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Located just 18 miles south of our nation's capital, the Indian Head Rail Trail offers a unique natural outdoor experience, seemingly far removed from urban development and its associated chaotic pace. The trail is the result of the generous gift of an abandoned railroad corridor through the Department of the Interior's Federal Lands to Parks Program. The line was built in 1918 to transport supplies for the Navy's Indian Head Powder Factory, founded 28 years earlier as the Navy’s first established presence in southern Maryland.
The 13-mile, paved Indian Head Rail Trail traverses roughly halfway across Charles County, connecting the small towns of Indian Head and White Plains. Cyclists, hikers and nature enthusiasts can experience the surroundings of mature forests, natural wetlands and occasional farmland as they pass through the Mattawoman Creek stream valley and some of southern Maryland's most scenic and undeveloped natural areas.
Notable wildlife sightings include wild turkey, deer, heron, bald eagle, egret and a variety of waterfowl. Leaving Indian Head, approximately 2 miles out visitors will encounter a spectacular view of the backwaters of Mattawoman Creek as it winds on its course towards the Potomac River. As with any trail that shares such close proximity with a waterway, you'll pass over numerous bridges. Just be sure you don't pass the many interpretative signs along the way; take the time to learn more of the region's history. Or simply kick back on the trailside benches and soak in the scenery. No matter your pace, the Indian Head Rail Trail is bound to delight.
There is no parking at the Mattingly Avenue trailhead in Indian Head, but there is ample parking across State Route 210 at either the Village Green Town Park or Charlie Wright Park (101 Doctor Mitchell Lane). To access this parking lot, take Indian Head Highway/SR 210 south from Fort Washington, Maryland, turn right onto Lackey Drive and then left onto Doctor Mitchell Lane.
Parking is also available off Bensville Road/SR 229 south of Bensville, on Turkey Hill Road north of Marshall Corner Road and at the southeastern terminus off Theodore Green Boulevard in White Plains.
Very nice paved trails. Would give 5-stars except for some busy road crossings. Pretty scenery, through wetlands, park and some upscale residential. Nice couple hour round tripper, excellent for beginners.
The Indian Head Trail was a joy... flat, and it went on for miles. I'm just getting back into biking and wanted a longer ride but not necessarily one with lots of challenging hills. The trail is pristine-- not a single crack in the asphalt. Lots of benches and even small covered picnic areas to stop and rest (again, a lifesaver for me ;)) There are portapotties available, including one along the trail. Plenty of parking at the trailhead. And uncrowded, even on a not-too-hot Sunday in July. A great trail!
Just used to trail today for biking.
This is also parking available at the trail end on theodore green blvd, white plains.
Lovely experience, had to deal with cross winds though, lol
very nice wide trail. Its never crowded and its well kept with some shade during the summer month.
The trail has long easy grades traversing woods, meadows and streams. Lots of wild life (and cows in the woods). It does have the advantage of being new and in great shape. Hopefully the trail will be maintained to retain its quality.
This is a great relaxing trail. The view of nature is great. While riding you feel like you are in another world. Take advantage of this gem.
I loved this trail. Beautiful scenery. It was not a busy trail. No walkers in your way at all.
This trail is impeccable in it's maintenance, and is an absolute joy to ride on. I've ridden this trail many times. The social occasions it affords with other cyclists is incredible. I make a new friend every time I ride.
A well maintained and care for trail. Perfect views and scenery and will long low grade slopes for a work workout. The trail head at white son has plenty of parking restroom and sir pump machine. the trail end at Indian head. Not much non town but a good pizza place just a few yard in the Main Street
Rural, not heavily travelled, minimal road crossings -- great for cycling
Enjoyed the trail thoroughly today. Perfect weather for the 26.8m ride on this sunny Labor Day. If you want magnificent views and a break when reaching Indian Head before the return trip to White Plains, take a quick ride down to Mattingly Park which opens up on the Mattawoman Creek (will have to bring kayaks down on a future trip!). A wonderful seafood lunch can be found at Grinders Seafood just off the trail on Rt 210 and Poplar Lane (take Arthur Ross Place off the trail to access it).
I ran this course as part of my marathon training, running the IHRT for the third time. This was the first time that I ran the full 13.4 mile course end-to-end, so I got to see all the work that was done to the trail. This is an outstanding course for hikers and bikers, and a real challenge for runners.
