BEACH DRIVE ON WEEKENDS
Parts of the leaf-canopied road are closed to
vehicular traf;c from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 p.m.
Sunday, creating a wide, ;at, paved surfacesuitable both for triathletes in training and forfamilies with young kids on training wheels. (Aword of caution, though: Paved trails such as thiscan get busy on weekends, so families shouldbeware speeding cyclists.) Those looking to addmileage or variety can wander onto the paved,
18.6-mile Rock Creek multi-use trail or other
C&O CANAL TOWPATH
This 184.5-mile towpath along the C&O Canal isthe go-to location for long-distance bike rides in theBethesda area. The wide, ;at, hard-pack dirt trailfollows the north bank of the Potomac River fromGeorgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. But evenshort chunks of the towpath make for a great daytrip, with killer river views for cyclists and hikers ofall ages and experience levels.
CAPITAL CRESCENT TRAIL
The 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail may be the
best place in the Bethesda area for a family
bike ride. The trail, which follows the abandoned
tracks of the Georgetown Branch of the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad, stretches from Silver Spring to
Georgetown. The 7-mile section from Bethesda
to Georgetown is especially family-friendly, with a
10-foot-wide, hard-surface trail (the section from
Bethesda to Silver Spring is packed, crushed
stone). Woodsy and scenic, the trail traverses
historic tunnels and bridges. The trail is closed
east of Bethesda for construction of the light-rail
www.cctrail.org P H O
For more information about county parks, checkout www.montgomeryparks.org.
Find directions to themountain-biking trails belowand scope out other trails byvisiting www.more-mtb.org.
GAMBRILL STATE PARK/
Mountain bikers willing to cross the county line
will ;nd 16 miles of wooded, rocky trails in the
Catoctin Mountains northwest of Frederick, about
an hour from Bethesda. All trails (except the blue)
are loops, allowing cyclists to explore new terrain
every inch of their ride. Though beginners won’t
;nd much here, experts will love the steep trails,
ample rock gardens and heart-stopping descents.
LITTLE BENNETT AND BLACK HILL
Located in Clarksburg and Boyds, respectively,
PATAPSCO VALLEY STATE PARK
these two parks offer some of the most
challenging trails in Montgomery County. The hills
are steeper and the roots and rocks are gnarlier
than almost anywhere else nearby. But here, too,
beginners can pedal along paved or gravel trails
while adventure-seekers can test their skills on the
single-track trails. Both are less than an hour from
Once you’ve covered the trails listed here, expand
your horizons at the 16,000-acre Patapsco
Valley State Park, located a few miles from the
Baltimore/Washington International Airport, about
40 minutes from Bethesda. The park extendsalong the 32-mile Patapsco River Valley, and itsslopes provide some intense uphill climbs. It getscrowded on summer weekends, area cyclistssay, because it offers the longest, steepest trailsaround.
This Germantown recreation area, located about
45 minutes from Bethesda, is the heart of
Montgomery County’s mountain-biking scene.
With rolling hills, swoopy turns and a few rootsalong its 15 miles of single-track trails, it’s idealfor intermediate riders looking for a fun andscenic course. The best part: It offers optionsfor beginning mountain bikers, too. Start with the
2-mile white-orange loop, which is well-marked and
The Schaeffer Farm
trail area offers 15
miles of marked
trails for hiking and
Walkers and cyclists enjoy the
11-mile Capital Crescent Trail.