Explore the most popular forest 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.

Muddy but nice. trail can be slightly hard to follow at points.

After a day of rain and warmer temperature the snow had disappeared. - I continue to basically hike in the same area but I do hike this side of the park in many different ways. - The restroom by the swinging bridge and down at the playground are the only two open. - For the past few days the road up to the Glen Artney side has been closed due to ice on the road at the tunnel. - If you hike the Baltimore County side you need to park near the pond and hike up to Soapstone side. The restroom is closed by the Soapstone Trail-head. - You may want to park up on S. Rolling Rd.

Beautiful winter hike. We hiked early Saturday, just before the snow fell. It wasn’t too cold. It was a little muddy in some places but most of the mud froze over, so it made it easier to pass through. The trail isn’t marked very well when you get to the middle. But overall, it was a blast! Definitely recommend.

Decent winter hike.

It was quite a nice day out. - Cold but no wind blowing. - Quite a few 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 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 some rocky outcroppings..

Beautiful trail, even on a muddy winter day, with several pretty features like a river, waterfall, and winding paths with some light scrabbling over streams.

The Dam is completely gone and they are grading the hill to be able to complete the Grist Mill Trail. - I spoke with the State Park Supervisor regarding the Grist Mill Trail. - He informed me that when the construction crew finished up top where the dam was then work will start on the sections down below. The only damage below in the Memorial Day storm was two Foot Bridges and the parking lot at the Pond. I will keep you up to date regarding this matter. - This is basically why I have been hiking one side of the park more then the other. - The Grist Mill is the main connector to the entire Baltimore County side of the Avalon, Orange Grove, Hilton, Glen Artney and Hilltop trails.

FYI went to go try this trail out 1/5 and the trail was closed

13 days ago

Nice 2 mile hike.

Muddy, but a great walk. I ended up extending the trail with a detour onto Garrett's Pass, and I practically had the trail to myself the whole way. I took the loop counterclockwise, which I highly recommend if your knees have issues going downhill.

Not sure we found Nacho and Hop the Snake... but we ran Morning Choice (Yellow), Cascade Falls (Blue), and Ridge (Orange). We ended up doing Orange to yellow to Blue to Orange again. Rockburn Branch (Purple) is a loop that can be done off of orange but we weren't sure the trail marker for hop the snake or Nacho so we just did the loop around rockburn and it was about 6.5 miles.

A little muddy but very enjoyable. All the dogs we saw were on leashes, which I appreciated.

This section near the playground is in my opinion the easiest section of the Avalon area. - Once you have hiked up the Water Bars (Ridge ) or the New Extension you will see many options to hike different trails. - All the trails in this area are well used and marked. - At the main intersection you can loop the Ridge, Valley View, Morning Choice or Rockburn. - Nice day out but it was a bit windy. - Being a Sunday and a Playoff game I was surprise how crowded the park was.

This loop starts out with a bit of a climb up the Inner Soapstone trail at the Restroom. ** The Restroom is Closed during winter. ** When you head up you will connect to the park road on the upper level. Head up until you see the Santee Branch Trail. This trail or the Fire Rd. trail leads you to a large junction. Right before the junction is a un-marked trail to the right. That is the Bike Jumper. The Bike Jumper connects to the Bull Run. The Bull Run is basically a loop up on top of a high hill. You can go around the Bull Run either way and connect to the switchbacks that lead you down.
The complete loop has two water crossing but both are manageable.

Only did about half of this because my son started to get a little antsy. But the first half was a nice easy trail, good for kids and pets. Understand that it does get somewhat more steep as you go along (or maybe that’s another off-shoot) but didn’t reach that part. Anyway, really enjoyed the first portion and definitely want to go back to finish.

Great trail, not as crowded as other parts of the park. Parking is limited, but seemed sufficient for the morning crowd. Mainline trail is a nice easy walk along the river with some opportunities to scramble up some rock cliffs. The ridge loop is more challenging but offers some fantastic views. Be sure to check out the Camel Den "cave" near Daniels rd!

Not 'hard' as rated... very easy in fact. First 2 miles is like a boardwalk, then there is one big hill towards turn around point into some nifty power lines. followed the white trail, it is a bit easy to get lost near the houses.

