WMRT Information Suggested Activities WMRT Slide Show History of the WMRT Links to sites of Interest


The Western Maryland Rail Trail (WMRT) is a 22.5-mile trail that follows the bends and curves of both the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. Opened in 1998, the trail is managed by the Maryland Park Service.

The WMRT begins about one mile west of historic Fort Frederick State Park in Washington County. The trail follows the former Western Maryland Railroad line through the town of Hancock, ending 10.5 miles west of Hancock at Pearre Station.

The 2.1 mile Phase III extension of the trail – from Tonoloway Ridge to Pearre Station – was recently completed, and interested citizens and organizations are actively exploring the possibility of future westward expansion.

The trail is especially suited to families, novice cyclists (it’s almost completely flat), and anyone seeking a pleasant, leisurely ride. It’s perfect for hiking, biking, jogging, inline skating (rollerblading) and, weather permitting, cross-country skiing. The easy grade and paved surface also make this path ideal for the elderly and persons with disabilities to enjoy a trek outside.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization, recent chose the WMRT as one of the top 12 trails in the United States for viewing fall foliage. The peak foliage season in Western Maryland begins in mid-October, and provides an excellent opportunity for picturesque photography along the trail.

The trail is open year round and offers ample parking at three locations: Big Pool off Interstate 70 at exit 12; the Hancock Station, just off Main Street in the historic Town of Hancock, and at Pearre Station, west of Hancock.

Waterproof, tear-proof trail guides are available for purchase at Fort Frederick State Park or online at www.dnr.maryland.gov.

WMRT Contact Information
Western Maryland Rail Trail
c/o Fort Frederick State Park
11100 Fort Frederick Road
Big Pool, MD 21711
Phone: 301-842-2155

Area Contact Information
Hancock Chamber of Commerce
126 West High Street
Hancock, MD 21750
Phone: 301-678-5900
E-mail: info@HancockMaryland.com
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

[This article was reproduced, with permission, from the Fall 2005 issue of The Maryland Natural Resource, the quarterly publication of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.]