dogs on leash
Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and eight developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups in the parks many popular pavilions. One of Marylands first state parks (founded in 1907), the valley and its natural resources have been enjoyed by the Native Americans, explorers, settlers and present-day citizens. With its source in Frederick and Carroll counties, the Patapsco serves the Port of Baltimore, and empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The park is well known for its trail opportunities for hikers, bikers, and horses as well as it's outstanding scenery and historic ruins. Patapsco State Park has 190 miles of trails.
I added a recorded track to this Trail. I needed to update it. I would consider this as the best loop Trail in the Cascade Trail System. The only trail that can compare to this is the Ridge Trail. The best three trails in this section of the Patapsco State Park for climbing or hiking is these two and also the thru-trail ( Santee ). Great for clocking miles in loops.
Although this is a fairly short loop, its a great workout because of the long stretches of up and down terrain.
The Bull Run and Bike Jumper has always been a bit ruff on me but I am a handicap senior. I still manage to clock about 2.5 to 3 Miles an hour of this loop. Just beware of the weather due to muddy ups and downs, also the stream crossings which there are two of them. This is a shared hiker and biker trail so be kind to one another. The Santee trails is a bit narrow so heads up because it bends around blind spots.
If you are interested in viewing Bloedes Dam from the HIGHEST (Viewpoint) in the park I recommend using the Main Sawmill trail (Red). It’s much safer then going straight up the rocky cliff trail, which starts at the top of the log steps. At the end of the main Sawmill trail is the stream. Don’t cross the stream!! The Sawmill Branch trail is a sharp left up at that point. When you get to the very top you will then see a split trail and one is stone based. If you follow the stone trail it will take you to the Top of the Rocky Cliffs.
If you didn’t take the stone trail you would end up at the Top of the Hilltop Area. If you want to complete the Loop then follow the Hilltop Trail down to the Dam.
Sean V. on Cascade Falls Trail via Grist Mill Trail
Fun & easy, The wading pool is a perfect place to teach pups about loving the water!
This is one of the main connecter trails if you want to hike from the HILTON or HILLTOP areas down to the river onto the Grist Mill trail. It's a foot trail ONLY so you have no bikers to deal with. The trail itself isn't very wide and the terrain is a bit tricky. Lots of rocks and roots to tend with. The trail even goes over boulders. I truly wouldn't say it's to Kid friendly. The narrow path is on the edge of the hill or you are down in the stream walking on rocky boulders that can be slippery when wet. Yes, It's a great trail for Training due to the many changes through out this trail system. I just finished it in the snow but couldn't cross the stream. It rained the night before and the water was run deep. Couldn't see the normal stepping stones I generally used. Better Safe then Sorry when you are by yourself.
Scheduled for the summer of 2017, this area will be under construction because of the 42- inch sewer pipe relocation and Dam removal project. Access to this trail system will be limited because they will be digging up the Grist Mill Trail to place the New pipe under it. I would recommend you only using Hilltop Rd. area and staying clear of River and Ilchester Rd. The old Paper/mill lot is one of the staging areas for Heavy Equipment.
The project will last up to 18 months and the Dam will be removed in 2018. Enjoy it for now.
If you can't handle a lot of miles like this recorded track then start at the Swinging Bridge and just hike the large loop. It's easy for all. Featuring the Cascade Falls and a few small Water Crossings. It's Well-maintained and the trees are marked There is access to this trail system from two locations. Orange Grove/Avalon at the Swinging Bridge or from the top of the valley at Landing Rd. When breaking off the Cascade trail watch carefully for the Lewis & Clark Connector. I have known of people missing it and ending up at Landing Rd. The Old Track loop, Old Connector and Ridge Trail are fairly flat and easy. This loop is one of my favorites. Be sure to checkout the Garrett's Pass Via Cascade Falls Loop Trail I recently created and added to All/Trails. It's runs the opposite side of the Cascade Falls from this.
When it comes to Hiking or Backpacking the Patapsco Valley State Park, the Avalon, Orange Grove, Hilton, Hilltop and Glen Artney areas are by far the best trail system in the whole Valley area. You can CAMP in the Hilton area at 1101 Hilton Ave. in Catonsville, Md. There are plenty of pavilions, restrooms and drink fountains in many of the sections. There are so many loops you can hike so the miles and terrain will indeed vary pending your planned trip. You can even take the kids hiking or just go to one of the two playgrounds.