A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.
Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
Search all of Maryland's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database
Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground and Trail
Annapolis Rock Hiker Campground and Trail — Located in South Mountain State Park, this 1-mile backcountry loop trail offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and rock climbing. This camping area used to be known as the worst campground along the Appalachian Trail, but due to efforts of several groups, including the Department of Natural Resources, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Appalachian Trail Conference, and Virginia Tech; this area has been rejuvenated. The trail is a fine example of what can be accomplished through a diverse partnership (designated 2004).
Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park — Located in Anne Arundel County, the 13-mile linear park provides recreational and educational opportunities to schools, churches, scout troops, senior centers, and neighborhood organizations. Already noted as part of the East Coast Greenway and American Discovery Trail, this scenic railtrail is set among forested areas, wetlands, and historic sites. In addition to its many natural resources, the trail also provides recreation for people who enjoy activities such as horseback riding and inline skating (designated 2002).
Catoctin Trail (Blue Trail) — This 26.6-mile trail passes through Catoctin Mountain Park, two State parks, and two municipal watersheds while traversing the eastern-most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail provides recreation to the nearby towns of Thurmont, Smithsburg, and Frederick and also serves over three million visitors per year from the Washington-Baltimore metro area. Portions of the trail were originally designed and constructed by the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Along its route are historic districts as well as pre-historic and historic resources, including Indian flint-napping sites and Colonial charcoal hearths. The trail skirts several lakes and accesses numerous scenic vistas including views of the Monocacy River Valley and Maryland’s largest cascading waterfall. A diverse partnership manages the recreational uses along the trail (designated 2011).
Cross Island Trail — This six-mile linear park is considered a gem of Queen Anne's County. It provides a number of recreational opportunities within a variety of natural settings. Trail users enjoy scenic vistas, wildlife observation under a forest canopy, and connections to area businesses, parks, and schools. The trail is not only valued for its natural features but for its achievement in reconnecting the communities of Kent Island (designated 2003).
Along the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail
Great Allegheny Passage - see photos of the trail — The route is the main line of a trail system running from Cumberland, Maryland, to the Forks of the Ohio River at Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh International Airport. The Great Allegheny Passage meets the C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland to link Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C.
Hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and people with disabilities discover the region's spectacular beauty in river gorges, mountain vistas and a variety of plants, wildlife, rocks, trestles and tunnels on a near-level rail-trail passing through the Allegheny Mountains, not over them. The trail also interprets George Washington's struggles to access and control this region, whose industry later made the United States the world's greatest power.
Green Ridge State Forest Trail System — Located in the largest contiguous block of forest in Maryland, this 28-mile backcountry trail offers a variety of recreational opportunities amidst the backdrop of the Allegheny Mountains. With a link to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park that forms a 45-mile loop for backpacking, the trail system provides additional access to key educational and interpretive themes of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail corridor. In addition to its scenic and historic features, this trail system offers a wealth of outdoor activities (including mountain biking and cross country snow-skiing) within 2 and a half hours of Washington, D.C. (designated 2005).
Rock Creek Trail — This 18.6-mile hiker-biker trail features two lakes and offers an alternative transportation route and quiet refuge for a number of communities in a diverse urban setting (designated 2007).
Sligo Creek Parkway Trail: This popular 10.2-mile urban trail/bikeway connects Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, providing not only recreational and educational opportunities for local residents, but alternative transportation options as well (designated 2006).