The course is well-marked, with mile marker poles at every mile. At the Indian Hills end, the first marker is BEHIND the arch, and at White Hills, the 13.0 marker is AFTER the arch, in the parking lot on your left. The course may seem flat, but there are some uphills and downhills; it's not the slope of the hills, but the LENGTH of the slope. If you are running from White Hills to Indian Head, be prepared for a two mile climb, another mile climb, and a mile and a half climb to end the run. Regardless of which direction you're going and/or the length, your run is going to end with a significant climb.
The course does run next to private property, so respect the homeowners. There is plenty of wildlife, such as deer, otters (I think) and blue huron (one who startled me near the eight mile!). I also ran into a snake (didn't know if it was poisonous and wasn't interested in finding out!) and a skunk (gave it a wide berth as soon as I saw it!), so keep in mind not all the wildlife may not be so benign!
I ran this on a Sunday morning. I had no trouble with many of the bikers, whose numbers and groups grew steadily from about 8:30 a.m. on. Be advised, some pet owners don't necessarily pick up after their pets.
Like most of Maryland, the IHRT is about 65-70% heavy woods and 35-40% wetland/marsh, so make sure you have your favorite insect repellent applied before you run. There are port-a-johns at both ends of the IHRT,as well as a couple along the route. Several benches, mini-parks, and trash barrels on the course as well. The asphalt surface is well maintained.
For runners, the IHRT is a good challenge. I ran a six mile loop two years ago, and a nineteen mile out and back last year, but the last six miles broke me when I tried to run the full course out and back...maybe next year? Still, a well done course and a good training challenge for long distance runners.
Great trail! At the Indian Head end there is an uphill climb but I think most people dip out before that so they think the entire trail is flat. Also a steady slight grade toward the White Plains end. The trail runs along and over the Mattawoman creek and offers views of turtles both snapping and red belly sliders. I have also seen the dreaded invasive snakeheads in the creek. Be advised that terrapins LOVE to sit on the path and sun themselves so watch out for them. Deer hang out right by the path and people watch. I have had to brake hard for two male turkeys who decided to calmly and SLOWLY strut across the path just east of where the trail cuts thru a farm. Momma turkey with babies in that same area so its a turkey hotspot for some reason. Bald eagles, Osprey, Owls and other birds round out the list. Overall a super scenic and peaceful trail.
I took my wife to ride this trail because she hates hills (even small ones). I was very impressed with the trail overall. Yes it is FLAT but very nice (paved the entire route, benches about every mile, a few intersections with highways). If you want to get out and work on your sprints this is the trail to do it on. There are several one to two mile stretches with no highways to cross.
The trail doesn't appear to be heavily used and I didn't see a posted speed limit (typically 15mph on other Maryland trails).
It's a beautiful part of FLAT Maryland to check out.
Well maintained trail, lots of wildlife. Relatively flat, lacks midday shade.
May 16th 50 degrees at 10 AM sunny wind 12 to 15 from west. Perhaps the smoothest rails to trails route I've ever ridden on. Wild turkeys and a good number of neotropical song birds abound.
Great facilities well spaced with only a handful of road crossings to contend with.
Trial traffic was extremely light and dog walkers were very attentive to bicycle traffic and everyone of them had their dogs on leashes.
All and all a stellar trail and ride.
My backyard looks out onto this trail. I walk my dog nearly everyday about 2-4 miles because it's so convenient, he loves it. There are several rest areas that include: water fountains (even ground level ones for the dog, port-a-potty's, and very friendly people. The only complaint I have is some people don't clean up after their pets, even though the trail provides clean up baggies, but that's to be expected anywhere.
This trail is almost 13 miles in length (short of a marathon as a full loop) and is an excellent place to pack on miles for those long rides. For the most part, walkers, runners, roller bladers (?), and cyclists are very courteous and keep their wits about them (as we all should, right?). I've been riding this trail for several years now and the only real hazards are the squirrels attempting to jump between the spokes of my front tire but then quickly reconsidering... and the plentiful deer. I give them a good holler because there is nothing like computing "hundred-something pound deer moving at XY angle multiplied by how much I want to pay for a new bike and spend months in a body cast" while you're enjoying the nearly flat and rather straight paved path.
All that said, can anyone give an update as to the current condition of the trail (e.g. dry, wet, moist, clean, dirty, overflowing with lava)?
