Explore the most popular fishing trails in Patapsco Valley State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

I have hiked this loop many times. As the park becomes more and more crowded as the weather gets hotter you may want optional sections to park your car. The Santee, Branch and Nunnery trails are not as crowded as many of the others. If we get a hard rain the Santee can get muddy in spots. Today it was super warm out and this old senior started sweating. Be sure to start carrying plenty of water. If you hike with a backpack as I do, it's time to change over to a pack that doesn't lay on you back. Use a frame pack that has air flow behind it. You can also wet your bandana in the stream to cool you off.

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.

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.

I general hike a least 3 miles in the park each time I come here. One of the loops I did today was only 2 miles so because I was in the area I decided to do this short loop. This would be a great starter loop for your kids to test out because you have the pond and stream near you to access. This would keep the kids from getting bored. Super easy trail.

With the weather getting nicer, the park is becoming a bit more crowded. When the park gets crowded the bulk of the people are always on the Howard County side of the park. The Swinging Bridge and Playground areas get packed. That's when I park up in the Glen Artney section. You drive thru the tunnel at the lost lake pond and go up the hill. At your first left, drive up and around the loop. When you see the Santee Branch trail sign pull into the parking lot and you will also see a trailhead at the fire road. This places you in a area that is rarely used. The Santee trail was a mud hole today most likely because of the recent snow melting but the Nunnery and Vineyard trails were dry as a bone.

walking
2 months ago

This trail/road is one of our family favorites! The app suggests its moderate but I would suggest it’s easy at best. Since it’s the old Albertson Rd, there are a lot of paved areas and it is relatively flat. It’s a great trail for dogs and families with small kids. If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to spot some herring, people fishing, rock climbing and (lazy river) tubing. There are great spots for dogs to swim or to catch some rays and have lunch on big boulders in the river.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice views easy flat trail

hiking
2 months ago

It’s more of a moderate trail rather than easy because the walk back up is terrible

Wow, 80 degrees today and it still February. The wife decided to take a hike with me so we brought the dogs with us. Because one of our two Beagles is 12 years old we didn't want to over do it so I planned out a small 2 mile loop. Kind-a glad I did because like a dummy I had on a cotton tee shirt. Cotton makes you sweat in the summer and boy did it feel like that. The park was super crowded with other people walking their dogs. Only restroom on this loop is a Spot-A-Pot by the Lost Lake Pond. I basically live in the park and hiked over 400 miles last year. I created a map a few years ago of this complete area of the park. Message me at baltoken@yahoo.com for a copy.

quite muddy in some places and gps would not work at the beginning of the trail so it was a bit of guessing. but in all was a fun trail with challenges and easy spots.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Super easy, flat trail. Not Moderate, but pretty walk to the dam.

Love doing this trail! I have been twice now. Both times with a dog and once with a baby. Great trail paved and with awesome views and experiences!

8 months ago

Nice place to jog

fishing
8 months ago

Not sure about the easy rating. Someone like myself who is out of shape found the hill back up a little tough. I may have come back up on a different trail though. Lol. Cool trail though. Water is awesome and the railroad tracks are cool.

hiking
8 months ago

In order to really enjoy it, you have to have a trail planned out

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful and quiet trail with peaceful river. A little bit muddy, but nothing too significant.

nice hike... a lot of up hill.

walking
8 months ago

Beautiful paved trail that runs pararell to train tracks still in use. Very nice ruins to see, an old dam and two really fun suspension bridges to cross

Fairly easy trail, not many views along the way fairly dense woods. When you arrive the house you pass has a sign that says keep left and it got me a tad lost. It is not a hard left just don't walk directly through their driveway. Go slightly left as to walk through the dirt directly next to their driveway then make a right back onto what looks like their property you will see a metal fence.go around that post and you've found the trail! Will do again and will take pictures of how to actually find the trail

hiking
8 months ago

(Outing performed August 6, 2017; late review, see recorded track).

I actually hiked about 22 miles due to getting lost on a poorly marked trail. In the beginning the trail is well marked, but the farther you go on this 16-17 miler out n' back the less well marked it is. What happened was my GPS/smartphone's battery died out at about mile 13 -- lesson learned for me -- at a point where the trail was not well marked. With half dozen designated and undesignated intersecting trails at this point it was not good. I ended up hiking 3-4 miles the wrong way due to confusing tree markings and had to come back. Ran out of water when severe chaffing came on, and I was approaching dusk -- when the park closes. Ended up exiting not at the point I began, but about 1/2 mile removed. Lesson learned for me: hiking or trail running, any course over 12 miles on hard terrain requires a backup phone or charger, flashlight, mini first aid kit, and marking tape in case a poorly marked segment on a confusing course is encountered. When I started out, parking area was moderately full, when I finally got back, my vehicle was the only one there. Without question this was a challenging 16-mile course with stream crossings, but the poor markings almost made it a nightmare, making it a 3-star course, although I may do this trail again with better preparedness.

hiking
9 months ago

My friend and I started our hike at the Lost Lake parking lot. We started out on Grist Mill Trail. This trail was entirely paved (which was a little boring), but along the way, we spotted little viewing spots of the Patapsco River, tunnels underneath the train tracks, and even a few little tunnel-like passages that while I wouldn't recommend going into, were fascinating to see. At the swinging bridge off of Grist Mill, we crossed onto the Cascade Trail, which was much more rugged. It crossed streams and waterfalls many times and had lots of opportunities to explore the surrounding areas. This hike was only about 5 or 6 miles long but one of my favorites so far.

hiking
9 months ago

very short, but fun :)

Easy scenic walk with beautiful views of the river on a wide, flat, paved trail.

Parts of the trail were very crowded and we had to step off the trail a few times to let mountain bikers pass by. The main trail was blazed with spray paint on nearby trees, but trails made by other hikers through the years make it a little difficult to follow in places. A lot of loud music was being played by people lounging at the river which reminded you how close to the city you actually are. Lot of good scenery and shade made the hike otherwise enjoyable.

Once you get off the Grist Mill Trail (heavily populated), this route has a nice entry point through a cool tunnel with running water that opens to rocks and trees. The trail meanders along water, has a couple rocky areas, and is peaceful amongst the trees. You may find a mountain biker or two in a couple areas, but otherwise it's lightly trafficked and really puts you in nature. You'll come across butterflies and wild berries. I took a friend here and we really enjoyed this hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Perfect hike for a hot day since the trail is shaded and runs next to the Patapsco river. We saw three deer, two red foxes, a bunch of ducks and squirrels and some type of crane (a great blue heron maybe?). Anyhow, way more wildlife than we thought we'd see for this one hour hike. Highly recommended it if you are in the area

hiking
11 months ago

wooded trail along with river
several good spot to take a break during walking

Pretty crowded on a Saturday afternoon, especially near the swinging bridge, but overall a lovely, fairly easy hike.

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