Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the Cabin John Trail offers 8 miles of intermediate-level singletrack with a bit of everything thrown in the mix. Cyclists can experience fast, flowy flats, challenging elevation changes, and the occasional technical section that demands sharp cornering and cautious stream crossings.
The trail features some beautiful singletrack sections, especially between Seven Locks Road and Bradley Blvd. Here, riders will find themselves negotiating challenging yet satisfying descents and climbs, albeit just for 1.5 miles. A section along Seven Locks Road is particularly engaging, with tight turns and two narrow stream crossings that add a technical flair.
Moving on to the Bradley Blvd to River Rd stretch, it's not as captivating but still offers something for the intermediate rider. The segment is predominantly flat but rooted in places, making it a bit jarring yet still rideable.
The trail is definitely a multi-use path frequented by hikers and dog walkers, especially on weekends. Riders should expect to slow down at times to accommodate other users. Rush hour can also make some road crossings problematic.
Cabin John Regional Park is the main hub for these trails and is easily accessible. From the Capital Beltway (I-495), take the River Road Exit West. Turn right onto Seven Locks Rd, then a second right onto Democracy Blvd. Make a left at the first light onto Westlake Drive. The park will be on your left, approximately a mile down the road. Baseball fields are your landmark, and trail entrances are scattered around them. Further information and maps can be found here.
While not the best ride in the area, Cabin John Trail offers a decent workout close to the city. For bikers looking for a varied terrain without a long drive, this trail ticks quite a few boxes. It may not be an epic trail, but it is an enjoyable, versatile ride that allows you to get your fix without venturing too far from the city.