First of February after a big snow and Charles County has plowed the trail and all is clear. The streams are teeming with water, Cardinals are feeding, and one view offered several Hereford cattle feeding. Just the ticket to clear the mind and provide an excellent way to stay fit.
The trail is in as good a condition as a trail can be. 10 feet wide newly paved for 13+ miles. Very level and few road crossings. Only down side was there was not much interesting to see. I like to see interesting places, interesting town, good views, if you are just out for a good easy ride this is for you. The trail was treed on both side most of the way so it was not bad to look at, just nothing to make me get off the bike to take a look.
Like many others, I waited what seemed like a mini-eternity for the trail to re-open after all the pipe-laying work. Parts of it actually never closed, I'm told, but the better part of the 13 mi. stretch was out of commission for nearly a year. I cycled the whole 26 mile round trip when the entire trail re-opened......Aug. 30 I think that was. Anyway the weather was "perfect fall" on 10/26 and that's the most recent ride I took on it (my wife & I walked from Middletown Road to Bensville Rd. and back just the day before). Very pleasant ride (if you make it so!), essentially level, non-intimidating (casual riders as well as "road warriors" equally at ease here. I fall somewhere in between the two groups)with ample places along the whole length to stop and rest. My only gripe since the re-opening is those ugly little rectangular boxes that were installed at what seems like too many locations along the trail, these are, I know, a vital part of the vast system of pipes that was installed during the many months of closure. But every time I saw one approaching I couldn't help but think, Aw, damn, ANOTHER one? Still, it's incredible that they engineered this trail with a bent towards keeping the area as pristine as possible (beautiful! Hey I even saw a red fox walking along the trail at one point....until I approached at a good clip and he bolted off into the woods)As for the new (ugly!) boxes: yes, you can't stop progress. This trail is a must-see-oughta-do for everyone capable of taking a walk or a bike ride or rollerblade jaunt.
I have walked this trail from rt 301 to Middletown rd with my dog and we just love it. The main part of the trail is flat and paved, with grass, trees, shurbs on either side. Plenty of interesting scenery for you and your pet.
I rode this trail for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was excellent! Lots of scenery and it was fairly flat with some graded inclines. Will be back this weekend.
I rode the trail on 09/13/2015 from Whiteplains to Indian Head and back.
This trail is probable the best trail that I have ever ridden on.
(1) It had several locations along the trail where you could park your car.
(2) There were several porty poddy along the trail.
(3) Numerous benches and there was even a rain shelter.
(4) The trail was paved and the trail crossed only a few roads.
(5) the trail was scenic
The trail has been reopened and back to its original beautiful condition. I rode from White Plains to Indian Head and back yesterday and couldn't be happier. There were a lot of riders and walkers out enjoying the trail. Everyone was glad to have this wonderful trail back in commission.
As of August 28, 2015, the Indian Head Rail Trail is open in its entirety! Construction of a utility waterline had created a partial closure for almost a full year.Restoration is now complete and the full 13 miles is once again open for public use.
Over eight miles of paved surface has been replaced and once again the IHRT offers a very smooth/quality ride. Off-trail grading and new topsoil shoulders needs time to mature, but will look great by early fall (as seed gets established).
Just in time for the fall season - this trail offers awesome autumn colors and tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities!
INDIAN HEAD RAIL TRAIL
as of July 28, 2015
After several weeks of favorable weather, construction crews have made significant progress.
The County is now in a position to issue an opening schedule for the Indian Head Rail Trail.
Charles County will open the trail for public use in several phases. This will allow portions of the
trail to be used while final work is being completed by the contractor. The phased opening
schedule is as follows:
1. Mattingly Avenue to Bumpy Oak Road: As of Friday, July 31, the first five miles of the
trail will be open to Bumpy Oak Road.
2. Bumpy Oak Road to Bensville Road: Work will continue in this section and will be closed
for public access. This section will reopen on Friday, August 28.
3. Bensville Road to Theodore Green Blvd: This four (4) mile section will open on Friday,
Note: If work is not hampered by additional inclement weather, there is a chance that the
above-listed reopening dates may be shifted to an earlier date. Please refer to this site for any
We thank everyone for your patience during this closure period and we look forward t
I am going to post pics of the current situation here. I rate this low right now because of the construction otherwise its a 5 plus
It's a great trail but it is currently under construction still. Give it some time and you'll be able to ride from White Planes to Indian Head again.
This trail is closed as of May 25, 2015. We drove an hour to get there and were disappointed in that it was really not very usable. The trail is covered in red clay with tread grooves from the heavy equipment.
