Not too long ago, this region of upper Montgomery County was nothing but farmland and forests. While most of the land has been developed into subdivisions and soccer fields, Schaeffer Farm remains virtually untouched, lending itself to a delightful system of trails.
What Makes It Great
Part of Seneca Creek State Park, the was designed by a team of local mountain bikers in 2011, who carved out swaths of trails in the 2,000 acre property that features both a dense forest as well as corn and soybean fields. It’s since become one of the most popular destinations for mountain bikers in the Washington, D.C. area.
Along the 15-mile trail system you’ll find twisting single-track, wide open fields, stream crossings and plenty of sharp climbs and curvy descents, too. Park at the lot off of Schaeffer Road and hop on the white trail, a 3.5-mile relatively easy loop. From there, you can hook up with the yellow trail (6 miles), or take a detour on the lollipop-shaped red trail where you’ll find quick, twisty ascents and some stream crossings.
Schaeffer Farm is also home to the annual Cranky Monkey race, which challenges both solo riders and teams to complete as many 9-mile laps as possible in a 12-hour period. And it’s no wonder this event is such a popular one: Spending a day on these trails is truly a treat.
Who is Going to Love It
Expert riders will revel in the Whoop Trail —a series of up-and-down bumps between the red and white trail at the south end near Black Rock Mill. Beginners can have a more low-key experiencing by sticking to the well-marked (and newbie-friendly) white trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Schaeffer Farm trailhead is located on Schaeffer Road in Boyds, MD. To get there, take I-270 to exit 15B, Rt.118 west. At about 5 miles turn right onto Richter Farm Road. Turn left at the 4-way stop onto Schaeffer Road, go through the traffic circle and look for Seneca State Park on your left. The trailhead is at the end of parking lot after the gate.
The trails are open from 8 a.m. to sunset, from March through October and 10 a.m. to sunset, November through February.