
The path is mostly flat with a few areas of gentle inclines
The river has created many marsh areas along the ride.
The best way to get to the trail is to follow Route 301 to Waldorf and look for the sign above that directs you to the turn for the beginning of the trail.
There is a large parking area at the beginning of the trail with bathrooms and a shelter to eat a packed lunch. There is even a misting pole if you are hot from the ride.
As a reminder of what the trail was once a caboose from the railroad era is in the parking lot.
I finally broke down and bought some clip on bike pedals and shoes this week.
I have been using toe clips on my pedals for over 30 years.
Needless to say it takes some getting used to. My first 10 minutes of practice with the toe clips ended with two easy falls on a straight part of the bike path behind my house. No a nice feeling to be falling over while desperately trying to unlock your foot from the pedal. Only a slightly bruised shin and hip.
I have blogged before about how important it is to bike safely on our bike paths. This week showed how important this is. I was running on the path from Lake Elkhorn to Savage and a biker came around a blind downhill curve at a fast pace. He saw me and slammed on his brakes and lost control of his bike. To make matters worse the path was wet from a light rain. The biker rolled off his bike and landed at my feet. He seemed more startled than injured. I can only wonder what would have happened if I had been on my bike or if a child had been on a bike instead of me running.
Great post, Duane. We're going to try it this weekend. Your directions were kind of sketchy though. Here are directions from the Charles County parks website:
Access and Parking: In Indian Head, there is no parking at the Mattingly Avenue trailhead, but there is a large lot a half-mile away at Charlie Wright Park. The park is on Doctor Mitchell Lane: turn right off Route 210 onto Doctor Andrews Way, and bear left just before the baseball field. After parking, cross Route 210 and follow signs down Mattingly Avenue to the trailhead.
In White Plains, there is a large parking lot at the trailhead. From Route 301, turn right onto Theodore Green Boulevard. The lot is about a quarter of a mile on the right side of the road. (There are bathrooms, water fountains and a misting station at this parking lot).
Weekend-only overflow parking is available at the Charles County Health Department parking lot (intersection of Route 301 and Theodore Green Boulevard).
About 4 miles south of Waldorf on Route 301 is a small town of White Plains. After passing Billingsley Rd. you will see the trail sign in my blog and you turn right on Theodore Green Blvd. The entrance to the trail is on Theodore Green Blvd about a quarter mile up this road.
The most direct way from our area is to go east on Route 32 to Route 3 South. Route 3 turns into Route 301. This way is direct but goes through a lot of towns with red lights. I prefer to go to the Capitol Beltway and go east to the Route 5 exit toward Camp Springs. Route 5 intersects with Route 301 above Waldorf. Follow Route 301 south to trail.
Enjoy the trail.
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