nature trips




trail running

dogs on leash



kid friendly

mountain biking

wild flowers



horseback riding

dog friendly

historic site

Patapsco Valley State Park encapsulates 32 miles of the Patapsco River, and more than 16,000 acres of protected land with eight developed recreational areas in Frederick and Carroll counties. Extremely popular with mountain bikers and hikers, Patapsco State Park's Recreational opportunities include 190 miles of hiking trails, fishing, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as picnicking and camping for individuals or large groups.

1 day ago

I REALLY enjoyed this trail! I hiked it on a warm mid-November weekday morning and caught some of the last of the fall foliage. I only saw 2 other people on the trail so had solitude. The only things that prevent this from being a 5 star trail: shorter than I’d prefer, super muddy (though guess that’s to be expected since we had snow and rain less than a week ago), some trash here and there, gun shots from the shooting range nearby. Oh, and though no other reviews mentioned stream crossings, there were two... which I’m guessing was from the recent snow/rain. One was pretty major (shown in the pics I uploaded), and I was so glad I wore my actual hiking shoes that are water proof!

Map has factual and attribute error, attribute bias. Trails all run together and overlap. Highlighted trail is not soapstone trail. All trails overgrown and mostly unmarked. Really sad.

What a beautiful day to be on trail. A bit breezy but it did get into the 50's today. Being nice out the park was a little bit more crowded then the weekdays. Lots of Bikers. With the Grist Mill Trail ( Balto. Co. side ) still CLOSED I continue to hike this side of the Avalon, Orange Grove section. This large loop does have a lot of inclines and descents but nothing super hard if you just take your time. There is multiple trails on this side of the park and it can be hiked in many ways. This loop is one of my favorites when you have time and the weather is nice.

With limited time I was able to get in a small hike. The Bloede Dam is basically gone and they are now grading the hill where the Grist Mill trail will reconnect. Even with the recent rainstorms the upper trails were dry. I didn't see a sole on trail today but I did see a few people at the Cascade Falls. Even the little cascading falls up stream had plenty of water flowing over it. This is a great loop when you are pressed for time and it's very easy to enlarge by going to the second connector loop.

somewhat muddy. decent trail system

It was quite a nice day out and there were many people on the trails. With the Grist Mill trail still being Closed I have mainly been HIKING the Howard County side of the park. The only problem for me is that there is only a few entry points on this side. I either go up and start by the Swinging Bridge or I start at the New Ridge trail extension. The old Ridge ( Waterbars ) trail-head is in ruff condition and is very hard to read with all the leaves on the trail. It's always wet and very rocky. The Valley View trail is super nice this time of year because you can now see the Valley as you go up. The Ridge trail is straight over the top but the Valley View raps around the outer edge of the hills.

Was a well maintained trail with beautiful scenery but as others have said you could hear RT 70 noise for a portion of it.

15 days ago

It’s a very short trail, if you walk the left lower dirt trail, it gets muddy (along the river) but it was maybe 20 minutes and the view was lovely, the sound of the dam was awesome.

Nice hike very dog friendly. Not marked well.

Love this trail! Beautiful and fun!!!

Beautiful views w. lots of history.

Hike along water streams, nice view.

21 days ago

the hike was beautiful and the Park Rangers or Volunteers were very helpful in getting me to the portion of trail I wanted to be at. I didn't see any rumored "ruins" but the trail has lots of waterfalls, a cool swinging bridge and lots of BIKES. The people on bikes were very friendly but they rode fast and you have very little time to move out of the way. I'd go again though.

Wow, The last time I hiked this section was in February. - Most of the old stone road trail that heads upstream is a mud hole. - It's best to hike the sand trail along the stream edge. - There is a few ways to shorten or simply make this loop easier but so many people are missing the best features to this loop.- As you hike up along the river go pass the first left trail and take the second one up the mountain. - As you go up to the top always be quiet. - I see lots of deer here every time I come. Today we saw five. - TIP: It you hike in the late evening be sure to be off the Ridge before dark. - We had to use our Headlamps on the last quarter mile to the cave.

Beautiful trail. Almost missed the waterfall after making the entire loop, but checked the map on this app and backtracked a bit to the falls. Glad we did! Definitely a moderate hike, not too much in the way of elevation, and all around enjoyable. We will be back!

