The first thing you may notice about Trolly Line #9 is the boardwalk that curves between the bluffs of massive rock. The granite was hand cut in the 1890s when the electric streetcar rails were built from Ellicott City to Catonsville. Today these 100-foot-high walls create a striking gateway to the trail from historic Ellicott City just across the Patapsco River from Oella.
The boardwalk quickly gives way to pavement as the trail winds uphill through the woods. On your left, a babbling stream feeding into the Patapsco River provides a peaceful soundtrack to your journey. Tall shade trees keep the trailand youcool when you climb through the woodlands and occasionally pass homes that border the trail. Near the 1-mile mark a short detour off the trail will take you to Banneker Historical Park & Museum, which has nature trails, archaeological sites and living history areas re-creating the Colonial farm life of Benjamin Banneker, an African-American astronomer and farmer.
Back on the trail, the rustic scenery gives way to a more suburban landscape. The few road crossings are well marked and the gradual slope makes for a pleasant trip both up and downhill. When you reach the end of the trail, simply turn around and head back downhill to enjoy Ellicott City, including the Baltimore & Ohio Train Museum, which highlights the history of the nation's first railroad.
Parking and Trail Access
To get to Oella from downtown Ellicott City, take MD Route 144 (Frederick Road) east to the Patapsco River, where the road becomes Main Street. Cross the river and take an immediate left (north) onto Oella Road, where you will find trail parking on your right (the river is on your left). You must climb stairs to get to the trail from here.
To get to Catonsville from downtown Ellicott City, follow MD Route 144 (Frederick Road) east past the Patapsco River and turn north (left) onto Westchester Ave., where you will find parking accessible to trail goers of all abilities.
The trail is a great way to recreate during a hot summer day: it's well shaded and the stream alongside the trail (albeit down a short but steep ravine) offers a few pools for dipping your feet. Ellicott City is a charming town, too, and this trail just ...