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The first thing you may notice about the Trolley Line #9 Trail 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 trail—and you—cool while 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.
To get to Oella from downtown Ellicott City, take State Route 144/Main Street east to the Patapsco River, where the street becomes Frederick Road. 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.
For accessible parking, follow SR 144/Frederick Road east past the Patapsco River and turn north (left) onto Westchester Avenue. A small parking lot will be on your left, just before a switchback in the road.
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