Explore patapsco - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

patapsco Map
VIEW FULL MAP

TRAIL CLOSURE MESSAGE: The only section of trail that is OPEN in this feature trail is the Santee Branch Trail. All trails leading down to or connected to the Grist Mill Trail are CLOSED. The Grist Mill was badly damaged in the June 2018 Ellicott City flood. The Swinging Bridge is only open to view the river. You can't cross over from side to side. The footbridge and much of the Grist Mill trail has washed away.

Trail was great, had our credit cards stolen from our car though. Partly my fault, forgot to lock the door. Didn't take the whole purse just my girls credit cards and then a $10k shopping spree at the Arundel mall. The view of the trail was scenic and relaxing. Saw a few deer.

This trail is closed until further notice due to flood damage.

PVSP Trail Crew

hiking
4 days ago

Great trail! Lots of off shot paths up to the ruins of the town for more of a challenge or down to the river for some peace. Bring bug spray! We were eaten up by bugs by the damn!!

nice, easy hike. poorly marked in places. recommend downloading the map.

Amazing views . Parts are challenging especially to beginners . But awesome landscapes

Awesome trail, but poorly marked. I got lost and had to back track twice. Aside from that the trail is beautiful and the burgers at the Woodstock Inn are amazing.

This is a very challenging trail system with a lot of elevation changes. - On the Elkridge County side of the Patapsco ( Howard County ) are multi trails that can be hiked in many ways. This loop could have been larger but 7 miles is enough for this old senior. There are two connector trails you can take if you wish to shorten the loop. You could also have hiked the Cascade Falls trail which is color coded ( blue ). The entire trail system is well marked and color-coded, except for Garrett's Pass but I would recommend a map as a backup. If you are biking this loop you are good to go. Bikes are not allow on the lower section directly where the falls are. You would stay on the upper Cascade and bike directly to the Ridge Trail. The only restroom and freshwater is located at the Swinging Bridge. The only other spot for water or restroom would be at the playground. You would have to go down the Water Bars or the NEW Ridge Extension trail and go to the Playground. The NEW Ridge Extension trail is right in front of the Restroom.

Once again I have found another great location to share and hike the Howard County ( Elkridge side ) of the Patapsco Park. The Park gates don't open until 9AM but by then the humidity is becoming unbearable. If you wish, you can hike earlier by driving up to Landing Rd. and parking along the side. I got there at 7:30AM and it was a bit crowded. There is two locations to park. One is for Cascade and the other is for Morning Choice Trails. The only trail that was a bit overgrown was the Barley and Hops. All the rest I looped are wide and well maintain. All the trails in this area are basically flat and easy to hike. If you park at the first location you can also hike the Rockburn side. If you want Help or a few special maps I made . - Message me at baltoken@yahoo.com

Good two hour walk. Saw a great old abandoned house with a vulture sitting on the roof. Great river access. Will be back with our kayaks!

Agree with previous comments that this is not a hard trail. Maybe moderate. Went with my dogs and it was great!

MESSAGE ALERT TRAIL CLOSED: - 8/17/2018 - If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, All trails on the ( LEFT) Howard County side of the Park are OPEN. A few trails on the Balto. Co. side are now OPEN. The parking lot at the Lost Lake Pond is trashed from storm damage. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney loop is now OPEN to vehicles The Santee Branch trail and the Soapstone trail up to S. Rolling Rd. are OPEN. Bull Run and Bike Jumper trails are OPEN.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a good trail to hike. The stone church is a little off the main trail but it made for a nice adventure to find.

This was a beautiful park!

road biking
2 months ago

It’s a nice short ride. Perfect for after work before you catch the sun before it sets. Nice scenery riding along the lake and some historic ruins to pass by and swinging bridge.

Great hike today!!!! Dam project is underway but does not limit this hike. Grist Mill section is paved. Carried the 2 year old in the pack down and up, a few rocky seconds but we would do it again. He had a great time throwing sticks in the river and walking through the tunnel. Beware of limited parking at the Hilltop entrance, it was full even on this chilly day (Sunday) and we'll be making a DNR "donation" for unauthorized parking. We will do this one again!

Great walk along the river! Definitely download the map and keep on your GPS, because there are a few spots you might miss. There is a path/road you take at the midpoint is through a clearing and it's not marked - the grass was knee high so we almost missed it. The best part about this hike was that no one was on the trail and you can make it shorter or longer very easily.

TRAILS CLOSED: The Grist Mill and Vineyard trails on this loop are CLOSED and will be for the rest of the season. The Grist Mill was badly damaged during the Ellicott City flood in June 2018 and all the footbridges have washed away.

We enjoyed this hike but would not label it hard. There were some ups and down but nothing strenuous. Like other people said, the markers are oddly placed (you get the marker before a split so we did not know to go to the left or right path). It took 2 hours to walk the loop.

