Pleasantville Area Loop
ElevationAscent: 419' 128 m
Descent: -423' -129 m
High: 391' 119 m
Low: 263' 80 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)
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“This is a loop that alternately overlooks and hugs the picturesque Little Gunpowder Falls.”— Liz
On the characteristically hot-humid days of the Chesapeake Bay area, take a refreshing dip in the toothache-cold water of the Little Gunpowder. A nice, deep swimming hole is located just downstream of Bottom Road.
Begin by heading north on Railway Trail (blazed yellow); the trail leaves Bottom Road and ascends briefly to the rail bed, now pleasantly overgrown. For just over a mile, the trail stays on the rail bed, sometimes surrounded by steep cuts in the hillside, and sometimes with sweeping vistas of the Little Gunpowder Falls Creek bed.
At 1.1 miles, the trail drops steeply down into the creek bed from the railway, and meanders along with the creek for awhile, crossing several small tributaries along the way. At about 1.9 miles, take a right to head north on Deadfall Forest trail; the trail will diverge from the creek to make a few meandering ascents before reaching Pleasantville Road.
Head south on the road, cross on the metal bridge (beware narrow shoulder) and turn downstream on the Little Gunpowder Trail (Pleasantville Rd to Bottom Rd) (white blazes). Dip down to cross a rivulet and ascend steeply to regain a railroad grade.
The trip back downstream is a great mix of flat singletrack on old rail bed, punctuated by short climbs in and out of the creek bed. Small rivulet crossings are abound, as well as spectacular views of the boulder strewn and crystal clear Little Gunpowder Falls Creek. You'll pass many intersections along this trail; just stay on the main drag.
The trail will terminate high on the hillside as it re-joins Bottom Road. Head down Bottom Road and back to the steel bridge, cross it and head north on the road back to the parking.
At times, you may also see beaver and even bald eagle along the Little Gunpowder's banks. The Little Gunpowder is also an excellent trout stream, although the waters upstream of the described loop are considered a better fishery.
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background
Land Manager: Maryland Department of Natural Resources