Officially the Grist Mill trail are still CLOSED. Some trails head down to it are legally Out and Back trails for now. The Bloede Dam is almost totally gone. You can walk on the Swinging Bridge but it now has a wooden door. No crossing over from one side to the Grist Mill trail on the other.

I have just completed creating a map of the OPEN trails on the Baltimore County side of the park. Red will indicate what is OPEN. Request a map: baltoken@yahoo.com

All of the Soapstone Trails ( Inner and Outer ) is OPEN. The wife and I hiked with our two beagles. To avoid the large stream crossing at the bottom of the Soapstone trail we started from the top at S. Rolling Rd. We hiked down via the Overgrown trail and connected to the Bull Run loop. As we came down from the top of Bull Run we then connected to the Soapstone and headed back up. On our way up we made a right and got on the fairly new Star Struck trail.

Today's trip was a survey hike to review the condition of a few CLOSED sections. All of the Santee and Branch trail is in great shape for the 50 K run Nov. 27. A few mud spots but no standing water. The Vineyard Springs trail is only OPEN down to the Foot Path which is a hard rocky climb up to the Fire Rd.
The Vineyard Springs trail is CLOSED heading down to the Grist Mill trail, which is also CLOSED. You can hike down the Nun's trail from the Sister's Of The Poor but at the last 100 feet in front of the tunnel is totally destroyed. Right by the Tunnel is a giant rock slide about 20 feet high. The trail is gone and the stream is now on the other side. The damage in this location is un-real and the rocks have washing away the Grist Mill foot bridges. With out the bridges the key issue is flooding of water coming thru the tunnels during rainstorms. I have seen water flowing 2 feet deep thru the tunnels and it would wash you away.

The hike itself was beautiful, but I found the trail to be poorly marked and we missed the trail to do the full loop and had multiple other hikers ask us for directions back to their cars. I would definitely hike it again, but would use the map more instead of trusting the trail.

The entire Grist Mill Trail is still CLOSED but you can hike the River Rd. side, which is the Howard County side of the river. - After breakfast the wife and I once again took a small hike to check on the progress of the dam project. - Not very much of the dam is left. Only a small section on each side of the stream. - Although it was windy as heck the park was fairly crowded. - Lots of people with their dogs.

Not too muddy, nice valley and river

Perfect difficulty level with a nice variety of terrain for a shorter trail.

1 month ago

Very nice hike. One lovely setting after another. Follow the northbound through-trail for the first 4 miles, then the southbound for the remainder. Total time was 3 hours for 6.8 miles. Had an awesome burger at Woodstock Inn afterward.

It was super breezy out but it was only cool in the woods. - All the trees were blocking the wind. - Be sure to watch the time if you are planning a hike late in the evening. - The sun is going down sooner every day. - The wife and I got at the park at 4:30 and we just finished in time. - Park closes at 6:30 right now but that will change to a earlier time as it gets darker soon. - Garrett's Pass is not marked so you need to learn the trail system. The entire Cascade System and Falls are marked in BLUE.
*** Contact me for a special map I created of this area and more. *** baltoken @ yahoo.com

First half of the hike along the river is great, 5/5. The second portion goes through an unmarked and overgrown meadow that left burrs all over our dogs. If you do this trail I recommend you turn around when you get to the northern tip instead of making the loop.

Definitely got lost. Hiked for 3 hours through really pretty forest and along some beautiful creeks. Not a bad morning.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Well marked. Has a little of everything: river views, beaches, streams, a quarry/pond, spookiest old car wreck, train sounds in the distance, quiet woods! Easy access. A great loop!

1 month ago

Nice walk in the woods. Pretty views of the river. Not busy or crowded at all. Sounds of train whistles and lots of bird songs.

This trail has the classic, pretty woodsy look throughout Patapsco park. The only reason I wouldn’t give it more stars is because we had to go off this map and follow a different trail back. The section on the map that says “overgrown” yeah... they mean that, it’s not just a trail name :p So unless you want a hair full of spiders or some ticks to hitch a ride on you, I’d avoid this trail or go but prepare to detour when you hit the stretch on the map that says “overgrown”

Not challenging, but peaceful. Definitely overgrown in many places. A few cool things along the way (old cars/little bridges). Look for tags ahead on trees at Ts. Not marked real great. I'd do again, but not for years.

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