Grueling but fun journey for inline skating
I started at the Dixon Observation Area, heading into the woods. The woods area gives you a sense of the grading-- a little bit of uphill and a lot of relaxing downhill. Seems too good to be true, right? The balance is payed on two or three REALLY steep spots where you all but walk up the hill. Not recommended unless you have really powerful legs and back muscles. Because of these few very steep areas and the sheer length of the journey on rollerblades, I'd call this an intermediate trail. Also, a couple downward grades leading to intersections make it crystal clear that this is a BIKE trail. To attempt this on skates without proper braking technique is downright dangerous. Although the trail can be grueling at times, there are plenty of appropriately spaced benches and diversions. For example, there is a little info/ shelter on the hill where you can take a breath and watch the planes. One section runs through bucolic horse farms. Some straightaways brought me up around 25 mph and left me feeling irresponsible for going so fast without any way to stop. The hill following the 195 bridge is mind-bogglingly steep and should not be attempted on a crowded or rainy day. I went for it, but had to warn some people on the pathway below to move aside. On the last few miles leading back to the parking lot, there are a series of wood-covered bridges. The fair quality of the boards is what makes this a 4-star and not a 5-star review. The boards seem safe enough, but are worn and rumbly. All in all, an exhausting trip but also really fun. When I was done, I thought, "Did I just go around the entire airport on roller skates?" I did. Note: It is best to bring a backpack with water and sports drink, as there are no stores aside from a couple convenience stores which may or may not allow in people on skates.
a sunday ride
My hubby and I did the BWI trail on a Sunday morning in June around 0900 AM. We parked our car on the side rode of Elkridge Landing where other cars were parked. We are recreational bikers just now getting into biking about a month ago. he drove a hybrid bike while I have a simple mountain type bike.
We had great fun, we only did the BWI loop, and that was enough for a hot day. If you start at Elkridge Landing, there is a park at almost exactly the mid way point, where you can take a rest and go to the restroom. There were some joggers and other bikers, but nothing overly packed at all. I really love riding where I didn't have to worrry about dodging cars. There were only a few cross overs of streets, that had little traffic. If you start the by heading northeast, you don't hit the long hill until the end, it was rough for us, but probably much simple for more experienced bikers. I hope we did this again next weekend, and we'll how it work going the oppposite way. I do suggest you bring you own water to cool down and take breaks. it only took us about 1.5 hours with water breaks, what was funning is seeing the same bikers passing us a couple of times...now they were experienced!
Nice loop for a long run or a short bike, very friendly
This trail is usually noted to be 11 miles, but a piece of that is a short 0.4 mile dogleg to the terminal. So, if you do this trail, you are either going to do the main loop at 10.6 miles, or include the terminal and complete 11.4 miles. There are two nice overlooks. One is the Dixon Observation area with the crowds, playground, and parking, where you can watch the planes fly in. The other is at the northern piece of the trail, to the east of Elkridge Landing Road (another decent parking area, on street). This overlook includes benches and trashcans, and is a nice hill that overlooks that airport, where you can have a nice general view of the whole airport. In addition, as you leave this area heading towards Elkridge Landing Road, watch for the Emu farm on the right, in the woods.
This trail has lots of neat wooden bridges, some very long. In addition, to the east of the Dixon Observation area, it's shaded, and very pretty. It's a great area to take kids on short rides. You can ride from the parking lot, out to the shaded area in maybe .75 miles, and have the planes fly right overtop of you.
There is a 7-11 on the trip, but it's across a busy road. That is on Aviation Boulevard.
Lastly, they like to close the Dixon parking lot at sunset, and the trail itself closes at dusk. But, if you are on a long run or bike ride, and you are at risk of getting back late, I recommend parking in an area other than Dixon. If you go further west down Dorsey, there is a Burger King on the left in a shopping center, which is nice to park in just in case you hit sunlight issues.