Robert E Lee Park is a 415 acre piece of nature situated around Lake Roland in North Baltimore. The park sits off of Falls Road, right next to the Light Rail Station. The entrance can be kinda hard to find if you don’t know the area. If you are still in the stone age and need directions just go north on Falls, cross Lake Ave, then take your first right after Pepe’s. Veer right at the park sign and follow the road back to the lot. Or just plug it into your GPS.
Once parked you’ll figure out that the park is centered around Lake Roland and the dam that created it. There are over 6 miles of trails that surround the lake and the Jones Falls. These can be hiked or biked, and the best of these trails are accessible from the top of a hill, which is across the lake from the parking lot. In order to reach these trails just double back down the lot, and cross the bridge that faces the dam. Then bike up the hill to your right. Once the hill flattens out you will notice some “stairs” that lead down to the trails. Once at the bottom of the steps cross the light rail tracks (look both ways dumbass) and you are in business.
Once on the trail it will almost immediately split. Towards the right the trail sticks closer to the lake and proves to be the more challenging ride. There are some tight turns, logs and little hills which make this run a lot of fun. If you stick left, the trail is wider and flat. This was an old railroad bed and there are some wood ties that can be hopped or gone around if you find them annoying. There also are some side trails that go deeper into the woods and loop back to this “main” path. This trail also boasts plenty of muddy areas which can slow you down, or challenge you, depending on your perspective.
For biking purposes we prefer the trail closer to the lake. It is by no means tough, but it has fun spots for pros and proves challenging to beginners and those of us who are out of shape. Eventually, these trails combine back into one, and lead to a wooden bridge which crosses the Jones Falls again. Once across the bridge you can continue straight or sneak down a trail that will take you down to the Jones Falls. This trail follows the small waterway and empties out near some tennis club. It’s cool but slow. If you simply go straight after crossing the bridge, the trail will eventually empty out onto Falls Road. (Some people access the trail from here.) This portion of the trail is fun and faster than the previous section. It looks like they added crushed rock to this area of the path and you can get some speed going here. Once on Falls you can continue onto another trail, but this seemed like more of a hikers trail, so we just turned and doubled back.
So whether you ride all the time, or are a fat ass out of shape goof, there are some pretty cool trails waiting for that old Mongoose right here in Baltimore City. Now conquering these pathways won’t prepare you for the X-games, but portions of Robert E Lee Park can be challenging enough to get ya dirty, and besides, it’s good to get some nature once in a while.