The first time I rode this trail I planned on riding just a portion of it but before you knew it I had finished the entire trail. It is such a nice ride with ampules amount of shade and places to sit and rest along the trail. Ideal for riders of all skill levels.
We love to walk or bike this trail. It is not too busy -- beautiful scenery! Perfect for an afternoon adventure.
this trail is really nice you never know what you will see. is black topped and pretty level until the last 3 miles or so a hill, stop and go. But for the most 10 or 11 miles lovely scenery. great for man or beast.
I did this run in July, the last weekend before the trail was closed for renovations. I started at the Indian Head starring point at the park just outside the Naval Base and ran 6.5 miles of the trail. BTW, if you start at the park, never mind the beautiful arch, the geographical course start/finish point is about 400 yards back, at the actual start of the trail.
The course is well marked with mile markers. It runs through lots of private property, so respect the boundaries. Some are not fenced in, but the one little dog who wasn't leashed/fenced in was no threat. There is a portajohn about 4.5 miles into the run. There is a lot of woods and marshland, and there are plenty of biters and stingers, so be generous with your favorite insect repellent and wear a ball cap or do-rag to protect your head.
If you start from IH, the run starts at a downhill and the climb back up may not be that steep, but you will see it and feel it near the end.
Indian Head was a great run, for the half of the course that I got to do. I hope to run the whole course next summer when it re-opens.
My wife, Mel and I went to spend a week in DC with our grand daughter, Elie and her parents. We stayed in Waldorf Md, so we could catch the METRO, 15 miles away, into DC. I loaded up our tandem bike in case we had a block of time when we could ride. We rode three times on this beautiful rail/trail. We picked it up at the 9-mile mark and rode 5 miles out and back to the 4-mile mark on 2 different days. It is wonderfully flat and shady. It is paved and smooth all the way. For a change, on the 3rd day we rode from the 9-mile mark to the 11-mile mark and back to the 6-mile Besides deer, on two different days we saw wild TURKEY's very close to the riding trail. It was just plain awesome; I will plan on going back to ride this one as often as we go to DC!
I am highly acticipating biking this trail but as a heads up to others I found where parts will be closed for some construction in summer 2014 until Spring 2015. Parts will remain open though. A map is available that shows which sections and when at this link....
The Department of Public Works’ Parks Division advises citizens that portions of the Indian Head Rail Trail will be closed to the public temporarily beginning July 2014. Sections of the Indian Head Rail Trail will close during installation of a reclaimed water line that will service the future Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) electrical power plant. Reliable Construction, a contractor hired by CPV, will install the water line.
First long ride EVER. I usually run, but until I am recovered, biking it will be. An extremely pleasant ride and not crowded. People were friendly. Convenience of benches along the way as well as a water fountain and porta johns. Almost completely flat, so for a first long ride, very easy. Mild inclines here and there, but nothing drastic. Plenty of places to stop off and enjoy the view or just listen to nature. Saw a little bit of wildlife on my ride too! WIll run this trail once I am able! Simply fantastic!
Rode the trail today--awesome ride! The scenery was beautiful and it was not busy. Others on the trail were friendly. We were able to ride side by side almost the entire way. Ate lunch at an Italian deli--yummy. We started at Indian Head--slight uphill on the way out, but nothing major.
If you are looking for lunch, the Italian Deli was to the right at the end of the trail. Subs, salads, pizza, and more.
I've been a frequent visitor to Indian Head since 1981. I remember clearly when trains occasionally ran on the tracks now converted to bike trail. Outstanding wildlife and wetlands all around and the track surface is perfect. Bravo!
We rode this on a cloudy October day and it was delightful. The road surface is asphalt and well maintained. The scenery is beautiful and there are many places to stop, sit a while and appreciate the landscape.
Relatively new trail (opened in 2009), beautifully maintained. If you're planning to ride the entire 13 miles (26 RT), we recommend you begin at Mattingly. There is a slight uphill grade all the way to Theodore Green--nothing you can't handle, but you'll be happy for the slightly downhill ride coming back (except for the last mile or so). On a gorgeous late-summer Sunday, the trail was well-used by cyclists, walkers and runners, but never felt crowded. We enjoyed this trail tremendously.
Started at the Indian Head Trail head. Parking was easy to find and plenty. The trail was amazingly maintained and scenic. The views of the Mattiwoman Creek were amazing. Thank you for this great trail.
