If you’re seeking a new and exciting outdoor experience, look no further than railbiking at Tracks and Yaks in Frostburg, Maryland. Enjoy the stunning mountain views, gorgeous foliage, and historic railroads as you pedal leisurely through scenic vistas with almost no effort at all.
Railbiking adventures are a great way to explore with ease. A railbike is a bike adapted to ride along railroads. The pedal-powered bike requires little effort to glide along the tracks, with no need to steer or balance. It’s a hands-free experience — all the better to take photos of the marvelous views.
Tracks and Yaks is a Maryland-based company that offers railbiking excursions in Frostburg along the Great Allegheny Passage. Adam and Julie Forshee founded the company in 2021. They originally planned to focus on kayak rentals, but Adam was inspired by a story of his parents enjoying a railbiking excursion in New York, and once he tried it for himself, he was sold. Tracks and Yaks is the first and only railbiking company in the state of Maryland.
Railbiking has been around since the 1800s, when people would use vacant railroads to travel on adapted bikes, but it didn’t become a leisure activity until about the 1980s. Now, railbikes appear to have success wherever they pop up. Adam Forshee says Tracks and Yaks is often booked solid for weeks, especially during scenic times of year.
“We’re already sold out for many days in October,” Forshee says. “People are anticipating the foliage.”
Tracks and Yaks offers four types of tours, all of which begin out of the Frostburg depot. Adam Forshee says the Frostburg to Cash Valley excursion is the company’s “bread and butter.” This experience includes 10 miles of railbiking along mountain views and a ride through the Brush Tunnel. Riders take a shuttle bus ride back to the depot once they finish.
The company’s other most popular excursion is Tracks and Yaks, which combines railbiking and kayaking. After a 15-mile downhill railbike tour, visitors enjoy a 4-mile float on The North Branch of the Potomac River in a kayak or on a tube. A shuttle bus takes visitors back to the Frostburg Depot at the end.
The Queen City Combo is a 15-mile railbiking excursion downhill to Cumberland. It’s one of the longest trail biking excursions available in the country. Riders will get great views of the cliffs as they pedal through The Narrows. A half-hour layover at Canal Place gives visitors time to do a little extra exploring.
Bike Train isn’t a railbiking excursion, but a chance to pedal a real bike down beautiful sections of the Great Allegheny Passage. It’s all downhill from Frostburg to Cumberland, and riders can return with a historic train ride. Riders are free to bring their own bike or rent one.
Going on a railbiking excursion can be a great opportunity to try something new and experience the outdoors in a fresh light. However, this doesn’t mean that every customer is a first-timer. Adam Forshee says Tracks and Yaks gets more repeat customers than one might anticipate for such a unique experience.
“[For] some people it’s a one and done, but there are several [people] that come back several times and then bring other folks when they are in town visiting or whatnot,” Forshee says.
Tracks and Yaks run its railbikes along the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. While the tracks are still active for tourist train rides, everything is carefully coordinated so that trains and bikes will never be on the railroad at the same time. Safety is a priority at Tracks and Yaks. Riders are accompanied by three trained guides on each excursion, one of whom is always first aid certified.
Be sure to plan accordingly for weather before setting out for a railbiking adventure at Tracks and Yaks, because the excursions run rain or shine. Pack an umbrella and some sunscreen, and prepare for an exciting journey no matter what.
“Everyone seems to have a good time and enjoy it,” Forshee says. “Even in the rain.”
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