Where We Run: Baltimore and Annapolis Trail

After a bit of a hiatus the Where We Run series returns for the summer! Today's run takes us to the heart of Anne Arundel County on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail, a paved rail trail similar to the one we featured on Kent Island. As was the case with our first run of the series at the NCR Trail, the B&A Trail follows an old railroad line that ran between - you guessed it - Baltimore and Annapolis. Along the way, you will pass by some of the old stations along the route (where some old railroad tracks and ties are still visible) - and it's at Earleigh Heights Ranger Station that today's run began.

Looking onto the trail from the parking lot on Earleigh Heights Road.

The Earleigh Heights Ranger Station sits at the trail's seven-mile marker, and according to the Anne Arundel County Park's website once served as a train station, general store and post office. Today it features a railroad museum plus amenities, including plenty of parking and bathrooms.

While the trail often passes through backyards and outdoor seating for local restaurants, there are plenty of stretches surrounded by nothing but trees and the occasional fence.

If you're a fan of long, uninterrupted paved straightaways, the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail is for you. The trail winds through the residential between Glen Burnie and Arnold, occasionally passing through commercial centers. Road crossings are not uncommon, but most are small, residential roads; depending on the time of day, you may go the entire run without having to completely stop for any traffic.

A quaint wooden bridge passing over Round Bay Road - almost a stone's throw from the Severn River.

Looking for elevation gain? You're not going to find it on the B&A Trail, especially on the section south of Earleigh Heights (as you venture north toward Glen Burnie, you'll encounter a few rolling hills, but nothing too big). With mile markers every half mile (and sometimes, even closer together), it's a nice option for almost any type of workout, and the 13-mile length of the trail makes it an option for just about any length of longer run.

A look onto Severna Park's High School track - a look that would have probably looked brighter before 8 PM.

Around the 5.5 mile marker, you'll come upon the town of Severna Park - the biggest commercial and population center on the lower half of the trail. Both Severna Park High School and Severn School are located just a few short strides off the trail, which also passes Glen Burnie High School much further north. Mind the road crossings as you pass through Severna Park (and other town centers) as the roads will usually be a bit busier.

Looking to combine a run on the B&A Trail with some more miles in the surrounding area? At the northern trailhead, the John Overstreet Connector provides runners and other pedestrians with a convenient shortcut to the nearby BWI Trail - 10.5-mile paved trail that circumvents the namesake airport (and another possible site for this series). Just down the road from the starting point of this run (at the seven mile mark) sits Kinder Farm Park, featuring more miles of paved and soft surface trails.

Three and a half billion miles from the Sun, but only seven from Glen Burnie - it's Pluto!

As with many of the other trails in our series so far, the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail is riddled with historical landmarks, informational plaques and small decorative enhancements. One of the neat features of the trail actually starts at the northern end in Glen Burnie and finishes right at the seven mile mark - the NASA Planet Walk. It begins in Glen Burnie with the Sun, and statues of planets dot the trailside at distances that model the actual solar system. The Pluto statue sits right at the seven mile marker, and you'll see the rest of the planets if you head north from Earleigh Heights.

There's much more to see on the B&A Trail, especially if you're out for a casual run and don't mind some stopping and reading. Down at Jones Station (south of Severna Park, around the 3.5 mile marker) you can find remnants of the old railroad. At the station, you'll also come across The Browse and Buy Shoppe at Jones Station - a newly-opened antique store housed in an itself uniquely-shaped railroad powerhouse that dates back over a century.

More Pictures from the B&A Trail

The exterior of the Browse and Buy Shoppe located in a refurbished railroad powerhouse at Jones Station.

The plaque for the Planet Panorama that lines the northern miles of the B&A Trail.

Feeling kind? Paint a rock!

A pet garden located in Severna Park - that's something we can all appreciate.

A snazzy trailside mural - just in case you weren't sure what town you were in.

Quick trail break? Hop onto the Cattail Creek Natural Area, which offers a few small natural surface paths.