A must see.
This was my first ride over 20 miles ever. The trail was wide with low traffic accept near the 301 end where you had to slow down and be cautious with lots of kids and dogs. Plenty of places to take a break if needed and a few spots for a bathroom stop also.
Great trail. 13 miles each way. its a rail trail so you don't have to worry about vehicle traffic so great for the kids. Love the water view as you get closer to the rail head in Indian Head. View is amazing. Always stop for lunch or quiet reflection at one of the waterfront benches. A great trail for nature enthusiast as well.
Rode the trail for a benefit ride put on by the Charles Co Sheriff's Office and the United Way. Towed my toddler son and found that the ride was pretty easy due to the flat terrain. The scenery along the trail is quite nice, the few road crossings are on secondary roads with minimal traffice. The trail is nice and wide, with quite a few artifacts from the railroad days on display.
I rode this trail a few weeks ago on a Sunday in August from the LaPlata, Maryland end. Trail is mostly flat with gradual inclines and declines. Mostly wooded with views of properties here and there. It was quiet with few riders. I would not recommend women to ride trail alone as a safety precaution. If you want a nice trail to ride, enjoy wooded views and gather your thoughts, this is it! Overall a nice ride.
I finally got a chance to ride Charles County's Indian Head Rail Trail! Even better then I expected, even after reading all the positive reviews. Being new, the trail is in perfect shape. Lots of signage along the way to explain the history, and wildlife on the trail. Plenty of beautiful and interesting scenery throughout. The views of Mattawoman Creek and the Wetlands are outstanding! All in all a pleasurable experience. Now if Route 301 wasn't such an awful congested highway on a Saturday afternoon, I would give it 5 stars... Thank you Charles County! Highly Recommended!!!
Cycled this trail yesterday. I'm a birder, and I saw & heard 7 warbler species and saw nine red-headed woodpeckers (pretty hard to find where I'm from). Total species for the ride was around 25-30. I biked in the afternoon; can't imagine what the birding is like around sunrise. The majority of the trail runs through swamp that drains into Mattawoman Creek, which then drains in to the Potomac. This has got to be one of the most naturally beautiful rail trails in the Mid-Atlantic. Beautiful views of the creek and wetlands, plus working farms and friendly small towns.
Had BBQ sandwich, collards and mac & cheese today at George's BBQ. YUMMMMM. Indian Head is a great town for biking and BBQ.
WOW what a great trail seen a big black snake a big turkey a cow and so much more. I have done this trail 3 times now and will do many more
Picturesque under utilised, well kept, flat trail with the occasional sightings of deer & wild turkeys & scenic places to fresh water fish. Several rest benches along the way, didn't see any water fountains so bring your own. Some road crossings are major roads so don't slide thru like we do sometimes! :-)
Nice trail to do interval training.
At the western end of the trail you can add a 1/2 mile and some slight hills if you head south on Mattingly Avenue. There a small dock and park, Mattingly Avenue Park. This park has restrooms & parking, there is also a bait shop that has snacks, drinks and kayak rentals.
This trail passes my neighborhood - I am very lucky to have such a nice park so close. I have ridden the entire trail - the railroad grade of the trail makes the ride very easy - no major hills. Lots of wildlife - I have seen herds of deer, lots of birds. Not crowded, very quiet and relaxing.
We rode the whole trail (27 miles round trip) and had a great time. We started at the eastern terminus in White Plains. There was a large parking lot with new bathrooms and running water. The scenery of the trail was great, with lots of signs showing you the wildlife. We saw birds, butterflies and a large turkey. The trail is flat, wide, extremely smooth, and empty. At the eastern end, we rode left down Mattingly Avenue to the water. It's not the Potomac, but a tributary that is almost at the point where it runs into the Potomac. I hightly recommend this trail.
We rode this trail on 7/30/2010 from White Plains to Indian Head and then proceeded to Mattingsly Park before returning to White Plains. Beautiful scenery along the way...saw Monarch Butterflies, two eagles, and 8 deer. Plenty of benches and tables along the side of the path. Gazebo at Mattingsly Park is where we stopped for a snack. Trail is mostly flat except toward the Indian Head end where it has a gradual incline. If you proceed downhill to Mattingsly Park, the hills are rather steep on the way back up to the trail; however, the view is worth taking the trip down. Saw bikers and joggers of all ages enjoying the trail. Will definitely ride this trail, again!
