Kendall Trail is a 10.2 mile out and back trail located near Friendsville, Maryland and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
The first two miles of this trail follows the former Oakland-Confluence narrow gauge railroad bed and so is only a modest but even climb. Frequent puddles and occasional streams trickling across. After the ghost town of Kendall (which is little more than a few foundations and a pile of coal spillage) the trail becomes more difficult, becoming clear why the railroad never made it upriver to Oakland. Near the end of the trail (5 miles from Friendsville), it narrows and almost disappears. Press on just a little farther and you'll find a place that kayakers call National Falls.
Since the weather and fall foliage was close to peak conditions I decided to attemp the Kendall Trail. It's a very easy grade... a rails to trails project. I was surprised about mile 2 how much rock was on the trail. Can't imagine a train ever navigated that. Overall a lovely easy paced
Easy trail on old narrow gauge train bed. Nice views of the river. Hiked in mid June. Some very large mud sections and lots of bugs.
Echoing the earlier sentiment, the area is not well marked regarding the start of the trail. Once on it, the trail was decent for novice hikers like myself. The turning of the fall foliage was a nice part of the hike. We saw no other hikers on our travels that day. The weather was off and on sprinkles, which didn't seem too bad until around mile four, where the dirt path turned into a swamp. We moved off the path to eat at that point, and enjoyed the bird sounds we could hear. We chose to turn around, in part because of the weather, but mostly because there wasn't an easy way around the mud holes we ran into on the trail. There was a stretch at least 40 yards of nothing but mud. I would like to do this again to finish it out, but I think I will wait until is it dry. Lots of nice terrain features to observe.
What the AllTrails directions don't say is where to park, the nearest public place to park is in front of the town's library about a block away. The trail begins just off of Morris Ave just behind a small apt building. the trail is gated, but other than the sign at the trail head, there are no markings. From there it's pretty straightforward. The sounds of I 68 and Rt 42 fade by mile 2. The trail is initially gravel, but that changes to dirt also by mile 2. The first 4 miles are pretty suitable for mountain biking as well, but it gets pretty rocky around mile 4. There are numerous small footpaths leading to the river. The whole trail is scenic, but after around mile 4, the scenery is best. The Alltrails site also lists this trail as 5 miles, but my gps clocked at 6 miles and the trail was still going (to be continued later) Foot traffic was minimal at best- I saw only 6 people the whole day. And 3 dogs. All on the return trip Wildlife includes deer, turkey, pheasent, insects by the metric ton, and though not seen (this time), Garrett County,MD is prime black bear country. This is more a Nature Trail than hike and I can see where it could possibly make a good beginner cross country ski trail as well.