Best cross country skiing trails in Maryland

1,349 Reviews
Explore the most popular cross country skiing trails in Maryland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of cross country skiing trails in Maryland
Top trails (14)
#1 - Capital Crescent Trail
Bethesda, Maryland
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Length: 14 mi • Est. 5 h 54 m
A popular, shady, paved and gravel walking and biking trail with nice waterfront views. Accessibility: The trail surface is partially paved (7 miles between Georgetown and Bethesda) and partially crushed rocks (4 miles between Bethesda and Silver Spring). It is typically at least six feet wide. It is flat with an estimated average grade of 1% and a max grade of 2%. Most wheelchair and stroller users will find this trail navigable as long as the gravel section is not too uneven.Show more
#2 - C&O Canal Towpath: Carderock to Great Falls
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
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Length: 6.3 mi • Est. 2 h 38 m
#3 - Lake Artemesia Natural Area Trail
Greenbelt Park
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Length: 2.4 mi • Est. 59 m
Today, this public park consists of a 38-acre lake, a handicapped accessible fishing pier, and aquatic gardens. More than two miles of hiker-biker trails surround and connect the lake with Calvert Road Park and College Park Airport and Aviation Museum. The Luther Goldman Birding Trail attracts both expert and novice bird watchers hoping to glimpse finches, orioles, ibis, and other birds. The Prince George's Audobon Society hosts bird walks every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Lake Artemesia is a great place for fishing. A non-tidal fishing license is required for persons 16 & older. In addition, a trout stamp is required to catch-and-take trout from the lake. Refer to the Maryland DNR website or the MD DNR Fisheries Guidebook for more information. Vehicles are not permitted on park ground, but visitors can access the park via handicapped accessible trails at the 5200 block of Calvert Road in College Park, or Osage Street and Swathmore Court in Berwyn Heights. Accessibility: The trail surface is paved asphalt. It is typically at least five feet wide and the terrain is flat (less than 3% estimated grade). Most wheelchair and stroller users will likely be able to navigate this trail.Show more
#4 - C & O Canal Towpath Trail, Section #3
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
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Length: 41.4 mi • Est. Multi-day
Highlights of this incredible trail include historic waypoints, trailside towns, abundant wildlife and gorgeous scenery. You will have so many trail options on this section of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath trail, that you will want to come back and try them all. For example, one of the unique options for this section of the trail is to ride or hike a loop using the C & O trail combined with the Western Maryland Rail Trail. This makes for a nice mix of a dirt trail with a paved trail and also gives you a nice loop ride with different scenery each way. You can also ride the entire C & O Canal Towpath from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland (or the other way, of course). This is a 184 mile ride. Or for a real challenge, you can tack on the Great Allegheny Passage trail which runs from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, PA. This could easily make a five day adventure that you'll never forget. It is hard to ride this trail and not enjoy the history, scenery, and ambience of a true American classic. Take your time and read the historical signs, observe the wildlife, and take lots of pictures. This is the ride of a lifetime, so give yourself plenty of time to savor it.Show more
#5 - Matthew Henson Trail
Matthew Henson State Park
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Length: 8.9 mi • Est. 3 h 53 m
A great trail for an evening ride, not too crowded. Family-friendly but not the best for new riders because there are several winding, hilly, curvy spots and also it crosses a major road (controlled by a light). The trail is paved and fully off-street. It connects with the Rock Creek Trail if you would like a longer route. Accessibility: The trail surface is paved and typically eight feet wide. The grade is mostly gentle, all estimated 5% or less except for a very steep 14% section at 2.4 miles when heading east. Wheelchair/mobility equipment or stroller users may need assistance in the steep section.Show more
#6 - Deep Creek Lake State Park Meadow Mountain Trail
Deep Creek Lake State Park
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Length: 5 mi • Est. 2 h 1 m
#7 - C & O Canal Towpath Trail, Section #2
Point of Rocks, Maryland
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Length: 52.8 mi • Est. Multi-day
