Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

hiking
22 hours ago

Moderate hike with waterfall fairly close to beginning of trail! Definitely recommend!

Wow, It's been quite a bit since I hiked the (Original) Soapstone and Overgrown. I truly recommend using a few of the new trails. The Soapstone is the most used and muddiest trail in the Glen Artney area of the park. There is multi stream crossing and they continue to get worse because of the bikers. If you are heading up the Soapstone, turn right onto the Starstruck (Alt.) trail. It's higher and dryer !! If you are hiking the old Overgrown then be sure to spray for ticks before you go. It's really Overgrown. The new Overgrown is in better shape but it connects to the Bull Run near the Switchbacks which is the opposite side if you are heading to the Bike Jumper. The Bike Jumper is your biggest climb but the stream is a great resting spot before you head up. When you get to the fire road intersection you can shorten your trip if you head back down the Santee Branch. 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.

We enjoyed this hike but would not label it hard. There were some ups and down but nothing strenuous. Like other people said, the markers are oddly placed (you get the marker before a split so we did not know to go to the left or right path). It took 2 hours to walk the loop.

Once again I have found another great way to hike the Howard County ( Elkridge side ) of the Park. I basically park at the swinging bridge because it provides you with better access to looping much of the park. I met up with a follower on All/Trail that lived in Chicago. He works for the EPA and was doing a job in Ellicott City. He hiked 3 miles of my 5 mile loop I did today with me. I shared my history of the park which he indeed enjoyed. I hike by myself all the time. I wish I could do this more often with other All/Trail members. Want Help or a special map of the area. - Message me at baltoken@yahoo.com

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.

at see we s4get oo

its a fun trail peaceful not a lot of traffic some mountain bikers but its nice pretty trail.

15 days ago

Park opens at 9am! I got here at 6am to start my hike but gate is CLOSED! WTF

Nice walk. A lot of people and bikers on the trail.

Great location and trails.

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.

hiking
26 days ago

The easiest section of my track today was the loop around Rochburn ( Purple ) trail. There are many big ups and downs on this trails. The Ridge trail section near the Old Connector is extremely rocky. The Three Sister's trail is truly the Morning Choice because it's brazed in (Yellow ). So is the Old Connector. As an option you could also choose to hike the View Valley ( White ) trail because it has better views of the Valley. The Ridge ( Orange ) is in the middle of the woods.

A pretty and well maintained trail with a cute little waterfall! The hike itself is fairly easy and I was able to bring my dog. I am unfortunately giving less stars due to getting lost. This trail intersects with several bike trails and the markings are very confusing. We ended up getting a little lost and did part of a bike loop. Thankfully we were able to find our way back to the original trail. Some very friendly hikers helped point us in the right direction. ☺️

Just the best hike! Took four kids from 4-10 years old and everyone had a great hike. Beautiful to see spring rising

Such a beautiful trail!

Solid trail. Well maintained. Took about 2 hours with frequent stops. I don't recommend going on a Sunday afternoon as it was very crowded. Too many families with little trail etiquette for my taste.

Gorgeous and mild, offering many opportunities to lengthen the hike with additional trails. I agree with other posters that way-marking could be better, but now that I've done it once I feel like I wouldn't get lost on a second go.

Great hike ! Crowded by falls with been bikes and dogs but it is a Sunday and pretty spring day! Lots of other trails to explore and rocks to boulder around on.

The Rockburn ( PURPLE ) loop is in my opinion the easiest section of the Avalon area. Once you have hiked up the Water Bars ( Ridge connector ) you will see the Rockburn sign. The entire loop is a well used and marked. Many bikers are always on this section but the trail is plenty wide. Its fairly level with small ups and downs. This loop would be idea for anyone just getting into hiking or mountain biking. There is no water crossings unless you hike part or all of the Hop The Snake trail ( Blue ). Part of my recording includes the New Ridge extension. It's not yet finished but much of it has been cut out already. What's not cut out has flags you can follow. I saw bikers on it today.

very nice trail overall, a little above begginer. gets pretty steep at times for novices. at two parts you have to cross little creeks walking across the rocks. a lot of people and dogs on the trail. about 2 hours out and back if you stop at the falls for 10 mins.

This weather has been un-real. Cold or Raining one day then 60's or 70's the next. If the wind didn't die down I wouldn't have left the house. The Cascade, Bike Buster and Garrett's Pass has a lot of down trees. The trails are good to go again. These trails are always well maintained. My 3-mile loop today was one long up then all down the second half. Although we got a lot of rain the day before the trails were very dry. The wind dries the trails but you need to watch for falling branches. The water was a bit deep at the stream crossings and some of the rocks you hop across at the Falls were underwater.

Now that it's getting hot out the park is becoming super crowded. During the summer months, if you don't get there by 10 in the morning you may not be able to park inside the main area. You will need to park up on S. Rolling Rd. and hike down the Soapstone Trail. It got to 80 degrees today and with no leaves on the trees it was super hot out. Remember to carry plenty of water. Although this is one of my short trails it will indeed give you a workout. Many ups and downs. They placed Spot-A-Pots at the Soapstone trailhead but the water fountain is working. I never recommend this area of trails when its raining. These trails get very muddy and being steep could be a problem for some people. I wish I could have hiked more but the heat and steep hills drained this old senior. Happy Hiking !!

The main Park road into the Avalon section was blocked off due to a house fire on South Rd. The water pumper truck was connected to a fire hydrant. Because that area was closed I decided to drive up to Landing Rd. and hike the Morning Choice trail section. 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 which is considers as a Horse and Biker trail. I hiked this to try and create a loop without back tracking. I also added the two Connector trails to gain access to the Ridge. I added mileage. The Ridge trail is the true butt kicker. Big ups and downs !! Great Day and it was almost 80 degrees but windy as it's been for a week now.

Today the weather was great but the wind was blowing. When I got to the park there was a bike ride event going on. The staging area was at the Playground. The place was packed to the brim with bikers. Their challenge route was along the Ridge trail and looping along the Grist Mill section. Because of the event I decided to hit the highest trails in the park that were mainly foot-trails. If you want to hike the most challenge trails in the park then you need to follow this recorded track loop. It features many steep climbs, boulder scrambles, cliffs and the best views of the park. There are many hard climbs along this route but you do get breaks in between each of them. I met a lot of great people on the trail and being a senior this took me 4 hours to hike these 4 miles. It’s the Best the park has to offer. ( Be Careful and enjoy your Hike ).

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.

just took a short trip to the overlooks today but I'll definitely be back!

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.

Enjoyable moderate hike with a few hills, water crossings, one little waterfall. This was a beautiful spring day. My hike was about six miles. G Ood training hike

Moderate trail with a ton of rocks and flowing river. Very gorgeous scenery and leads right into Patapsco. A ton of other hikers and dogs.

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