Looking for a little off-road family ride with the mountain bikes?
A local favorite, that is both easily accessible and attainable even for a novice mountain biker, is Schaeffer Farms. Located in Germantown, Maryland, this trail system is part of Seneca Creek State Park and was built with mountain bikers in mind. The smooth, hard packed trail surface through gorgeous open forests and farmland is a true pleasure to ride. The gently rolling terrain makes for a variety of climbs, fun descents, with trail obstacles galore (man-made jumps, downed logs, roots, etc.). One usually has the option to take these head-on or bypass depending on your level.
The Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts (MORE) organization does a terrific job of maintaining the trails at Schaeffer Farms. MORE is an INCREDIBLE resource for local DC area mountain biking. I am so inspired to ride every time I search their website and always amazed by how many trails we have available to us in this region.
I have ridden at Schaeffer Farms many times with my boys and they absolutely adore it – they love getting off the streets and sidewalks of our neighborhood, onto the dirt and onto trails where they are free to go fast and jump and crash. It’s different, thus fun. And every time we go they get a bit more comfortable and a bit stronger. With children I do find it is a bit easier to tackle these trails during the week when it is not as crowded and they can take their time without holding up others.
Directions: From DC, take I270 North to Exit 15B onto Rt 118 South toward Germantown. Go 2.8 miles and turn right at Richter Farm Rd. Go .6 miles and turn left onto Schaeffer Rd. Go .3 miles to the traffic circle. Take the 2nd exit and stay on Schaeffer Rd. Go .6 miles and merge left onto Kingsview Village Avenue. Veer left into the parking lot area. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.
For more information on the trails, conditions, history and hours of operation, check out MORE’s detailed description of Schaeffer Farms.