Baltimore Washington International Airport,

Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Area


The trail around the Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) was completed in 1999 and put together around the same time that the roads in the area were widened. The trail makes a good long loop for runners looking for long sunny wintertime runs, or for cyclists looking for a short loop with little traffic.  In-line skaters will require skills well beyond the beginner level to complete the loop but might enjoy shorter out and back ventures.  Much of the trail lies in-between the airport and the highways that surround it.  Fortunately, unlike other trails built alongside transportation projects elsewhere, the trail is usually not too close to the road.  Occasional patches of trees give shelter from winds and noise, and offer some more natural scenery.  Of course, good views of the planes at Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Area can be seen too.  The BWI Trail connects to the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (B&A).  It may one day connect with the Washington Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A). 


Getting There


From the Capital Beltway (I-95), take the Baltimore Washington Parkway (I-295) north toward Baltimore.  After 15 miles, exit east on Route 100.  At the next exit for Arundel Mills Blvd., Route 713, go north toward Hanover.  Turn right just ahead at Dorsey Rd., Rte. 176, headed east.  After about 3 miles, turn right into the Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Area and park.  Start at the trail head at the end of the lot.  If parking is full as it often is on nice spring weekends, continue past the Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Area on Dorsey Road for about half a mile to park at Sawmill Creek Park which is just past I-97.  From there use the trails to get back to the BWI Trail. 


Area Routes


Baltimore Washington International Airport Trail (10.55 miles, IX)

This paved trail literally circles around the airport.  It offers a change from the more common stream valley or railroad grade trails found elsewhere.  Much of the loop is in the open therefore, it=s probably not one to choose for a hot or very windy day.  There are very few places to get water or use restrooms along the way.  Most of the loop is fairly flat but there are a few long gradual grades on the northern sides.  One of these leads up to a commanding view of the airport runways.  You can see much more at this view than the view at Gravelly Point, nearer Washington D.C. at National Airport, but the action is farther away.  The BWI Trail skirts the edges of Linthicum and a passes through a farm park near the view.  The legs of the loop along Hammonds Ferry Rd. are slightly downhill.  The last stretch which meanders through pine trees, along a driving range and under the flight path, is one of the best parts. 


Sawmill Creek (4.6 miles, III)

From the observation area, the way to Sawmill Creek Park goes through some of the nicest parts of the BWI Trail.  The trail crosses fields and rambles through the woods before eventually ending-up at a road.  The route then leaves the BWI Trail loop on a connector trail that goes toward the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail.  Initially crossing a highway overpass for Interstate 97, the connector trail follows Sawmill Creek into the park.  Make a sharp unmarked left as you enter into the park to begin a small loop around it.  The loop passes ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, and a picnic area.  Water and restrooms are available in the park.  After doing the loop, return the way you came.  


Nearby and Connecting Zones


Baltimore and Annapolis Trail - Earleigh Heights

Columbia Maryland, Village of Owen Brown

Patuxent River Wildlife Refuge - North Tract


What to do Afterward


Food and Drink

Denny=s - off Ridge Rd.

Blue Garden - Japanese/Korean - Glen Burnie, MD - 410 761-1965/8826

Bagel Club - Glen Burnie, MD - 410 590‑2660


Entertainment and Edification

Ben Hammond House - 410-768-9518

National Cryptologic Museum - 9AM-3PM Mon-Fri; 10AM-2PM Sat - 301 688-5849

National Aquarium In Baltimore - Inner Harbor - (410) 576‑3800

Baltimore Washington International Airport Trail

Distance:          10.55 miles

Rating:              IX; rolling to flat paved trails; open sunny areas


R     0.0   on the spur trail from the observation parking lot; the loop route goes clockwise


R     0.05 BWI Trail


XS  0.25 Dorsey Rd, Rte 176; the trail crosses the road

       1.0   Connelley Dr on L

       2.3   begin long wooden bridge

       2.95 trail goes R at the Stoney Run Rd ramp


CL  3.15 Stoney Run Rd to cross over Rte 170, Camp Meade Rd


R     3.3   onto trail ramp just after crossing the bridge

       4.0   trail joins Amtrack Rd on a protected shoulder


R     4.2   cross Amtrack Rd to stay on the trail at MD Rail Commuter Service HQ

       4.6   begin bridge over I-195


L     4.9   trail X on L (sign to Andover Park) to stay on the BWI Trail; S goes to the airport


CR  5.25 Elkridge Landing Rd at Elm St to stay on the BWI Trail

       5.5   trail bears L away from the road to Andover park

       5.85 overlook of airport on the hilltop

       6.15 restroom in Andover park


R     6.3   at T to stay on trail; use street sidewalk for Andover Rd (unmarked)

       6.6   Camp Meade Rd


CL  7.15 Aviation Rd (unmarked) to stay on the trail

       7.9   Allwood Dr on L

       9.0   Dorsey Rd (Rte 176)


CR  9.25 Newport Rd; sign to BWI Overlook to stay on BWI Trail; S is to B&A Trail and Sawmill Creek Park

     10.0   unpaved road on L


R   10.5   spurt to parking

     10.55 observation parking

Baltimore Washington International Airport Trail

Sawmill Creek

Distance: 4.6 miles

Rating:           III; paved trails


L     0.0   from observation parking

       0.05 loop trail merges on R

       0.5   old unpaved road on R


R     1.3   Hammonds Ferry Rd to cross over I‑97 on bridge; becomes Stewart Ave after crossing; this is the BWI and B&A connector trail


L     1.5   at Old Stage Rd; onto the paved trail

       1.55 bridge and court

       1.8   wooden bridge over Sawmill Creek


L     1.9   sharp L onto trail that merges on L (unmarked); Sawmill Creek Park loop trail


L     1.95 at T at ballfields to stay on loop

       2.2   Charlie Eckman La (Sawmill Creek Park entrance road)

       2.25 trail X on R between tennis courts


R     2.3   trail X on R after tennis courts


R     2.35 at T onto the BWI and B&A connector trail


BL  2.5   after ballfields at trail X


BL  2.7   complete loop where trail splits; R is Sawmill Creek Park loop trail

       2.8   wooden bridge over Sawmill Creek

       3.05 bridge and court


CR  3.1   Stewart Ave at Old Stage Rd; Stewart Ave becomes Hammonds Ferry Rd after bridge over I-97


L     3.3   BWI Trail along Newport Rd; follow sign to BWI Overlook

       4.05 unpaved road on L


R     4.55 to parking

       4.6   observation parking