What You Need To Know About the B&A and BWI Airport Loop Bike Trails

The Ride:

  • Approx. 40 miles roundtrip
  • 50 miles if you add the BWI Airport Loop

Difficulty:

  • Easy along B&A
  • Moderate along BWI section

The Payoff:

  • A very pleasant trail with conveniences along the way

Highlights:

  • Several parking areas long the trail, so you can adjust the length
  • Gentle ups & downs along the B&A portion
  • Hills to climb on the airport loop
  • Plenty of places to stop for food & drink
  • Parks along the way to rest and picnic
  • Gets busy on weekends from Arnold through Severna Park



The Baltimore and Annapolis Bike Trail is a popular 40-mile round-trip ride from just outside Annapolis to the Baltimore airport. The BWI Airport Loop circles the Baltimore Airport for another 10.6 miles. We connect the two, but offer shorter options.


Overview of Both Trails

B&A Bike Trail is a former railroad track (rails-to-trails route) so you’re generally limited to a three-percent incline, except at a newer overpass where the climb is a bit steeper.

It starts across the Severn River from Annapolis. You go through woodsy areas on the Severn River cliffs, past suburban towns and end at a park where you can watch the airplanes take-off or land.

BWI Bike Trail at Friendship Park
Watching planes land at Aircraft Observation Area (formerly Friendship Park)

If you want an extra ten miles and some hills, keep going on the BWI Airport Loop around Baltimore Washington International Airport.

Top of Horseshoe Hill, where there’s a picnic table so you can sit and watch the planes. But this is the private airplane section, so not many take-offs or landings

The trail is asphalt and about as smooth as it gets. The entire trail was repaved and smoothed out 2019-2020.

BWI Loop has a few challenging hills, but they’re up-ya-go and back down again for the most part.

You’ll cross over several wood bridges over creeks, which can be slippery when wet.

B&A Bike Trail bridge near Severna Park

The trail gets crowded on nice days along the Severna Park and Pasadena sections, and there are often fundraiser runs & rides along the trail on early Sunday mornings during the summer.

On the weekends, the trail gets crowded, especially early morning. New signs have popped up to warn of busy sections, mainly in Severna Park. The trail typically clears out by mid-afternoon on weekends.

During the week, there’s a pattern. Early morning is the exercise crowd. Mid-morning, the moms with strollers come out. Midday through mid afternoon are fairly open. Kids and evening exercisers start coming out late afternoon and into the evening.

Severna Park through Pasadena are sections where you’ll need to slow down. Also near the airport park. A lot of walkers and families with small children on the trail there.

Jones Station Road in Severna Park

You’ll pass several popular restaurants, ice cream shops & pubs along the way, as well as convenience stores for reprovisioning. And there’s a bike shop on the trail in Severna Park.

This is a trail that’s perfect for a family ride, or just an easy on-trail ride.

But add the BWI Loop with its hills and you have a good exercise run.

A section of the B&A Trail is closed for reconstruction of a trail bridge close to the ‘Annapolis Trailhead’. There’s no good way to cycle around it. We recommend picking a different start/end until Spring 2022.

ChesapeakeLiving.com


B&A Bike Trail Details – 30 Miles

The southern portion goes through woods, over streams, past manicured homes and through the business portion of neat-and-tidy Severna Park.

B&A Bike Trail through 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 Rangers Station is in that section. A historic house is the rangers’ office and there’s a recently built restroom and drinking fountain behind the house, along with a parking lot. There’s a bike tool stand and picnic tables in front of the house.

Rangers Station & Restrooms on B&A Bike Trail

The park ranger station is open Tuesday – Sunday 8:30am – 4:00pm and is closed on Mondays and Holidays

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 families strolling from the park on nice days.



BWI Airport Loop Details – 10.6 Miles

Friendship Park by BWI Airport, where you want watch planes come in for a landing.

For a longer ride, continue on the trail from Friendship Park (aka Aircraft Observation Area). 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 five to 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 a small marsh area, 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.

Top of the big BWI Loop hill

Then you coast down and go back up another hill past a horse farm. Be aware that horse riders also use the trail in this area.

Horse farm on BWI Airport Loop

Keep going, you’re about halfway through the loop.

Cycle past a school, cross the road and you’ll ride by the Benson-Hammond House, a historic brick farmhouse house in Linthicum Heights. It’s open on weekends sometimes.

There are no convenience stores on the BWI Loop trail, but you’ll see some on the other side of the road along with a couple fast food restaurants.


An Insider Tip on the BWI Loop:

Cyclists often wonder whether to ride clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Clockwise: longer climbs on those hills, serious peddling required. The downs are fast, fun and roller-coastery. Viewed as the more challenging direction here at ChesapeakeLiving.

Counter-clockwise: climbs are shorter and steeper, but you get them over with quicker and that ride down gives an oomph up the next hill. Viewed as the direction to take when you want an easier day.



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