We may be volunteers on the C&O Canal NHP, but we’re also avid bike riders who love the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Like most people, we are looking forward to seeing the work on the proposed extension from Pearre Station to Little Orleans get started. The bat gate at the Indigo Tunnel is the opening act of this process, and it has been finished. However, the completion of the trail itself will be a long, arduous process.
Recently, we took a walk on the old railroad right-of-way from Sideling Hill Creek to the Indigo Tunnel, and the trail offers a beautiful view of the Potomac River–even moreso than the C&O Canal towpath.
Fortunately (and unfortunately), this future stretch of the WMRT is also a geologist’s dream. The high cliffs above the trail are striking! I can’t say that I know much about rocks, but the story here is obvious, to say the least.
The green leaves of summer hide a lot from the hikers and bikers on the C&O; however, the barren trees of winter no longer block the numerous rock slides on and above the old railroad path. I’m no engineer, but the rugged cliffs above the future WMRT have an ominous look to them. With that said, it will be interesting to see how the rail trail progresses. The WMRT has the potential to be one of the premier rails-to-trails paths on the east coast, but this won’t happen without a lot of work.