Civil War history comes alive on this section of the C & O Canal Towpath trail. Civil War enthusiasts will recognize such names as Harpers Ferry, Antietam, Falling Waters, and Williamsport. Trail enthusiasts will recognize the names of a couple famous trails that intersect with the C & O Canal Towpath in this section including the Appalachian Trail and Maryland Heights Hiking Trail. Although the trail is plenty remote and peaceful throughout this section, it also passes near some well known towns such as Brunswick, Harpers Ferry, Shepherds town, and Williamsport. It is fairly easy to find food and drinks along this section of the trail, but it's still a good idea to come prepared. As with the rest of the C & O Canal Towpath trail, camping sites are plentiful in this region, but they are heavily used on summer weekends, so plan ahead. Fortunately, in addition to camping, are numerous lodging options along this 52 mile stretch of the trail. It is advisable to reserve your lodging in advance. For more information about camping and lodging along the trail, check out the website links included with this guide. If you just want to hike or ride this section, you will need to arrange for transportation to and from points on the trail. Both the MARC and Amtrak trains serve this area, but bikes may not be allowed on either, so be sure to check in advance. It is, however possible to get a ride here by train or car and then rent bikes in Williamsport or Brunswick.Show more
#8 - Western Maryland Rail Trail
Fort Frederick State Park
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Length: 21.8 mi • Est. 8 h 57 m
This all-season, multipurpose rail trail can be enjoyed on bicycle, inline skates, hiking, snowshoeing, or nordic skiing. Some portions of the trail (grassy area beside the trail) can also be enjoyed on horseback. With the bike-friendly town of Hancock located smack-dab in the middle of the trail, this route is easy to reach, easy to use, and easy to love. One of the unique and extremely attractive calling cards for this trail is the option to make it into a loop trail by combining it with the C & O Canal Towpath trail that runs all the way from Washington D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. In fact many C & O through-riders enjoy the respite of detouring onto the smoothly paved Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) as a break from the bouncing dirt path of the canal trail. Since the two trails run nearly parallel to one another, they make perfect companion trails. The WMRT can be accessed from near Fort Frederick State Park on the east end, Old Pearre Rail Station on the west end, or from the town of Hancock in the middle. Whichever route you take, the town of Hancock makes a nice staging area due to the local availability of lodging, camping, shopping, dining, & bike shops. Some of the historic points of interest near the trail include: Fort Frederick State Park, the old Round Top Cement Mill, Hepburn Orchards Fruit Market, Old Pearre Station, Big Pool, and Park Head Cemetery. Each season brings a new attraction to the trail with snow sports in the winter, wildflowers in the spring, wildlife viewing & apple harvest in the summer, and fall foliage in the autumn. And with Washington D.C. & numerous Civil War exhibits nearby, there are year-round attractions for nature lovers, history buffs, outdoor recreationalists, and active travelers galore.Show more
#9 - C & O Canal Towpath Trail, Section #4
Sideling Hill Wildlife Management Area
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Length: 43.8 mi • Est. Multi-day
Bike or hike the history, scenery & wildlife of this fabled, classic trail from Little Orleans, MD to Cumberland, MD. This western section of the famous C & O Canal Towpath trail includes remote stretches along the Potomac River. In addition to the abundant wildlife, numerous campgrounds, and excellent biking & hiking, trail users will enjoy the incredible Paw Paw Tunnel, one of the most famous canal tunnels in the world. Other unique and interesting stops along the way include numerous canal locks, historic lockhouses, the old Pollock Cemetery, and the town of Cumberland Maryland. In Cumberland, the C & O trail joins the Great Allegheny Passage trail. Combined, the two trails span all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. and make up one of the longest continuous biking trails in the world. The C & O trail can be used all year long but is a special treat in the fall when weather conditions are ideal, trail traffic is lighter, and Mother Nature provides a beautiful display of fall colors.Show more
#10 - L.F. Cosca Regional Park Loop
L P Cosca Regional Park
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Length: 1.1 mi • Est. 28 m
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