Explore the most popular hiking 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 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.

hiking
4 days 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!

Today, The wife and I hiked our two beagles for 4 miles. - The weather was cool and breezy. - The puppies had a great time. - There was quite a few mud puddles on the Rockburn Branch loop but the other trails were pretty dry. - The NEW trail heading up is across the road at the middle of the Playground parking lot. - If it's raining, don't come down the new trail. - Very slippery when wet. - Also, the old Waterbars trail is in ruff shape. - Take the old stone road down to River road. - If you do the loop on the New Ridge Extension trail you will see the Capt. John Smith exploration marker from 1608.

hiking
5 days 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.

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 checked on the progress of the dam project. - Sept. 11, they blasted a section out of the dam. - Now they are jack hammer the concrete. - Today, It looked like they are drilling holes again for another blast. - Each time they blast, the River Rd. trail (up to the dam) will be CLOSED for the day.

The weather is becoming very hiker friendly. - On the Elkridge County side of the Patapsco ( Howard County ) are multi trails that can be hiked in many ways. - There are a few connector trails you can take if you wish to add or minus the miles. - You could also hiked the Cascade Falls trail which is color coded ( blue ). - The Falls trail gets crowded on weekends. - The entire trail system is well marked and color-coded, except for Garrett's Pass but I would recommend a map as a backup. - My phone died at 4.5 miles so the loop I did today was a little over 5 miles. If you want a few special maps I created for this area contact me. FREE - baltoken @ yahoo.com

This trail is poorly blazed and some of the 'trail' is just fields, which means knee deep grass. Which means burrs and bugs and who knows what else. The river sections are nice, but you'll spend half of this trail is trying to figure out if you're in the right place.

Beautiful views and a good hike! We cut across at the last mile or so because of time, but enjoyed the entire trip!

hiking
24 days ago

Great trail with lots of interest. 2 waterfalls, stream crossings, rocky and good grade to make it exciting

Great hike. Trail starts in a neighborhood. Runs along the river for large portions. Had son in carrier so it was the perfect difficulty level.

TRAIL UPDATE:
Now that the blasting is done up at the dam they have re-opening the River Road Trail from the swinging bridge up to the dam. Not much of the dam is left. On the way back I hiking up the Old Bike Buster trail. It was a bit tough due to the ground being damp and covered in leaves. Garrett's Pass and Cascade Fall trails were both in fine shape. I Met a guy from Silver Springs, Md. and it was his first time here. He was lost. I invited him to hike with me and I helped him learn the trails. He hiked with me for miles. NOTE: River Rd. trail above the dam is still ( CLOSED ). It the only section closed on the Howard County side of the river.

TRAIL CLOSURE UPDATE: Any and all trails leading to the severely damage Grist Mill trail are CLOSED. Forest Glen, Pigs Run and Nun's Run in the Hilton Tire Park Area are all CLOSED.
The ONLY trail OPEN in this location is the Santee Branch Trail. The entire Santee is Open.

Also note: The Sawmill and mostly All the trails in the HILLTOP area are also CLOSED due to blasting at the dam removal project. One trail is OPEN up at S. Hilltop Rd. but it's only a Out and Back on Buzzard's leading to the Ilchester Rocks over top the train bridge.

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS:
All of the Soapstone Trails ( Inner and Outer Loops ) are OPEN. Plenty of access and parking in the Upper Glen Artney section. The entire pond area is still CLOSED. The Grist Mill Trail is CLOSED and so are any trails leading to it. Vineyard, Backside of Nun's are CLOSED and now completely fenced off. The Santee Branch Trail has been OPEN and so is the fire road access to the main Santee.

A few of the trails in this area are closed due to the blasting of the Bloede Dam. They blow a hole in the dam on the Howard County side on Sept 11, 2018. For me to comply with the notice of TRAIL CLOSURES, I decided to simply blaze my own via GPS. Basically, any trail leading to the damaged Grist Mill is closed. Because of this, most trails that are open are Out and Back. Sorry, I am not a out and back kinda guy. The park is open, the woods are ours but the trails are closed. Fine, just don't hike on the trails. Great to get out after a week of rain and bombing heat. I saw over 15 deer in the woods today. I got my shots of the dam project I wanted. By the way, The River Rd. trail on the other side of the park is closed too. Why don't they want us to enjoy the view of the dam removal. They don't blast everyday. Only on 9/11 ???

Had to use map to stay on trail and lots of mosquitos near the river. But a nice hike nonetheless.

nice views of the river for about 40% of trail. didn't see what made it hard other than it was difficult to find some turns.

Had a great time, only complaint is there wasn’t any signs to help out which way to go, in fact we walked the same route twice.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is not well marked and parts of it are closed. it can be confusing especially where it intersects with other trails. The title is misleading as you're actually on a handful of different trails. I had to use AllTrails quite often to make sure I was going the right way and to find ways around closed or overgrown trails. Ultimately it ended up being over a 4 mile hike. Also, it's not very visually stimulating. There are some nice, small stream crossings but that's about it.

Apparently this trail is closed now due to flooding. It was a good trail. I wanted a quick bike ride after work before the sun went down, and this trail on a bike took me much less time than I thought, so maybe better for a walk than a bike until they stop construction and open up the whole trail. The trail is nice and paved though!

I ran this trail in preparation for a 1/2 marathon trail run. With close to 1,000 feet elevation gain, it is good practice for uphill (glutes) and downhill (quads) technique. Mostly shaded, it is a comfortable run. There are some sections that are fairly rocky so be prepared for your ankles to be a bit sore. You will have to park at the bottom of Quaker Hill and have someone pick you up at the Woodstock Inn.

After breakfast, The wife and I rode into the park. This is a great little loop that features the Cascade Falls, A climb on part of the Ridge Trail and a flat easy 2 miles up and back to the Bloede Dam Project. The dam is being removed. Super nice weather and the park was once again crowded. Limited parking due to half of the park still closed due to flood damage.

Try to stay away from the lower parts of the path near the river as they are very overgrown and hard to follow. Otherwise, pretty good trail IF you have this app or know your way around. Paths are not well marked.
Update: 2 days after the hike our dog got some type of bite or infection from the tall grass. Definitely not worth the hike. Advise to stay out of the grassy area!

Easy walk, pretty sights, very doable in a couple hours. The church and dam are worth going to the end of the trail! The leaves falling off the trees made a nice Fall aesthetic.

A bit more grown-in than expected, but some good elevation changes and really peaceful areas.

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