Self-Guided Opportunities
Horseback Riding
Location Gunpowder Falls State Park, Hereford Area, 410-592-2897
Trail Access Parking areas are located along many roads that cross the rail trail. However, most do not offer sufficient room for a horse trailer. Parking at Freeland has adequate space. Limited horse trailer parking is available at White Hall. To reach the Freeland parking lot, take I-83 north to exit 37 for Maryland Line. Turn left heading west on Freeland Road until it crosses the rail trail. Parking will be on the right.
Distance 21 miles to York, Pennsylvania heading north
11.5 miles to Monkton Train Station
19 miles to Ashland (one way)
Equestrians ride as far as they wish and return via the same route on this linear trail.
Time 1 hour to all day, depending on the chosen length of the trip.
Trail This former railroad bed is a double-track crushed stone surface that is hard-packed and ADA accessible. The trail has a gentle one percent grade. The trail begins in Ashland and continues to York, Pennsylvania. In the lower section, it follows the course of the Big Gunpowder Falls.
Skill Level Easy
Suitable For Families? Yes
Hazards/Restrictions No motorized vehicles. Be aware of bike riders and hikers sharing the trail.
Potable Water Water is available at Sparks and Freeland year-round, and at Monkton seasonally.
Natural Features In the southern end, the trail follows the Big Gunpowder Falls and has views of pastoral settings and farm fields. It passes by wetlands with opportunities to listen to spring peepers (a tiny frog) and other amphibian calls. Above Monkton, the topography creates narrows passages where the trail passes through rock outcrops with cool springs and abundant ferns. Wildflowers decorate the sides of the trail in open areas. A rapids area on the river creates variety in the scenery. In the northern end, a wetland near Beetree Run is home to an active beaver lodge (they move their lodge along the trail yearly).
Historic/Cultural Features The trail is a former railroad bed for the Northern Central Railroad (c. 1840) that once transported milk from local farmers into the city of Baltimore. President Lincoln traveled on it to deliver the Gettysburg Address. The rail line later served as a commuter train until the early 1970's when Hurricane Agnes destroyed the railroad. The trail visits quaint farm towns and passes by historic train stations at Monkton, Maryland and Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania.

The rail trail was officially renamed the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in 2007, after Maryland's third Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary, who was the major driving force in developing this multi-use recreational trail.
Guiding None
Camping Organized youth group camping is available nearby at Camp Wood on Bunker Hill Road. Call the park for reservations, 410-592-2897. A privately owned and operated RV park/campground is located in the Hereford Area.
Other Points of Interest Monkton Train Station serves as a visitor center and museum for the park. Sparks Bank Nature Center in the southern section of the trail is a hands-on nature center for children ages 3-8. Adults enjoy it too. The center is modeled after the Smithsonian's Discovery Room.
Other Accommodations Hotels and motels are located in Hunt Valley. A bed and breakfast is located in Parkton.
Service Charges or Permits Youth group camping permit fees only.
Description This easy trail is family-oriented. The ride features natural and cultural history along the trail with scenic views of pastoral land and historic railroad towns. The rail trail is easily accessible from the Baltimore area, and includes restrooms and water at designated locations. Ride through history and look for clues from the days the railroad and milling were active, or enjoy the sights and sounds of nature's wonders along the Big Gunpowder Falls, including wildflowers, ferns and wetlands teeming with frogs, beavers and other wildlife.

Resources Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Provide your own horse
  • Riding helmet recommended
  • Water and a snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Check for ticks upon returning