Downs Park Trail


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Downs Park Trail Facts

States: Maryland
Counties: Anne Arundel
Length: 5 miles
Trail end points: Downs Park and Pasadena, MD
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032605
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Downs Park Trail Description

Downs Park Trail is located in Downs Park on the Chesapeake Bay just north of Gibson Island. The 3.5-mile perimeter trail is paved, popular for walkers and cyclists alike, and an additional 1.5 miles of natural surface trail are offered. The trail passes through a heavily wooded corridor, skirting the bay and Bodkin Creek inlet.

The 245-acre park also has ball fields, handball and basketball courts, boating, group camping areas, picnic pavilions, fishing pier, beaches (including a dog beach), visitor center and playground. There is a fee; park hours are 7 a.m. to dusk, Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays).

Parking and Trail Access

To reach Downs Park, take Mountain Road/State Route 177 east toward Gibson Island (heading toward Chesapeake Bay). Mountain Road turns into Pinehurst Road; follow the signs to the park..

Downs Park Trail Reviews

Great paved trail for kids. Not marked terribly well and pavement was tore up in a lot of places.

I'm rating this for biking. If you're under the age of 70, and if you ride faster than 5 miles per hour, this trail is not for you. I ride a street (racing) bike, and this trail was a very bad experience for me. The "trail" is extremely bumpy throughout because of tree roots. It winds through the woods, which makes for beautiful scenery, but because of the twisty nature, it also has poor visibility. I turned a curve and almost ran into a woman and her child because they were stopped and completely blocking the trail. There are sections where you can see more than 20 feet, but overall, I would not ride this again. It was rough on my bike and on my rear.

Atmosphere: trail was pretty, tree covered so cool in the very hot sun, had lovely views of the Bay.
Nature: turned a corner and nearly ran over a deer and her fawn! yikes
Condition: a bit bumpy and in disrepair in some places.
Notice: while the road is close by it felt a little creepy in some of the back parts.


It's only $3 per vehicle now. A great mostly-shaded trails wind through the woods, along a stream, and along the Chesapeake. It was nice not having to worry about being in the way of fast riders. There were lots of nice spots along the trails to stop and enjoy the scenery or have a picnic.

The entrance fee is just $6 per vehicle, and the main parking is right by the shore. My husband and I did the 5-mile perimeter ride with our 10-year-old, including a short break for lunch, in under an hour. We saw a deer on the trail, so used to people it just stood there while I snapped a few pictures. It was a very nice trail.

I live within a couple of miles of this trail so I ride it several times a month after work. On the weekends it can be crowded. The park offers a senior lifetime pass for $40 otherwise there is a $5 fee entrance fee. Most of the trail is paved but has some bumps from the tree roots pushing up the paved surface. There are several trails of maybe 200 yards in length that cut through the woods and are packed dirt. I enjoy riding the part of the trail on the north side of Mountain Road as not as many people walk on that side of the park and it is not as crowded. I often see deer while riding and have been startled by one that was only a couple of feet off the paved trail. I would say the best part of riding this trail is the view of the bay and the deer.
John H. Downs Memorial Park is only about 35-40 minutes away from Columbia, MD. The Perimeter Trail (3.5 miles) is mostly older asphalt, with several bumpy spots due to tree roots. It is quite a curvy trail, so not many opportunities to get up to any real speed. There were only a small number of pedestrians on the trail when I rode this past Sunday evening. The park is doing a free concert series this Summer. The Perimeter Trail a lovely and fairly secluded ride through mostly wooded area, some marshy spots, a few open areas, and a little over a mile of the trail goes along the Chesapeake Bay. The signage for the Perimeter Trail is not very clear at some points, but you can obtain a map at the visitor center. Many of the trails meet each other, so it would be difficult to get lost. There are pavilions, restrooms, and water fountains along the way. For your four legged friends there is a dog beach right off the trail along the Bay. Overall it is a nice trail in a lovely park to do a few loops around. $5.00 per vehicle park admission (2009.)

This is a nice family ride. I pulled my 3yr old in her trailer. She loved it! Nice view of the Bay and plenty of wooded trail! Good beginner path. Not to mention Downs Park is very nice!

This is a paved trail that runs beside the Chesapeake Bay for about 1/4 mile. Keep riding and you will feel like you have gone back in time. The trail has lots of natural woods and a small hill to overcome but come out early because after 12:00 p.m. the little ones come with their families and you must slow down your speed to keep it safe for everybody.

I definitely like this trail a lot.

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