Northern Central Railroad Trail to York County Heritage Trail

MODERATE 69 reviews
#2 of 7 trails in

Northern Central Railroad Trail to York County Heritage Trail is a 40.6 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Cockeysville, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 40.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,584 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash

kid friendly


horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

trail running


bird watching




1 month ago

Great trail that accommodates walkers, runners and bikers. Some areas are nice and wide where you can easily pass each other. There are a few areas that can be a little narrow as these areas have a little more traffic than others. Dogs are allowed on trail.

Ran through the thunderstorm just now. Talk about invigorating and cleansing! Namaste

road biking
Saturday, July 07, 2018

Nice flat trail for cruising

mountain biking
Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Easy traveling, this is my go-to trail for riding. Beautiful scenery and plenty of stopd, if needed. Sometimes gets a bit crowded but always enjoyable.

road biking
Monday, May 07, 2018

Very, very nice trail

Friday, December 29, 2017

This was a 7-mile outing as a recovery activity, after a super-hilly 11.5 mi run the day before. I hiked at 4.3 mph (13:57 min/mi), on the North Central Railroad Trail, starting northward from the Monkton trailhead, turning around at Wiseburg Rd/Schoolhouse Rd, in GFSP. However, I took two pics, and recorded only 1.3 mi of this activity — the 25F weather led me to turn the GPS off and focus on the hike. This is an awesome trail and I will be returning.

mountain biking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

This is a very scenic ride with some rarely noticeable elevation. The trail is in good shape, mostly dual track with some areas that narrow, making it hard to pass. The mileage is well marked and accurate, making it easy to create a loop of any length. The trail has light traffic during weekdays, but can get very heavy on the weekends.

mountain biking
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Very nice gravel trail to bike. Trailhead can be accessed in a neighborhood but the main parking lot is at mile marker .03 which is no big deal. Best to start early in the day as it can be fairly packed late morning or afternoon.

mountain biking
Saturday, July 08, 2017


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Love love this trail. Great for everything. Biking, walking or running. Family & pet friendly. It's a flat dirt trail. The Gunpowder River runs along side of it. Things to see at different areas along the way!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Depending on the day, you can have a really relaxing walk or a nearly stressful jaunt with too many bikers, dogs, and kids.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The trail is extremely crowded which makes it difficult to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

road biking
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beautiful setting but the state of MD is letting this jewel go rusty. For biking the trail has deteriorated over the past few years. Very bumpy, and the latest insult is the fact that they dug it up for gas lines and did not restore the trail to a decent shape. I hope some maintenance can be done on the trail

trail running
Friday, August 26, 2016

I've run the beginning 6 miles out and back twice. Beautiful stream bottom with several ports potties and water coolers in the first 6 miles. Really nice in fall with colorful leaves.

road biking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

A nice trail to bike. Can easily do half out and back in a few hours. Lots of places to stop.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Great trail!

mountain biking
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Easy ride that can be done with family or beginners. Has good resting points with pleasant scenery. Trail goes on for miles and had to turn around after 8 miles in. Would definitely go again!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Yes I gave this trail 5 stars. What more could you ask for in a trail. 1% or less grade, wide, clean, beautiful scenery with much of the trail next to the Gunpowder River, bathrooms at many locations along the trail. 40+ miles with 20 miles in Maryland and 20+ in Pennsylvania. A bike shop right on the trail in New Freedom PA section. And a few places to buy lunch or something to drink. A 5 star trail in my book.

trail running
Friday, May 22, 2015

Love this trail for all my long runs. Flat, quiet, well kept. It's really crowded on the weekends though, so parking can be difficult.

mountain biking
Friday, January 02, 2015

Great time on the North Central Trail with the family! I thought this would be a good place to get the family started with biking - it is flat, the wooded scenery is interesting and fun, and it felt like an adventure. We only adventured in 3.8 miles on the trail - there is still so much more to see!!

trail running
Thursday, September 25, 2014

Perfect for long runs! Totally flat though

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Another piece of useful information, the trail is the most crowded Saturday and Sunday. I go after work during the week. if you enjoy tubing on the river, there is a tube rental and snowball stand by the train station. Don't go to the snowball stand on Ashland ( in the lady's back yard). Her pets are in there while she is making your snowballs and she doesn't even have marshmallow. prices aren't great either.

road biking
Saturday, October 12, 2013

Very nice for all purposes--walking, running, cycling and horseback riding. I am usually cycling, and start at Monkton and head north, since farther south has a number of walkers, runners and families with small children on weekends. It really is beautiful, and a nice, smooth ride on crushed stone with almost no elevation.

trail running
Monday, August 26, 2013

This trail is great for many reasons and can be used for many purposes. I have been coming to this trail since I was a kid and my parents would take us biking on it. We would bike all the way to Monkton and there is a great little shop there that sells all kinds of treats. I used the trail later in life to practice for the Baltimore Marathon. The reason this trail is great is that is flat and wide, so people use it for all types of activities. You will see runners, bikers, hikers, people walking their dogs, and people riding horses. Its very long so make sure you pay attention to how far you want to go otherwise your trek back to the car will be not be fun. Make sure you know your turn around point. The trail is made of a hard pack crushed rock and dirt. On a dry day its a vary hard pack, great for running etc. There are a few points where you have to cross roads so make sure if you have kids you don't let them go too far off if they are young. This is an old railroad trail so its wide and flat, which gives room for everyone, bikers, runners, families, and even horses. It is very nice is the late spring early fall, can be quite hot in mid summer but is a great trail. I do recall there being port-a-pots on the trail but they were few and far between. This trail is out in a nice part of Baltimore County and is very safe, my ex used to run there by herself and she was never scared at all. Easy access off Pepper Mill Rd. Enjoy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

From the trail head in Cockeysville for 4 to 5 miles the trail is 75% walkers and runners. There is a mix of bicyclists from fast (inappropriate given the large number of walkers) to family bikers (works well on the trail). For anyone looking for a nice, easy leisurely walk or run to very young bikers, this is a great location.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good level trail. Pretty crowded on a nice Saturday afternoon. Many bikes & runners with which to contend. It was difficult to enjoy the area. Great trail for a dog walk.

mountain biking
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great trail for bikers who are interested in a trail with a gentle elevation and minimal interference from road traffic. This trail goes all the way into Pennsylvania and connects with the Heritage Trail to York. Very gentle slope along the gunpowder river and traverses nice farm and horse country. For bikers the part of the trail closer to Cockeysville may be too busy with hikers and bikers have to be very cautious. It get less busy as you get closer to the Pennsylvania state line. I have done this trail several times and will always stop in the coffee shop in Monkton for a a few scoops of great ice cream. For those considering crossing into Pennsylvania you could plan for lunch in New Freedom with it Railroad Museum and fairly good dining, I will not compare the choices here with Mount Vernon or the Greenwich Village in New York but after biking 21.5 miles your taste buds are not that discriminating.

trail running
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I ran on the Rail trail for the Norther Central Trail marathon years ago. It was a pretty easy path of crished stone and/or packed dirt. No elevation to speak of. Nice quiet natural setting.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The trail is flat, double track and really long. Really good for families that want to enjoy the weekend, but for people that like some adventure is definitily not a good option.

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