Ironton Rail-Trail
March 28, 2016
Kent Island South Trail
April 6, 2016

Western Maryland Rail Trail

This trail sits where the Western Maryland Railway’s West Subdivision right-of-way passed through before it was finally abandoned in 1975. It is 22.5 miles (36.2 km) long and is composed of paved asphalt. Western Maryland Rail Trail runs from Fort Frederick all the way to Pearre Station where it ends.

When this right-of-way was abandoned, works on establishing a train commenced but were done in phases and this was after the Maryland Department of Natural Resources bought a section of the right-of-way. The first phase to be set up was the ten mile (16 km) section running from Fort Frederick to Hancock.

This section was officially opened in 1997 and came to completion in 1998. The second phase was the 10.3 miles (16.6 km) section from Hancock to Pollypon; a water body where can boats would winter. Works on this section commenced in 2001 and 10th June 2002 marked the opening date. The third phase was the section between Pollypon and Pearre Station.

Works on this section began in 2003 and was officially opened in 2005. That notwithstanding, plans were in place to extend the trail to Little Orleans and this particular project received funding in 2005. However, by October 2014 it did not kick off as planned since it was supposed to go to Indigo Tunnel and it was thought that this would endanger the rare species of bats found in there.

These species include the Indiana bat and the Eastern Small-footed bat. The only option in this case was to use the C&O Canal path. Should a solution to this issue be found, Western Maryland Rail Trail is planned for extension by West Virginia and Maryland for another 10 miles and this will be from Little Orleans to Paw Paw in West Virginia.

This trail has amazing sights on the western region within its vicinity including historical one. Ruins of the old Round Top Cement Mill can be seen and it happened to be the top employer in terms of the number of employees during the civil war in Hancock. From this point you will also be in a position to view large rock outcroppings as well as great views of the Potomac River.

Bears can also be traced on various occasions so are the turkey and the deer. Some of the activities to engage in here include rollerblading, walking and this includes dog walking too, jogging and biking. You can also do some snowshoeing and cross country skiing but engaging in these two will depend on the weather conditions at that particular time, whether they will permit or not.

On the east of Western Maryland Rail Trail, you will find the Blue Goose Fruit Market & Bakery that sits where thousands of fruit trees grew in the 1920s. It is here where you grab your snack as you go about your activities and should the planned extension be approved, parts of this trail will pass through Kessler tunnels and the old Stickpile. It will also cross the Potomac a total of six times.

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