Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail

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Trail Distance: 19.5 miles
Time Estimate: 8 hr 20 min+
Elevation Gain: 540 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Hard
Parking: Free
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description
When you head out to go hiking in Maryland, you'll find a variety of rough and easy going trails that showcase the natural woods and streams that make up this land. One of the more popular trails is the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, an old railway corridor that extends over 20 miles from Cockeysville to the border of Pennsylvania, and features a mix of bridges, asphalt, and gravel terrain.


The trail itself begins at the end of Ashland Road in Cockeysville, but offers no parking or amenities. The closest parking space is half a mile into the trail along the NRC Trail area, where there are benches and water fountains next to the paved parking. After another half a mile, you and Fido will enter a vast forest filled with oak and birch trees beginning after a wooden bridge that extends over the Big Gunpowder Falls River. This river has some rapids that offer sights of small waterfalls, along with sandy banks for fishing and boating. The trail follows closely along the river for a third of its length. 

Throughout the trail, hikers will enjoy amenities like restrooms and water fountains when the path passes through Sparks Park and BeeTree Preserve. Other sights along the route include historical sights like the Monkton Station. The trail itself was an old railroad that is one of the oldest lines in the country, in operation between 1832 and 1972. The path is also part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail that connects Florida and Maine. The end of the trail passes through the city of Freeland, ending at the NCR Mason Dixon Line where hikers can enjoy picnic benches, water fountains, benches, trash bins, and more parking. There are multiple exit and entrance trails along the route, making it easier to start and stop on any part of the trail.

Whether you hike this in a day or over multiple days, you and Fido will love the historical and natural wonder you'll get to explore, with access to dog-friendly and human-friendly amenities.

Trail Features
Ice, Loose Terrain, Muddy, Rocky, Beach, Forest, Lake, River, Diverse Landscape, Grassland, Urban
Abundant Wildlife, Wildflowers, Waterfall, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
The trail passes over a couple of roads, so be wary of passing traffic before crossing. The trail sticks close to the river, which can be prone to overflow and flood during the rainy season, making the trail muddy or flooded, so watch out for weather cautions before hiking.
Address
NCR Trail, Paper Mill Road
Sparks, MD 21152
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
NCR Trail, Paper Mill Road
Sparks, MD 21152
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sun Sunrise - Sunset