She Runs by the City: Exploring the WB&A Trail in Prince George’s County

Vanessa Junkin runs on the WB&A Trail in a posed photo, taken from the side.
I got a posed photo of myself running on the trail with the self-timer.

Because I write for RunWashington but live on the Eastern Shore, I set a 2020 goal to run in at least six new-to-me places in the Washington, D.C., area, which I figured would include the District, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

I had the day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 20, and after the PHUNT Trail Race 25K that Saturday, I spent the weekend hanging out with friends and family and laying around.

The D.C. area wasn’t on my way back home from my mom and stepdad’s house, but I figured I’d go a little out of the way and check out the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Trail, or WB&A Trail, in Bowie.

View from inside tunnel on WB&A Trail.
Here’s the tunnel I went under early on in my run at the WB&A Trail in Bowie. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I found a trailhead online that was off Race Track Road — close to the Bowie State University campus. There is also a part of the trail in Anne Arundel County that isn’t connected to the Prince George’s County part. A map and more information about the part of the trail that I ran on can be found on the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation website.

This trail was also close to the Patuxent Research Refuge, where I explored for the first time last year.

After the challenging PHUNT course, I took a rest day Sunday before running this trail Monday. I decided to run six miles, but I did run-walk intervals because I was still recovering from PHUNT and didn’t want to go too fast.

Trail with power lines and trees on both sides.
Here’s another view of the WB&A Trail, where I ran on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20.

The trail was paved and pretty quiet. I saw some other people, but not too many — and although it was a holiday, it was a Monday, so some people may have been working.

I ran three miles out and three miles back; this portion of the trail is 5.6 miles, according to the website. The trail was paved and was mostly the more narrow width I’d expect for a paved trail, but at times, it was shared with portions of road. The trail has markers every half-mile.

Right away, there was a tunnel to cross under, and later on, there would be bridges.

The trail runs along power lines, which reminded me of the New Smyrna Beach Pedestrian Trail in Florida. The more trails I run, the more they seem to remind me of each other.

Paved trail is shown with grass and trees on both sides and power lines along the trail.
Jan. 20 was a nice day for a run — cold, but sunny! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I did hear gunshots early on, and not too far into the run, I came across a gun club that was right off the trail. The part of the trail that I ran mostly seemed surrounded by nature, but there were parts where I went past neighborhoods. The trail seemed mostly flat, but I did notice some hills.

During the run, I listened to Andrea Barber’s book “Full Circle,” which I absolutely loved. More on that in a future post!

5 thoughts on “She Runs by the City: Exploring the WB&A Trail in Prince George’s County

  1. What a fun goal! My 2020 goals are booked up (lol, who does that) but I’m going to add a location goal for 2021. That seems like fun. My husband for a few years wanted to handstand in every state but I think he’s forgotten.

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