Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

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.

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.

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.

I hike this section a lot and in many different ways. - You could start at the Playground and head up the Water Bars, which is the old Ridge Trail and you can also head up the New Extension right next to the Playground. - Three Sisters and Morning Choice are the same trail. - When on the Morning Choice you have 2 connectors, which lead you to the main Ridge Trail. - You have a option to take either one pending the distance you wish to hike. - I hiked up to the small shelter and headed down to the road via an old trail. - I returned via River Rd. to enjoy the stream as I headed back.

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.

We had a great hike as a family group!

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

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.

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.

1 month ago

Super easy hike, flat mostly paved (it was a road) be sure to go up hill and off of the paved track to see the old church, then back on the paved road to see the rest of Daniels. Interesting walk, beautiful view of the river!

The trail itself is very good. The loop runs adjacent to the river for a while and the waterfall section is beautiful and a great place to sit down and take in the scenery. However, the trail isn't marked too well and you can miss the route for the falls pretty easily. Overall though the trail is nice, easy, and family friendly (just watch the kids around the falls).

Beautiful trail. Had to cross a few streams but nothing to serious. Will definitely go back again. The waterfalls are breathtaking.

Very nice views during fall time. Definitely recommended!

1 month ago

Took my pup out here and found the trails to be very diverse and entertaining. Some areas were rugged and parts were smooth sailing; which made for a great mixture. We really enjoyed the multiple stream crossings and waterfall.

Easy hike along the river, with lots of history along the way. Impressive cliffs and river views along the entire route. Make sure to visit the church ruins on the hill.

After mulching my flowerbeds for two days it was time to take advantage of this beautiful November weather. Quite breezy but the temps have been in the mid 50's for the past few days. Being a weekday and right before Thanksgiving, the park was quite empty. I saw no one on the trails.Today's hike was very challenging for this old senior. Lots of elevation changes along with multi trail names. If you hike this large loop you do have 3 parking options and the ability to use two restrooms if needed. There is a restroom at the swinging bridge next to the Cascade Falls trail and if you go down the Water/bars trail on the other end you could hike to the playground, which is marked as the Ridge trail-head. It would add an additional mile for the down and back but you could re-connect via the New Ridge Trail Extension. The New Ridge Trail Extension and Garrett’s Pass are not brazed with a color. There are multi ways to hike this area and there are a few connector trails you could use to shorten your distance. Not sure when I will be back on trail so Happy Thanksgiving to all my Hiked Family.

2 months ago

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.

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

Nice hike very dog friendly. Not marked well.

Love this trail! Beautiful and fun!!!

Beautiful views w. lots of history.

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