Mckeldin Area Trail

HARD 4 reviews

Mckeldin Area Trail is a 16.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Marriottsville, MD that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

16.7 miles 1755 feet Out & Back

dog friendly




fly fishing


mountain biking

nature trips

trail running


horseback riding




wild flowers


A very rewarding hike, both physically and mentally as you explore the (founded in 1879) history in the area in some ghost towns that exist inside the state park. Since these areas are in the park, they are protected by the state. Start your hike from the ample parking lot with picnic shelters and restrooms. The paved road ends at the rapids overlook, and continues to our stream immersion crossing. The stream crossing is an easy one, look for the horse entry point and go up a little for an easier route. Less than knee-deep water and you are on the other side--then look for the trail and resume your journey. The trail approximately follows the railroad tracks but deviates in several sections for "mud" portages up into the hills. It crosses under a freeway road with plenty of local graffiti artists known here. Continuing along to our approximate half way there point (to the cemetery and ruins) you will find two markers, one is a pipeline marker, then overhead power lines. This is where you should gauge your progress if you will make it before dusk. It should take you approx 2 hours to reach this point, and thus this is a quarter of the total trip not including the time spent in the ruins (plan for an hour). Further down the trail you will cross over a small rail bridge, with a nice tributary fishing spot, at this point you have to cross over to the other side of the tracks and look for the trail. Then you will pass the old car graveyard, with a nice selection of very old cars. The next landmark is the dam--with a lot of artifacts in this area. Then we go under the rail bridge (active rail) and continue on. The rail crosses to Daniels which has an active manufacturing company located there. This is also another entry point for the hike. Past the rail bridge, we see an old car on the left (60's blue) far off in the distance, and a Presbyterian church ruins (which is newer construction)... however this is not our final destination. Continuing past the church ruins, you will encounter a better road trail, and look for the trail on the left going up the hill. Continuing up this side trail we look for the netted rocks which is the entry point for the St. Stanislaus Kotska Catholic Church location. The church has a small cemetery right next to it, please do not disturb the stones as this is state protected property and is within the state park boundary. You will see the dates on the stones from 1920-1930's. St. Stanislaus Church was founded in 1879, and this stone building was erected shortly afterward. The church's priest used to skate down the river from Woodstock when the river was frozen during the winter months. The stone structure was struck by lightning in the 1920s, and a wooden structure was built nearby and used until the town of Daniels was bulldozed in the late 1960s. The two ghost towns here were named Alberton/Daniels mill town.

1 month ago

awesome trail. a bit confusing, but if you follow the white markers all the way , you'll be perfect. really beautiful. good workout!

1 month ago

Fun ruins.

2 years ago

Very poorly marked could not follow this route. Had to mix the trails into one long one. Did not get to see any of the ruins or history. Very bummed.

4 years ago

We had a great time in the McKeldin area. The McKeldin rapids area is great.