Sunday, August 16, 2015


The first time I rode Potapsco Valley State Park in Maryland I was not a a good frame of mind.  It was a turning point in my life.   It was also the last ride I had with one of my very best friends, Mark Lentz, for a long time.  That was the year 2009.  

It's going to be a great day for a ride. 8-13-15.

After a rough patch, I finally got my life and my back together, Mark and I are much better friends than before, and Potapsco is still a fun place to ride.  At least I think so.  I felt a little bad on the way down when Mark mentioned that he would have rather gone to Michaux.  I think that we were both pleasantly surprised today.   After a few "hike-a-bikes" we ended up riding a lot of hilly and twisty single track.  Some of which we have never ridden before.  Even though the trails are color coded it is easy to get lost because, until recently, the Maryland Park Service made you purchase trail maps through the mail.  Looks like they got their shit together  because now you can download trail maps of the park for free from their website.  
Trail head near  the Suspension Bridge at Potapsco. 8-13-15

Usually I park near the Orange Grove Area near the rope suspension bridge that leads to the old mill on the other side of the Potapsco River.   If you know where to look, and what to look for, you can see remains of a busy mill and work area all over the park.

Remains of dwellings near Ridge Trail at Potapsco 8-13-15.

The trails are a combination of any type of riding you could possibly want.  Fast single track, hills, rock gardens, and stream crossings.  In just under 17 miles of riding we climbed 1,800 feet!   Not an easy day....but a fun one.   At one point Mark and I came across what he referred to as 
Dave, Mark, and open floor plan fixer upper. 8-13-15

an "open floor plan fixer upper."  Just one of many abandoned houses in the middle of the park.  We were both interested in the old mechanical gas pump next to the house.  
Antique pump next to the Connector Trail in Potapsco. 8-13-15

Me, because I use to work for Sunoco refurbishing old pumps....Mark, because he wanted it for his garage!  On Buzzard's Rock trail there is a beautiful overlook of the Potapsco River and the valley below.  

Ultimately, one of our favorite reasons for going to Potapsco is the Ice Cream Cottage in Arbutus, Maryland.    Just about 3 miles outside of the park.
Ice Cream Cottage in Arbutus, MD 8-13-15

It is, in my opinion, the only ice cream shop that is better than Mountain Creek Campground near Michaux State Forest.  The service is friendly, the made to order food (especially the roast beef sandwiches) are absolutely amazing, and the Hershey's ice cream is delicious.  I'm almost ashamed to say that this is a case of looking forward to the post ride stop more than looking forward to the actual ride.   

David A. Raymond//August 16, 2015