There is considerably more places to eat at the West end of the Trail. When you get to Indian Head there are many places to eat. If you exit at the Woodland Ave exit and ride or walk out to Indian Head Hwy, there is a Subway right there. Turn left on IH Hwy there is a Sub/Chinese Food shop called Goodies. (Advertises the best General Tso's Chicken in Town.) Further up on the opposite side there is a CVS. A little further up there is a Sub/deli called Calajeros which was founded by two people seeking to bring a New York style deli to town, and a Carribean Restaurant. Turn right past the Subway there is a Dales Barbeque and a Grinders seafood shop. If you are just interested in getting something to drink, there are liquor stores beside Subway and Goodies that serve soft drinks. There is also a convenience store called Dash In about 1 mile to the right near Indian Head Hwy and Rt 225. Opposite the Dash In on Glymon Road there is the Secrets Restaurant and Lounge, if you looking for a sit-down meal. If you are really feeling energetic you can ride 5 miles up Indian Head Hwy to Bryans Road, where there are Burger King, McDonalds, Burchmart, the Golden Star Chinese Restaurant, a Pizza Hut Express, a Dominos, Mama Stella's Pasta restaurant, and many convenience stores. So you will always have a place to eat at the west end of the trail.
These places are all available from the trail parking on the Village Green by driving north on Indian Head Hwy.
The Oxon Hill Bike club likes Calajeros.
At the east end of the trail, there aren't many places to get something to eat. Benny's Chinese Take-out is usually open, air-conditioned, reasonably clean, and sells bottled drinks, subs, gyros, fish & chips, and hamburgs, as well as pretty good Chinese food. Go north along Rt. 301 (turn left at the very end of the trail) up through two parking lots. Benny's is in the near end of the third parking lot.
I live in Indian Head right at the trail head. I have walked and biked the trail through all of Indian Head as well as other locations. I am pretty happy with the quality of the trail. I am also fairly pleased at the good conduct of the trail users as well as their courtesy to the inhabitants whose yards they are overlooking. While working in the yard, I have been asked a great many times about locations in Indian Head to eat and drink. So I would like to provide these here.
If one is heading from MP 3 towards the Indian Head trail head, one can turn right off the trail at Woodland Dr and bike or walk to Indian Head Hwy; or at Blair avenue near MP 1, (the streets are clearly marked at the intersections with the trail), over to Strauss Avenue. From there it is a short ride or walk on Prospect Ave or 1st St to Indian Head Hwy. On Indian Head Hwy there is a deli/sub shop, a small cafe, a Chinese food/Sub shop, a couple of Barbeque shops/stands, a Subway, a CVS and even a couple of liquor stores and a "lounge". These places are also accessible from the trailhead turning right towards the Village Green and driving or biking down the hill on Indian Head Hwy. The trail is clearly shown on the Google Maps map of Indian Head so you should be able to find your way back to it.
You are supposed to park in the parking provided by the county on the Village Green about a quarter of a mile from the trail head. However, St Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church, a 100 year old Church, across the street from the trail head has a parking lot right along side of the trail and they have made no objections to trail users using it as long as it is not being used for services and other functions.
The town of Indian Head has provided two water fountains on the trail for the benefit of trail users. There were just hooked up last week.
If you need any other directions and see me out working in the yard I will be happy to provide them as will I am sure most people in town.
The Charles County Commissioners will have the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the trail on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 2:00 pm at the trail head on Theodore Green Boulevard in White Plains, MD. The public is invited and encourage to attend.
This trail is now complete for its full length. It has a nice wide, smooth surface and good views. Not too many people have discovered it yet as it was just recently completed. We rode in the middle of the day on a Saturday with perfect temperatures in the mid-70s and there were no crowds. In fact during parts of the ride we went for many minutes without seeing other riders. The prettiest part of the ride is near the Indian Head end. There is a beaver pond near the Bumpy Oak Rd. crossing where we saw turtles sunning themselves, and the views of people fishing in Mattawoman creek near mile 2 were lovely. A juvenile Bald Eagle flew across the trail just a few yards ahead of us.
We started at the White Plains end of the trail. Signs to the trailhead could be better. If you are traveling South on 301 the right turn onto Theodore Green road is at a light just after you see a railroad crossing sign. Follow this road around until you see the shaded benches at the trailhead and turn right into the parking lot just before crossing the trail.
