Trail of the Month: May 2006
The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, Maryland
The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail follows the route of the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line Railroad which began running May 9, 1887. This freight and passenger line was the integral link between Maryland's capital city, Annapolis, and the bustling city of Baltimore—shuffling almost two million passengers per year until competition from nearby highways forced the railroads' closure in 1950.
This rail line transformed the suburban region around the nation's capital and is now a paved linear park that encompasses 112 acres. This asphalt trail winds through parks, neighborhoods and natural wooded areas providing scenic views of trees, streams and many historical points. Two of the major stops on the trail are Severna Park, Md., at mile 4.8 and Glen Burnie, Md., at mile 12.7. The trail also goes by the Marley Station Mall, a good stop for shopping; and the Ranger Station, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at mile marker 6.3. The station is perfect for a picnic; grills provided and a large, adjacent field offers good Frisbee opportunities. The station is situated in the middle of the trail and also has a large parking lot and information booth where you can learn about the many birds of Anne Arundel County.
Along the trail you will find a literal alphabet of historical markers, from A to Z. The A marker starts with the Winchester Station House at mile 0.1 at Manresa near the Annapolis-start of the trail. The last marker, marker Z at mile 13.3, is for the Sawmill Branch which was a source of water and power for residents in the early eighteenth century. The historic markers illustrate the many communities the railroad was able to help develop between Baltimore and Annapolis and the individual achievements of people within these communities. The trail also has switch boxes, and sections of track lining parts of the trail creating a historical and unusual atmosphere. The Ranger Station has a detailed flier on the historic markers and will lead you through the fascinating history of the B & A Trail.
Parts of the trail are sponsored by Friends of the Trail committees, dedicated volunteers who fill the flowerbeds and kiosks along the trail. The trail also includes a Planet Walk sponsored by NASA, a linear museum with educational displays for each planet and the sun.
The trail ends in the north at Glen Burnie but you may continue on the BWI Trail Loop which will give you an additional 12.5 miles taking you around the Baltimore Washington International Airport.