When complete, the Jones Falls Trail will extend 10 miles between Baltimore's Inner Harbor and the Mount Washington Light Rail Station.
Currently, a paved, off-road section runs from Cylburn Arboretum south to Penn Station. A highlight of the journey is passage through Druid Hill Park, which offers a natural escape from city life. The park houses the Baltimore Zoo, the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens, and many other historical structures.
After exiting the southeastern side of the park, the character of the trail's surroundings becomes more urban. Along the way, the Baltimore Street Car Museum is a worthwhile stop.
The on-road portion of the trail begins past Penn Station and whisks you south to the Inner Harbor, a major tourist destination with restaurants, shops, museums and other attractions. Navigating this section of the trail can be somewhat tricky; look for painted green trail markings along the ground to help guide you. Hop on the Gwynns Falls Trail at the Inner Harbor to extend your trek through southwest Baltimore.
Just before the Inner Harbor, you'll pass the Phoenix Shot Tower, a red brick pillar built in 1828 that stands more than 200 feet above downtown. Molten lead was once dropped from its top into a vat of cold water at the bottom to produce shot for pistols, rifles and other weapons. It's one of only a handful of similar buildings around the country.
Construction of the trail's northern segment, from Cylburn Arboretum to Mount Washington, is set to begin in 2014. The route will include new bridges over Northern Parkway, wetlands and streams.
The Jones Falls Trail is also part of the East Coast Greenway, a growing network of multi-use trails across 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Street parking is available in Druid Hill Park, across from Rawlings Conservatory (3100 Swann Drive). The trail is also accessible from the city's subway system; several stations are either adjacent to the trail or just a few blocks away.