Ok. Very crowded. Tons of kids and bikers. Trails are pretty narrow so you literally have to move to let people pass — pretty enough but far too many people. There are most definitely not enough signs.

It was truly great to get outside after 4 days of rain. I recommend hiking the Blacktop trails or the parks River Rd. anytime after we get a lot of rain. All the other earthen trails were super muddy and the river was flood too. Give the trails a day or two to dry out. I hike up to the dam often to check on the progress of the dam removal. I think the dam will be gone by the ended of this summer when the water is it's lowest. I only did a short hike because I had tons of yard work to do when I got home. My grass needs to dry out for a bit. I plan on cutting it on high then let it dry and cut it again.

I created two new trail maps of Avalon, Orange Grove, Hilton, Hilltop, Glen Artney and Rockburn. I even made a special one for the Cascade Falls to be posted by the Swinging Bridge.
Contact me. baltoken@yahoo.com if you would like a copy.

With the temperature getting hotter be sure to carry plenty of water. Hiking along a stream makes it even better. You can dip a towel in the stream to cold off. The SAWMILL is one of my favorites because it's a main connector for traveling three sections of the Patapsco. Always enjoy the boulder hopping and cascading water along the SAWMILL. You can also sit on top of the TRAIN TUNNEL when you hike the DRUGS trail. It's a steep trail so I recommend always go Down it.

Just the best hike! Took four kids from 4-10 years old and everyone had a great hike. Beautiful to see spring rising

If you start at the Swinging Bridge your recorder may show a blank screen but the GPS is tracking you. Just tap record and go across the bridge and make a left. The maps will soon be working. Phone service doesn't work at the bridge but GPS tracks with out the map showing. - I hike this loop a few times a year. Be sure to be on the right side when you enter the tunnel at the Grist Mill trail. You can still do it from the left side but you will need to go up the Sawmill and cross the stream. I enjoy the rocky climbs on the start of the Forest Glen or the Pigs Run. The first mile is all up hill. The (White) Santee trail is basically flat with small ups and downs. The rest of the trail is quite easy.

The Rockburn ( PURPLE ) loop is in my opinion the easiest section of the Avalon area. Once you have hiked up the Water Bars ( Ridge connector ) you will see the Rockburn sign. The entire loop is a well used and marked. Many bikers are always on this section but the trail is plenty wide. Its fairly level with small ups and downs. This loop would be idea for anyone just getting into hiking or mountain biking. There is no water crossings unless you hike part or all of the Hop The Snake trail ( Blue ). Part of my recording includes the New Ridge extension. It's not yet finished but much of it has been cut out already. What's not cut out has flags you can follow. I saw bikers on it today.

This weather has been un-real. Cold or Raining one day then 60's or 70's the next. If the wind didn't die down I wouldn't have left the house. The Cascade, Bike Buster and Garrett's Pass has a lot of down trees. The trails are good to go again. These trails are always well maintained. My 3-mile loop today was one long up then all down the second half. Although we got a lot of rain the day before the trails were very dry. The wind dries the trails but you need to watch for falling branches. The water was a bit deep at the stream crossings and some of the rocks you hop across at the Falls were underwater.

Now that it's getting hot out the park is becoming super crowded. During the summer months, if you don't get there by 10 in the morning you may not be able to park inside the main area. You will need to park up on S. Rolling Rd. and hike down the Soapstone Trail. It got to 80 degrees today and with no leaves on the trees it was super hot out. Remember to carry plenty of water. Although this is one of my short trails it will indeed give you a workout. Many ups and downs. They placed Spot-A-Pots at the Soapstone trailhead but the water fountain is working. I never recommend this area of trails when its raining. These trails get very muddy and being steep could be a problem for some people. I wish I could have hiked more but the heat and steep hills drained this old senior. Happy Hiking !!

Today the weather was great but the wind was blowing. When I got to the park there was a bike ride event going on. The staging area was at the Playground. The place was packed to the brim with bikers. Their challenge route was along the Ridge trail and looping along the Grist Mill section. Because of the event I decided to hit the highest trails in the park that were mainly foot-trails. If you want to hike the most challenge trails in the park then you need to follow this recorded track loop. It features many steep climbs, boulder scrambles, cliffs and the best views of the park. There are many hard climbs along this route but you do get breaks in between each of them. I met a lot of great people on the trail and being a senior this took me 4 hours to hike these 4 miles. It’s the Best the park has to offer. ( Be Careful and enjoy your Hike ).

Hiked this trail with my brother two summers ago. Aside from choosing an unbearably humid day, the hike was enjoyable and not too taxing. We're planning to use this section for a point to point hike from Mckeldin in to Ellicott City.

just took a short trip to the overlooks today but I'll definitely be back!

Load More