Patuxent Branch Trail Bike Portage of Doom

New, hopefully temporary, feature: Biked It, Liked It. Or rather, Biked It, It Was Fine, because really, we’d rather be hiking. If we’re being perfectly truthful, this one was more accurately Biked It, Hated It, Cursed a Lot.

With my hips on the fritz, I can’t hike. So, Dar and I set off on our inaugural hike substitute on the Patuxent Branch Trail, a half-paved, half-gravel, 10-mile fairly flat nearby trail.

All went swimmingly until we got to Savage Park and thought “gosh, we’re so close to Brewing Good in Savage Mill”.

Total distance: 9.42 mi
Max elevation: 307 ft
Min elevation: 234 ft
Total climbing: 753 ft
Total descent: -753 ft
Average speed: 0.00 mi/h

I wasn’t recording in AllTrails, so the GPX trail above is the one AllTrails thinks you’ll do. You turn around at Savage Park and come back, like a sane person, because that’s where the path ends. But squint at the southern terminus, and you’ll see that you’re sooooo close to Savage Mill, and there are dotted-line trails that hug the river and pop back up right at Savage Mill so you won’t have to ride along the car-clogged streets to get to the coffee shop.

We decided to set off on an adventure down that trail.

It was a bad choice. That dotted line is not really passable by bike, though we kept going, pushing our bikes through rough spots and over a lengthy boulder field, in the hopes of coffee. Sunk cost, good time thrown after bad, etc. When we got to the very tippy tip of the trail, where it looked like it should pop up in Savage Mill and yield coffee, it instead yielded … unscalable ruined buildings that dead-ended in an unclimbable bridge. So, back we went, grumbling, and drove to Savage Mill for our lattes.

We remembered to take a single photo when we were almost back to the start and had regained the ability to smile. Or grimace. Dar might be grimacing. I have at this point informed her that she is driving us to get coffee while my shoulder recovers.


Distance10.8 miles
Total Time2 hours, 9 minutes
Average Pace5 mph
Food ConsumedBefore the hike: turkey, roasted vegetables
During the hike: 1 bar
Temperature Range50 to 55°F
Cell ReceptionGreat