Destination Rides: Episode 3 – Gunpowder Falls State Park- Little Gunpowder Area
Who: Mountain Bikers looking for some fun new trails that are beginner friendly.
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28394848 (this is just the intro, lots of loops )
When I left Baltimore and headed out to Kingsville it was a hot and sunny day, the first in a few days of bad weather. I had plenty of water and granola bars stocked and I was ready to ride for only my second outing of the summer.
It was my first time at Little Gunpowder, and I drove to the historic Jerusalem Mill Village trailhead. They had a decent sized parking lot to account for visitors to the mill which included a school field trip that day. Despite the crowd, there was still parking available for myself and any others looking for the trails. They have papers maps to guide you through the small number of trails that run between the mill and Belair Road and beyond.
It’s a quick start from the parking lot to the trail, just a short ride on some gravel and you can pull off into the woods and begin your ride. Despite the recent rain, the trail was perfect for riding. There were some puddles along the flat entrance to the trail, but once I got into the rocks and roots and uphill, the dirt was packed and solid.
This small loop of the Gunpowder trail system has multiple forks and smaller loops within it, which let me do some different routes during my ride. I started with the smallest loop that led me uphill, across a power line clearing, and into a short downhill run that shot me straight out of the woods into the large grass opening of the mill. It was short and sweet, and a good warmup. From the grass clearing I could see the parking lot and get right back to the start of the trail.
It was in the clearing that I ran into another biker who stopped to check if I needed any help and to have a chat. He told me that he hardly ever sees any other bikers on those trails. In fact, I only saw two other groups of people that day myself, a woman walking her dog who she kept close and leashed, and a family out for a hike.
My new friend also told me to look out for snakes, which was news to me, but a very welcome warning that I admittedly forgot about pretty quickly. After that small chat I went back to my car to fill my water. This time I went into the trail and took a longer route that took me to the side of Belair Road.
I crossed the Little Gunpowder River and rode over a lot of rocky segments that eventually took me to Belair Road and a small pit stop with another map of the Gunpowder trails. There are some stairs that can take you under the bridge and to the other side of the road to continue riding, but I turned around and rode through a different trail section for my last run.
Overall, this section of Little Gunpowder was mostly climbing with rocks and roots. It’s a short loop, but has multiple trails that connect to each other. I rode for about two hours that day which drained my water supply but didn’t leave me feeling exhausted. The trails are marked along the trees, white or blue hash marks that are pretty consistent.
The only time I had to hike my bike was at the river crossing, the rest of the trails were relatively easy riding and certainly beginner friendly. The trailhead from the historic mill leads into more Gunpowder trails, and the parking lot can be used to access other trailheads further down the road as well. For a lesser travelled section of the Little Gunpowder trails, this section was well worth the drive.
Thanks for reading, now get out there and ride!