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You can augment your physical exercise with a mental workout on the paved B&A Trail, a 13-mile rail-trail that connects the Chesapeake Bay cities of Baltimore and Annapolis. Along with extensive historical markers, this trail features the Planet Walk, a multimile display that might challenge your perception of the solar system.
The B&A Trail follows the former route of the Annapolis and Baltimore Short Line, which began hauling passengers and freight in 1887. Ownership changed over the years, and the trains running to Annapolis—state capital and home to the U.S. Naval Academy—were electrified in 1908. The company was reincorporated as the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad in 1935, but business dwindled after World War II until service on the remaining segment ended in the 1970s.
In Annapolis, the trail officially begins where Boulters Way intersects Winchester Road, though the nearest parking is available about 0.7 mile south from the trailhead where Boulters Way intersects Governor Ritchie Highway.
Heading north, you’ll pass a series of historical markers labeled A–Z. The A marker, at 0.1 mile, is the Winchester Station House at Manresa; Z (at 13.3 miles) identifies the Sawmill Branch, a historical source of water and power.
The route rolls through woodsy neighborhoods in Arnold. Be aware that most road crossings are at-grade, and many crosswalks do not have signals. Exceptions are the trestles across Joyce Lane in Arnold and Round Bay Road in Severna Park. Construction work on the Joyce Lane trestle that began in October 2021 was scheduled to be completed in March 2022. Check the county website for updates.
In 3.5 miles, you’ll arrive in Severna Park, where you’ll find more trail parking and a seasonal farmers market on Saturdays. The trail passes behind pockets of businesses, some that cater to trail users, from here north to Glen Burnie.
At the halfway point, you’ll find the circa 1889 general store that now serves as the trail’s ranger station and railroad museum. Parking and restrooms are available here, as are pamphlets for the lettered historical markers. This is also the southern terminus of the Planet Walk, a scale model of the solar system that stretches from Pluto, here, to the sun, some 4.6 miles up the trail. It’s also as far north as horses are permitted along the trail.
The trail’s surroundings become more urban and commercial as you head north past the sprawling Marley Station Mall and Harundale Plaza. The northern terminus is at Dorsey Road, just across from the Cromwell Station on Baltimore’s Light RailLink.
The John Overstreet Connector heads west for 1.5 miles to the 11-mile BWI Trail, which encircles the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The closest parking to the endpoint is 0.5 mile south, where Platzner Lane crosses Greenway Street.
The B&A Trail is also included in the East Coast Greenway, a growing network of multiuse trails connecting 15 states and 450 cities and towns on a 3,000-mile route between Maine and Florida. The greenway shadows the length of the B&A Trail, extending across the Severn River and passing through historic Annapolis on its way to Washington, D.C.
Parking is available at multiple locations along the trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
The closest parking lot to the southern end of the trail is 1700-1714, MD-450, Annapolis. It's about 1.25 miles to the Boulters Way trailhead (the trail's southern endpoint). There are directions to the trail via an on-road bike lane on the board near the entrance of the parking lot. Please note that this parking lot is not located along the trail and is about 1.25 miles via an on-road bike lane from the trail's southern end.
Parking lots located directly along the trail include the B&A Trail Station (51 W Earleigh Heights Rd, Severna Park) and a small lot at Jones Station Rd & Baltimore Annapolis Blvd/MD 648 in Severna Park.
Parking near Glen Burnie is available between Jumpers Hole Rd & Elvaton Rd, on Greenway Road SE between Aquahart Rd & Pine Terrace, and on Greenway St NW & Platzner Lane near Central Ave & Crain Hwy/MD 3.
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