At the Indian Head end it is well worth taking a short detour to Mattingly Park on Mattawoman creek. Just turn left and follow Mattingly Road to the end. There you will find a boat ramp, peer, and gazebo as well as Up the Creek Rentals, which has kayaks, bike rentals, and bike repairs, as well as a few snacks for sale (http://www.upthecreekrntls.com/). The proprietor, Mike Jones, is an avid rail trail cyclist, very friendly, and very knowledgeable about routes in the area.
Because this trail is quite straight and flat it is perfect for beginners. More advance riders may find it a bit boring, but for a quick trip away from cars and crowds its perfect.
This wonderful trail is one that I use about 3 days a week for bicycling despite living 37 miles from it! As an update, the trail is now complete from milepost 4 to milepost 13 AND milepost 0 to about 2.5. This means that only 1.5 miles of the trail are left to complete which is slated for completion by the end of September. Once complete, the trail will be 13 miles of grandour - a true "Happy Place". Come experience and enjoy the IHRT.
The Indian Head Rail Trail is a great brand new trail in the area. As of June 2009, the 6 mile section from White Plains, MD to Rte. 227 is completed, as well as a 2 mile section heading East from Indian Head, MD. They are supposed to complete the connection between the 2 sections this Fall for a total of 13.5 miles. We parked at the White Plains parking section right off of Rte. 301 (just south of Waldorf) next to an office park. This lot has a huge accessible port-o-potty, a covered bench area and trail info sign. The trail itself is brand new asphalt with a pebble stone shoulder. It is quite flat and a bit downhill heading West from this parking lot. There are benches every few miles donated by various people/organizations. The majority of the trail is very straight, and not too challenging - so it would be good for families or to just get some miles. Unfortunately, there were little to no remnants of the former railroad as you see on other Rails to Trails. The ride is open, with woods on the sides, a swamp, some rural residences, fields and cows to see. I saw 7 deer on my Sunday morning ride. There is a sign that says there is a shooting range nearby - so don't stray off the trail! There are a few road crossings as well. Although, I am concerned about the Rte. 227 crossing when the section beyond that road is completed. There were many cars speeding through the crossing, and it could be dangerous. It seems not that many people know about this trail yet, as it was not very crowded. Charles County has done a really great job with the quality of the trail, parking, signage, and amenities. (Bring water, I did not notice any water fountains.) I can't wait to ride the completed trail later this year!
The first phases of the Indian Head Rail Trail (IHRT) are now open. The link to the trail site: http://www.charlescounty.org/pf/pg/parks/ihrail/ describes the completed portions of the trail and parking options. A photo album link is at: http://www.charlescounty.org/pf/pg/parks/ihrail/images/photoalbum/index.htm
Freshly paved at each end, the IHRT promises to be a state of the art trail when complete.
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The Cross County Trail is a multi-use trail that generally follows the various stream valleys in Fairfax County, Virginia. Some sections are...
The Fairfax County Parkway Trail parallels Fairfax County Parkway/State Route 286 on its route across Fairfax County, Virginia. While the paved trail...
The Ox Road Sidepath is a paved trail that runs parallel to Ox Road/State Route 123 in Fairfax County. The trail runs from George Mason University's...
The 18-mile Mount Vernon Trail is one of the Washington, D.C. Metro area's most popular trails. Just across the Potomac River from D.C. in Virginia,...
Running parallel to Beulah Street from Franconia to Fort Belvoir in southeast Fairfax County, the paved Beulah Street Sidepath provides a link to...
The separated multi-use Rosewick Road Sidepath provides a direct link for both recreation and transportation between the southern Maryland communities...
The 3-mile separated multi-use path along Middletown Road allows for safe recreation and transportation along the western side of Waldorf, Maryland....
The Lake Mercer Loop Trail wraps around Lake Mercer in Fairfax and is slightly over five miles in length. From the Lake Mercer Loop Trail you can hop...
The Burke Lake Loop Trail offers a nearly 5-mile route for a pleasant walk or bike, while enjoying the beautiful scenery around Burke Lake in Fairfax....
In Northern Virginia's suburban community of Springfield, Lake Accotink Park provides a wilderness escape amid the city surroundings. The 500-acre...
The Henson Creek Trail is located in the southwestern portion of Prince George's County, Maryland, and connects the growing District of Columbia...
Cameron Station Linear Park is the quintessential neighborhood trail. Located in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington, D.C., it offers a pleasant paved...
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