The Baltimore and Annapolis Bike Trail is a rails-to-trails route, following the old B&A Short Line Railroad which took city folk from the big city to towns along the Severn & Magothy rivers where they flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s 15 miles (one way) of paved asphalt from just outside Annapolis to Baltimore Washington International Airport. Most of the route had been repaved as of 2019, making a smooth ride.
There are several places to park along the route, so make it as long or short as you want.
The southern portion goes through woods, over streams, past manicured homes and through the business portion of neat-and-tidy Severna Park.
A small strip mall in Severna Park has tables-and-chairs set up under trees along the trail with access to a bike shop, popular coffee shop, a yogurt store and a cheesesteak take-out restaurant.
The middle section takes you through Pasadena with smaller, working-man homes, past a little-used indoor mall, and behind several strip malls. But the trail there is tree lined with wildflowers and tiny parks with benches.
The upper section is Glen Burnie, a 1960’s suburban haven with uptown business sections and a huge softball park. A traveling carnival sets up in the city park every August.
The trail turns around at Friendship Park. That’s the money-stop, where you can watch planes take off or land, depending on the wind direction. That section is busy with walkers, strolling from the park, on nice days.
For a longer ride, at the Baltimore Washington International Airport around the airport. It’s 10.6 more miles and includes a few hills.
This section is the most challenging of the ride because of those hills, but doable if you’re a moderate rider and willing to chug uphill for about ten minutes.
You’ll go around the outside of the airport on an asphalt trail mainly along side the road around the airport, but you travel over marshes, past a horse farm and up a hill where you’ll find a picnic table overlooking one of the lesser-used runways. A nice stopping point.
The trail and public parking lots are open from 7am to sunset year round.
There are a few convenience stores along B&A and at least one off of the BWI Loop.
You’ll find public restrooms, water and a tire pump at the Ranger Station, while Friendship Park has porta-potties. No water there, but a flavored-ice food truck parks at Friendship Park in the summer. (NOTE: THE RANGER STATION IS BEING RENOVATED SUMMER 2019 & IS CLOSED)
Parks are open daily 9:00 a.m. to 1 hour before dusk.
The park ranger station is open Tuesday – Sunday 8:30am – 4:00pm and is closed on Mondays and Holidays
There are a number of restaurants and convenience stores scattered along the way for a quick break and provisions.
Friendship Park parking lot fills quickly in the summer, especially on holiday weekends. The trail tends to be very busy on Saturday and Sunday early mornings in the summer with the early-running set and frequent fundraiser run, walk or bicycle rides. However, it’s not nearly as busy as DC bike trails.