NCR (Torrey C Brown) Trail

Cockeysville, MD
Length: 20.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 1    Average: 2/5]

The Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail is also sometimes referred to as the Torrey C Brown Rail Trail. It is a 20 mile long trail that starts in Cockeysville, MD and heads north to “end” at the Maryland & Pennsylvania state line in Freeland, MD. At this point, the trail continues for another 26 miles under a new name – the Heritage Rail Trail – to reach York, PA. For the purpose of the trail guide, I am including only information about the Maryland portion of the trail – called the NCR or Torrey C Brown Rail Trail.

There are multiple parking lots along the trail, and multiple different opportunities for recreation. The trail is crushed gravel and dirt, which allows for multiple uses – walking, wheeled transport (bikes, strollers, wheelchairs), and horseback riding. The trail parallels the Gunpowder River and is technically incorporated into the Gunpowder Falls State Park. There are opportunities for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing on the river.

Bathrooms are reliably available at the Monkton station trail area – mile 7.2, and port-a-potties are usually available at different points throughout the trail, but not always on a consistent basis.

The elevation gain that is listed is gradually spread over the 20 mile trail – making the trail almost flat and very accessible for all ability levels.

Bike and tube rentals are available at two different businesses along the trail – at the southern end in Cockeysville at Hunt Valley Village and at the midpoint in Monkton at Hybrid Pedals . There is also a small nature center, the Sparks Bank Nature Center, which is located at mile 3.8 in Sparks, and is open on weekends from 10-5.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Mixed
Elevation gain 531 ft.
Stroller friendly Yes
ADA accessible Yes
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Bike Trails, Creek / River, Fishing, and Shaded Hike

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

One of the most popular parking lots is located near the start of the trail at 302 Paper Mill Rd #1300 in Cockeysville, MD. There are many other parking areas as the trail continues north – listed below are some of them. Two great websites for further reading and resources are listed as well. Happy trails!

– Mile 0.5 Paper Mill: Take York Road (Route 45) to Cockeysville (Exit 18 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Ashland Road. Bear left onto Paper Mill Road. Go less than ½ mile, crossing the trail to the parking lot on the left.
– Mile 2.0 Phoenix: Take York Road north of Shawan Road in Hunt Valley (Exit 20 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Phoenix Road. Travel 1.7 miles and look the parking lot.
– Mile 3.8 Sparks: Take York Road north of Shawan Road to Sparks (Exit 20 off I-83). Turn right (east) on Sparks Road. Go less than 1 mile to parking lot.
– Mile 7.2 Monkton: Take I-83 to Exit 27, go toward Hereford (east) 0.4 miles on MD-137/Mt Carmel Rd. Turn right on York Road then immediately turn left (east) on Monkton Road. Follow for 3 miles, and look for the parking lot and park office on the left.
– Mile 10.8 White Hall: Take I-83 to Exit 27, go toward Hereford (east) 0.4 miles on MD-137/Mt Carmel Rd. Turn left on York Road and go 2.4 miles north. Turn right (east) on Weisburg Road for 1.4 miles. Turn right, staying on Weisburg Road for another 0.4 miles. The parking lot is on the right at Weisburg and White Hall Roads.
– Mile 12.9 Parkton: Take York Road to Parkton (Exit 31 off I-83). Turn left (west) onto Frederick Road, and park at 18858 Frederick Road.
– Mile 15.5 Bentley Springs: Take York Road north of Parkton (Exit 33 off I-83). Turn left (northwest) onto Kaufman Road. Follow Kaufman Road for less than 1 mile, and turn left (west) onto Bentley Road and proceed to parking lot.
– Mile 18.6 Freeland: Take York Road north almost to the Pennsylvania line (Exit 36 off I-83). Then turn left (west) onto Freeland Road. Follow for 2 miles to parking lot.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 1    Average: 2/5]

Hi! I’m originally from Long Island, NY, but I’m now proud to call Baltimore, MD my home. I love to hike, climb, swim, bike, and share my love of the outdoors with others. I have one wild toddler with another sibling on the way.