Maryland's Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRR) extends 20 miles, stretching from Ashland Road in the Hunt Valley area to the state line. The trail is 10 feet wide with a stone dust surface. 



Freeland: Take York Road north almost to the Pennsylvania line (Exit 37 off I-83). Turn left (west) onto Freeland Road. Follow for 2 miles to parking lot.

Bentley Springs: Take York Road north of Parkton (Exit 33 off I-83). Turn left (northwest) onto Kaufman Road. Follow Kaufman Road for less than 1 mile, and turn left (west) onto Bentley Road and proceed to parking lot.

Parkton: Take York Road to Parkton (Exit 31 off I-83). Turn left (west) onto Frederick Road, and park at 18858 Frederick Road.

White Hall: Take York Road north of Hereford (Exit 31 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Weisburg Road. Follow Weisburg Road for 2 miles. The parking lot is located at Weisburg and White Hall Roads.

Monkton:* Take York Road to Hereford (Exit 27 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Monkton Road. Follow for 3 miles, and look for parking lot and park office (open on weekends). This location features restrooms, water, telephones and picnic tables. A convenience store is also open on weekends. Parking at this location is very limited.

Sparks: Take York Road north of Shawan Road to Sparks (Exit 20 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Sparks Road. Go less than 1 mile to parking lot. This location features the Sparks Band Nature Center.

Phoenix: Take York Road north of Shawan Road in Hunt Valley (Exit 20 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Phoenix Road. Travel 1.7 miles and look for parking lot.

Paper Mill: Take York Road (Route 45) to Cockeysville (Exit 18 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Ashland Road. Bear left onto Paper Mill Road. Go less then 1/2 mile. Look for safe parking areas along the road shoulder near the trail and a PARKING LOT just after the Trail Crossing and across from Hunt Valley Village.

Contact: Gunpowder Falls State Park (410-592-2897)
*site includes restrooms or other

Map of the Trail
Map of the NCRR Trail
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Full Screen- High Res Version (204K)
Printable Version- PDF (307K)

Trail History:

For 134 Years, from 1838 to 1972, the Northern Central Railroad connected Baltimore with York PA, encouraging the growth of small towns such as Ashland, Phoenix, Sparks, Glencoe, Corbett, Monkton, White Hall, Parkton, Bentley Springs, and Freeland. The Railroad was a major link in the exchange of goods between these rural communities and the City of Baltimore. These included flour, paper, milk and farm products, coal, and later the U.S. Mail.

During the Civil War, hundreds of Union soldiers were transported south on the railroad. Abraham traveled on the Northern Central on his way to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address, and later his body would be transported to Harrisburg via these same rails after his assassination.

Increasing truck and automobile transportation marked the decline of the railroad, and in 1972 Hurricane Agnes washed out bridges and made the line impassable. In 1984, DNR converted the abandoned right-of-way into a multi-use trail.


Restrooms are available at Paper Mill, Phoenix, Glencoe, Monkton, White Hall, Bentley Springs, and Freeland. Water is available at Sparks, Monkton, and White Hall. Sno-balls are available at Paper Mill Road. A Nature Center at Sparks is open Weekends 10 -3.


The most popular activities on the trail are hiking, jogging, bicycle riding, and horseback riding. The trail also provides access for fishing on the Loch Raven watershed and over eight miles of managed trout stream on the Big Gunpowder River and the Little Falls.  Trail users should note that the southern end of the trail receives heavy use on weekends. Parking areas from Monkton south are often filled.  The trail is less congested and parking is more available at the northern end during peak times.


Park regulations are posted at the parking lots and road crossings.  Alcoholic beverages, Camping, fires, weapons, and motorized vehicles are prohibited at all times.  All pets must be leashed when on the trail.  Users should stay on the trail, as the land on both sides is privately owned.

All Maryland State Parks are now TRASH FREE. Trail users are required to remove their own trash when leaving the area. Small trash bags are available at Monkton, White Hall and Freeland. For your convenience trash receptacles are located at Hunt Valley Village and Sally's Shack Snow Balls at the Paper Mill Road crossing.

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