Fall Foliage Bike Ride & Picnic on the Western Maryland Rail Trail

  • October 20, 2012 · 1:00 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

Fall is the perfect time to head out west to Hancock for another invigorating adventure on two wheels (or three wheels for our recumbent trike enthusiasts). We'll enjoy the outdoors with a great bike ride and picnic in a perfect location to fully experience colorful foliage and fresh mountain air!

We did this ride last fall, and it was a big hit with everyone who attended.  Let's do it again!

The Meetup Location

We'll meet up and start our ride at the Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot directly across Main St. from the American Legion.

It's a large free lot adjacent to the trail where we'll have plenty of room to park and gather at the far end for our ride.

There are other parking lots for the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock, so don't get confused.  This one is very easy to find because the American Legion building has a white AA missile and an artillery gun sitting out front.  It's really hard to miss.

As you enter Hancock on Main St. from the I-70 exit, the parking lot is about one mile heading into town.  It's on the left side of Main St. with a sign that says "Western Maryland Rail Trail".

See the Google meetup map above and the specific driving directions below.

The Western Maryland Rail Trail

The Western Maryland Rail Trail is easily the most beautiful and relaxing recreational bike ride within driving distance from the Washington area.  It's a wonderfully flat and scenic trail that follows the bends and curves of the Potomac River and the C&O Canal below.  You glide on your bike under a canopy of trees framed by rugged rock formations and frequent views of the river.  There is no traffic, just a few crossroads, and it's never crowded.

Opened in 1998, the Western Maryland Rail Trail has an excellent asphalt surface and good support facilities.  The trail starts near historic Fort Frederick State Park at Big Poole, and then follows the former Western Maryland Railroad line for 23 miles through the town of Hancock to the trail's end at Pearre Station.  Hancock is situated in the middle of the trail, with a nice bike shop, restaurants, parking, and Tolonoway Park which features lovely views of the Potomac River by the C&O Canal towpath.

The Bike Ride

Our bike ride will start in Hancock and go 12 miles west on the most scenic and interesting part to the trail's end.  We'll return the same way, making the roundtrip of 24 miles.  The pace will be a relaxing 11 mph so we can enjoy the scenery.

This ride is suitable for casual riders and all types of bikes, but you must be able to pedal for approximately three hours with a few breaks.  Since this is an up and back ride, nobody will be left stranded as we re-group on the return journey.

Helmets are required for all riders!

The Picnic Afterwards

Following the ride, we'll have a picnic facing a beautiful section of the Potomac River at Tolonoway Park in Hancock.  So bring a folding chair and something good to eat and drink while socializing with your Second Half Rally compatriots.

We never tell people what to bring, but they always exceed expectations to make each picnic a special and memorable experience.  And there's always plenty to share, so nobody goes home hungry (or thirsty).  Just bring whatever you have and enjoy what's there!  Great al fresco dining is one excellent benefit of having a creative and fun group of members in Second Half Rally.  ;-)

Tolonoway Park is managed by the National Park Service that does not allow alcohol, so please be VERY discreet with any beverages which might violate that policy.  We don't want any unpleasant incidents to spoil our enjoyment of a lovely afternoon picnic.

Meetup Details

As this is an outdoor event, it depends upon having good biking weather.  I will post a notice here by 9:00 am Saturday morning if this event needs to be changed or canceled.  Call Jake at[masked] with any questions.

I hope to see you there!

Driving Directions

From the Baltimore-Washington area, take I-70 West to Exit 3 - Hancock (exits from the left lane). Turn right at the bottom of the ramp onto Main Street.  Go approximately one mile until you see the American Legion building on the right (white missile on the front lawn) and the Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot on the left (brown sign).  Turn left into the lot and find the group at the far end.

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  • Laura A.

    Great friends (both old and new!) great foliage and I stayed vertical! Yea me!

    October 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Everything, the people, the scenery, the paved trail, and the weather, was perfect and made for a wonderful day!

    October 21, 2012

  • Gloria

    This is my all time favorite bike trail! The fall colors today were spectacular! The picnic with all the great food and bev's at the end was just icing on the cake! Thanks Jake for letting me pedal the Bike Friday and for getting us all out on this great trail on a beautiful autumn day.

    October 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    The paved trail is wonderful!

    October 20, 2012

  • Jake

    It was cloudy and chilly when we started, but the sun came and went during our ride to make us warm. We enjoyed a perfect fall afternoon for biking when the leaves were peaking, and a nice flat ride. Wonderful. Our picnic by the Potomac River in Tolonoway Park was also wonderful. Our members brought really tasty foods and some wine to make it a beautiful finish to a great day out on the trail. Thanks to everyone who came!

    October 20, 2012

  • Janis L.

    Trees were gorgeous, trail was paved and flat. My kind of ride - even though it was about 25 miles.

    October 20, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would love to join the group tomorrow, but would need a ride for my bike. Is anyone near Silver Spring or passing nearby?

    October 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm really looking forward to this! What time do we expect to finish biking and begin picnicking?

    October 19, 2012

    • Jake

      Probably around 4:30 pm by the time we get our gear packed and drive a few blocks down to Tolonoway Park.

      October 19, 2012

  • Laura A.

    Any requests for me to bring...food wise, that is? Bacon dip anyone? or spinach? This is assuming, of course, that my bike is back from the repair shop after last week's crash....

    October 18, 2012

    • Jake

      I really liked your spinach dip last year, and I LOVE bacon things. You should post a comment or contact me if you need a bike. Someone will surely lend you one. It's not a real party if LAF is missing...

      October 18, 2012

    • Laura A.

      My bike is SUPPOSED to be ready to go on Friday, but if for some reason it's not, I'll definitely raise a hue and cry! Well, I won't really cry, especially since I didn't cry when I crashed, or when I washed off my elbow, or when the poison ivy started blistering...

      October 18, 2012

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