Gettysburg Bicycle

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Emmitsburg Trail System


11/19/2020 NOTICE: The Red Trail is closed until further notice due to select logging operations.

Emmitsburg Multi-User Trails

The Emmitsburg Multi-User Trail features thirteen miles of professionally designed and constructed natural surface trails.  The trail network, situated on Town owned property near Rainbow Lake, is comprised of three challenging loops which are suitable for mountain biking, hiking and trail running.  An additional trail crosses the heavily wooded College Mountain, connecting the mountain trails with Annandale Road.

This ride shows off the first phase of The Emmitsburg Multi User Trail system. The terrain is hilly, with a mix of old-fashioned east coast rocks and new school flow sections. Don’t let the mileage fool you, the challenging, steep terrain pack more challenge into half the mileage of trail systems further east.

Trails are multi-directional and multi-use, so please be alert, courteous, and follow the rules of the trail.

Parking is limited at Rainbow Lake, so try to carpool when you can.


During hunting season, the Emmitsburg trails are only open Sundays…be aware of posted signage. For specifics on Maryland’s hunting season, check out Maryland DNR’s excellent Hunters’ Guide here.

For local fare, check out:

Stavros Pizza at 2 E Main St.
The Ott House at 5 W Main St.
Red’s Tavern at 135 Chesapeake Ave
Carleo’s at 101 Silo Hill Rd #5
The Carriage House at 200 S Seton Ave
The Palms at 20 W Main St.
Holly Grounds Coffee at 2 W Main St.
Jubilee Foods at 515 E Main St.


This ride begins at Hampton Valley Road, at the Rainbow Lake Dam Access Trail. Cross the dam and turn right onto the Intermediate Trail. This flowy section of trail eventually brings you to the crossing of Turkey Creek and the intersection of the Intermediate Trail, Advanced Trail, and The Connector Trail.

To continue to the Advanced Trail, cross the creek and climb up to Hampton Valley Road. Be alert for traffic as you turn left, heading downhill for roughly 50 feet before turning left onto singletrack just past the gravel driveway.

The first portion of the Advanced Trail parallels a gravel road, before heading left into the woods and tackling the rocky singletrack ascent toward the top of the loop. Expect natural rock formations, stiff climbs and man-made rock gardens-repurposing an old stone fence into trail armoring.

There are three cut-off trails on the advanced loop. When traveling the loop counter clockwise (as indicated on the map), bear right at intersections to stay on the main loop. Each of these shortcuts is an interesting trail in its own right, and also allows riders to choose their own adventure by looping different segments of the trail together.

Continuing clockwise on the loop rewards you with a rolling downhill back to the gravel road. Retrace your steps across Hampton Valley Road and Turkey Creek to return to the Intermediate Trail.

Bear right and climb up, embarking on a counter-clockwise loop of the Intermediate Trail that finishes with a rocky, fast downhill to the Rainbow Lake Dam Access Trail. This trail also features a cutoff, near the north-west end of the loop.

Crossing the access trail, head straight onto the stem of the Beginner/Intermediate Trail‘s lollipop. Bear right at the three-way intersection to ride the loop counterclockwise, which results in a mellow climb and a ripping flow trail descent back to the dam. This loop makes a great warm-up/cooldown for longer rides at Emmitsburg.

The Connector Trail, an intermediate/advanced out and back and the most fun way to ride down to town for a tasty mid-ride beverage, makes a great addition to this ride. The trailhead is across Hampton Valley Road from the Advanced Trail after you cross Turkey Creek.

History & Background

A partnership between the town of Emmitsburg, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Trail Conservancy and MORE, The Emmitsburg Multi User Trail is a truly unique partnership, and we aren’t done building!

The next phase, the Family Trail, will be complete summer of 2015. The Family Trail begins across Hampton Valley Road from this ride, and will feature 2.25 miles of flowy singletrack designed for the first-time rider. For more details and how to get involved, check MORE’s website!

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