Explore the most popular trail running 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.

20 hours ago

Today's trip was a survey hike to review the condition of a few CLOSED sections. All of the Santee and Branch trail is in great shape for the 50 K run Nov. 27. A few mud spots but no standing water. The Vineyard Springs trail is only OPEN down to the Foot Path which is a hard rocky climb up to the Fire Rd.
The Vineyard Springs trail is CLOSED heading down to the Grist Mill trail, which is also CLOSED. You can hike down the Nun's trail from the Sister's Of The Poor but at the last 100 feet in front of the tunnel is totally destroyed. Right by the Tunnel is a giant rock slide about 20 feet high. The trail is gone and the stream is now on the other side. The damage in this location is un-real and the rocks have washing away the Grist Mill foot bridges. With out the bridges the key issue is flooding of water coming thru the tunnels during rainstorms. I have seen water flowing 2 feet deep thru the tunnels and it would wash you away.

The hike itself was beautiful, but I found the trail to be poorly marked and we missed the trail to do the full loop and had multiple other hikers ask us for directions back to their cars. I would definitely hike it again, but would use the map more instead of trusting the trail.

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 took a small hike to check on the progress of the dam project. - Not very much of the dam is left. Only a small section on each side of the stream. - Although it was windy as heck the park was fairly crowded. - Lots of people with their dogs.

NOTICE: Oct. 27, which is next Saturday is the 50 K Run through the Park. This is a 10 hour event. It's a big possibility only runners will be allowed in the Park. ( Avalon and Orange Grove ). This includes Soapstone ( S. Rolling Rd ) and the Hilltop area. ( S. Hilltop Rd. ) This run takes up both sides of the park.. Those locations are setup to be Aid Stations for the Runners.

Perfect difficulty level with a nice variety of terrain for a shorter trail.

Very nice hike. One lovely setting after another. Follow the northbound through-trail for the first 4 miles, then the southbound for the remainder. Total time was 3 hours for 6.8 miles. Had an awesome burger at Woodstock Inn afterward.

My loop today featured a hike on River Rd. along the stream up to the Bloede Dam which is almost gone. Dam Removal Project should end July of 2019. This loop also features a hike up to the famous Swinging Bridge and Cascade Falls. The large loop is a lot of inclines and descents. Nothing super hard if you just take your time. The hike back is along the Cascade Stream trail. Very enjoyable in the summer. The weather has been super nice for the past few days. Breezy out and no sweating.

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.

9 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!

10 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 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!

29 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.

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.

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.

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.

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