Run Baltimore: 10.5 miles on the BWI Trail

BWI Trail

I needed a change for my long run and texted a friend who had run the BWI Trail by the airport. With her report and a Google search with some in-depth info, I had a continuous loop to get in my 11-mile long run.  I started at the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. aircraft observation area and ran opposite the road.

Note: This is technically a bike route, so there are a lot of bikers, but they were good about passing.

Pros

  • 1 big loop with little stopping
  • Lots of bathrooms (including 2 port-a-potties at the start)
  • Pretty flat — only two hills
  • Really well marked

Cons

  • Little protection from wind or sun
  • Noise from airplanes (obviously) and busy roads
  • Boring in some spots
  • No water available

BWI Trail

Mile 1 – The fist mile kicks off through a wooded area (and by “wooded,” I mean some trees to mostly block the road noise) and winds along a mostly flat trail. It’s pretty and if you forgot to use the bathroom before starting, there’s a Royal Farms right before you hit mile 2.

Miles 2-4 – This was the most boring part for me. Get it out of the way early, right? Pro: There’s a Subway and 7-11 right after mile 2 in case you missed that Royal Farms. Con: It’s almost all open and along a pretty busy road. Unless you like street noise, I recommend some music.

Mile 5-7 – This is where the horses are! I saw pics and heard about them, but I didn’t actually think there was a real horse farm — but there is it. Tons of horses and more wooded areas. There’s a decent hill going up to open wildflower field with a winding downhill. It’s really open to the wind with an ugly view of the airport parking, but I’ll always take a downhill. You’ll hit a turn by the Amtrak station; go left to keep on the trail or right to the station if you need a restroom break. (If you have cash, you could grab something from the vending machines. Maybe there’s a water fountain?)

BWI Trail

Mile 8 – After the Amtrak station, you hit mile 8 and the other hill. Again, nothing major, but worth mentioning. You’ll hit a bridge where you make a sharp right or left, but the sign is very clear to go left. These are some winding side roads on the way south back to the park.

Mile 9-10.5 – The remaining miles are on quieter side streets (rather than 4-6 lane streets) with a few cute wooden bridges. It’s certainly not scenic, but it’s better than the busy-ness of earlier miles. There’s a small shopping plaza with a gas station and Burger King if you need a bathroom or drink. You wind back around at about 10.4 and do a final 0.15 in to the park and watch the plans come in.

BWI Trail

Overall, it’s a nice loop to get in longer miles without having to stop to cross streets, wait for lights, etc. I also hate out-and-back runs; I get way too bored. I wouldn’t want to run this in the summer with no shade, but it was good for a mid-50s run in February.

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