We had a great hike as a family group!

20 days ago

Easy trail with a few minor water and mud obstacles. What you’d expect in the winter after a rain storm. The hike along the river is amazing and the dam was spectacular in full flood due to the recent storm. Well worth the approx. mile hike in and out. Relax on the boulders and take in all the water energy. Lots of family hikers in the early afternoon so if you want to be alone go early.

Beautiful trail. Well marked on the Patapsco river side of the trail with north white on red patapsco north through trail markers. Hike north past the convergence of two rivers. Look for double trail markers which indicate a direction change. follow the red on white south Patapsco through trail makers as the north markers go across the river. The trail is not well marked. make sure you look for double trail markers which indicate a change in trail directions. Easy to get lost at granite quarry, lots of different trails.

From where i started it was easy to get to the falls, sign says cascade trail and it follows the brook all the way to the falls then continues to river rd.
The blue trail seems to cross itself a couple of times and that might cause some confusion.
I like to go off trail so I found old fire pits and foundations so this must have been a pretty good recreation area in the not too distant past.
I even found some old restroom foundations i suspect one was mens and the other women, posting pictures of them.
My phone died so i wasn't able to take more pictures or record my hike.

I loved it! it was my first "official" hike. this is a new hobby for me. my only thing was it wasn't staked out very well, so I'm pretty sure I walked the path a little extra than anticipated. lol

Varied terrain was nice.

No real overlook views. Suggest not doing the side loop that is really nothing to it. BTW, total distance is about 6.5mi. Really muddy due to record rain fall.

Would do again, when drier.

26 days ago

The day after Christmas and the temps were in the mid 40's but with no wind it felt like 60's. - Lots of people on the trails.- River Road trail is still only open up to where the Dam once was. - The hill where the Grist Mill was is still being re-created. - If you park at the Swinging Bridge its just a small hike up to Cascade Falls. The Falls trail is near the restroom. When you hike up be sure to turn LEFT at the split along the wooden fence. - Instead of back tracking down from the Falls I hiked part of the Ridge Trail to the left and went back down a different way.

Went out today on trail and was pretty good. We did do the trail in reverse so the falls were the last thing we saw. There are a lot of people biking on this trail though so watch out. Not all the bike riders were willing to give a heads up they were coming, which is difficult when you have two kids and a dog in tow. There were also a great deal of people walking with their dogs, they were all on leash and very nice. Overall I was amazed how many people were out on the trail even the day after the holidays, so i can only guess how busy it must get the rest of the year.

29 days ago

Very nice (I would not say moderate) hike with good river views and interesting scenery. Should take between 2 and 3 hours depending on pace. I would recommend parking in the lot across from the Woodstock Inn and crossing the bridge to pick up the trailhead. Very muddy in parts but wasn't an issue with good hiking boots. There is also hunting allowed on the property so be sure to wear orange this time of year. I agree with other reviewers that the trail isn't clearly marked in parts so download the map ahead of time. Worth stopping for a burger & beer at Woodstock Inn after your hike!

Good trail. Close to a neighborhood at some point but overall great trail. Almost no markings, need this app to follow the trails

One of the better hikes in Patapsco

With the weather being a bit iffy and a possible change of rain I decided to hike early. The park entrance doesn't open until 9:00 so I decided to park up on Landing Rd outside of the park. In the summer this area can get very crowded and is limited to parking along the side of the road. Mainly down the road at the Cascade Falls spot. I first planed to hike 2.8 miles but ended up hiking 4.4 miles. The Morning Choice is a long trail which is well defined and marked. If you go off that main section you well see that many other trails are NOT marked but they do connect back to the main run. Today I added the (Barley and Hops) trail

MESSAGE ALERT TRAIL CLOSED - The Grist Mill Trail is still CLOSED. We hiked the trail to survey the damage and to see if there has been any repairs. The Pond area parking lot is still trashed with concrete and wood debris. The Grist Mill trail itself is in fine condition. No damage except for the two washed out foot bridges. This is the only reason the trail is closed. You could get trapped between the two tunnels during a heavy rain storm. Water can flow through the tunnels super fast and can be 3 feet high.

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