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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Gunpowder Falls State Park - Sweet Air

I was told that Sweet Air is not a must hit destination to ride in this part of Maryland but it's something that I have read about a bit and it's proximity to my company's Baltimore office made sense to me to give it a shot.  Last time I was down in Baltimore for business in which I was able to bring a bike, I brought the Qball and rode the NCR Rail Trail.  This time I brought the diSSent, mainly because I wanted to get some miles on it before the Root66 Domnarski Farm Race and to try once again riding the FUBars, since Brown Santa had yet to deliver my warranty replacement Ergon GX3s.

The Sweet Air is a section of Gunpowder Falls State Park that has 1250 acres of shared use trails for Mountain Biking, Hiking, and Horses.  While I didn't see any horses Tuesday, I did see plenty of signs that horses had been through there.  Talk about a failure to curb one's horse, looks like the Equine community has no clue what it means.

It took awhile to find a decent map of the park but after googling a bit I found this map below but unfortunately I couldn't bring a copy of it with me on my ride because I couldn't get it to print out at the office.  If I had it, though, I think I would have had a much better ride.  The trails are a mixture of single and dual track.  The single track is actually fun to ride as opposed to the dual track, which ran through the fields, and of course the ever present Equine Treats. 

The layout of the trails is a bit confusing and at time was hard to follow as you can see on my ride map below.  I was trying to follow the white trail but the sign posts were confusing and wound up on the blue trail that I ended up taking down to the Little Gunpowder Falls River.  I ended up coming back on the white trail until I found the river trail that I missed the first time because of the stoopid trail kiosks.

The park is permeated with signs with deep and ponderous expressions and signs.  Before starting out, I took a picture of the sign at the Trail Head but due to the heat, it was 94 degrees, I didn't bother stop and read any of the others.  I was too busy sweating.  This place is wasn't very challenging and there were a lot hike a bikes.  Still it was worth giving it a try.

Lots of open fields up top

Plenty of dual track on the boundaries

Looking down the Blue Trail at a deer

Little Gunpowder Falls

Which way do I go?

I guess I was supposed to go the horse route

Eastern Box Turtle

Nice rolling grade dip

White Trail heading back up to the fields


TJ said...

Awesome pics Mark! See you at Damnarksi this weekend!!!

grandslamds said...

Hey Mark,I'm a local in the area and ride the Gunpowder trail system all the time. That particular area of GP has a lot of equestrian traffic on and the trails get real chewed up. If you are interested in riding with a group of locals next time shoot me an email at grandslamds@yahoo.com. Most of us are sports racers and our rides are usually 13-15 miles.


Mark said...

Mike, thanks for the offer. Next time I am down I will definitely take you up on the offer. Thanks.

If you ever find yourself in CT and looking to ride, let me know.