Explore the most popular views 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.

Trail Closure Alert:
If you park up in the section of the Swinging Bridge there are TWO main closures. The TRAIL road up to the dam is now fenced off. With all the construction going on and blasting up at the dam the area is CLOSED. Also, you are allowed to walk on the Swinging Bridge but it's boarded up on the other side. The Grist Mill Trail is still CLOSED. With all the heavy rain we had this year the trail above the Cascade Falls has become extremely rocky. If you are hiking up on Garrett's Pass you CAN'T come down the Bike Buster section to the road. Basically ALL the trails on this side of the river are OPEN. When recording, park in the big lot and hike to the main Cascade trail-head. ** Bad GPS signals by the restroom. ** No texting **. When you get back to the big parking lot save your data.

TRAIL CLOSURES UPDATE:
The entire Grist Mill Trail is still CLOSED due to the damage it received during the Memorial Day storm. The River Road Trail is NOW CLOSED due to blasting up at the dam. They blasted a hole in the dam on Sept 11. The complete road trail leading to the dam above the swinging bridge is now board off.

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 ???

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 of your loop. You could also have hiked the Cascade Falls trail which is color coded ( blue ). This trail does get 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. It felt great to get out after a week of high humidity. A few little showers were fine but now the rain comes. Stay away from the Swinging Bridge or the Restroom when saving your data. Park on the big lot and save data there. The other location is a dead spot.

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
24 days 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!

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!

The (NEW) Ridge Extension trail is only a single track so beware of bikes. It's way better then going up the Old Ridge (Waterbars). Both the old and the new trails up will connect you to Rockburn branch loop, Morning Choice and the Main Ridge Trail. The Valley View trails breaks off of the Ridge trail.
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. Take the old stone road down to River road. Nice breezy day but I did feel it in the woods.

** As a Pro member, I love the NEW ** LifeLine** feature in All/Trails. My wife can track me the whole time I am on trail. All/Trails lets you also send Alerts and if you are running late. Great Feature. Your contact see basically the same recording screen you see in REAL TIME. **

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

29 days ago

Apparently "At capacity", wasn't able to hike it. They also had signage saying there are current projects happening in the area effecting access.

Enjoyable, moderately challenging walk. Trail is overgrown in some soots and there are a lot of unofficialMTB trails that are offshoots of this making the trail hard to follow in many spots.

Had a blast on this trail with my 8 and 13 year old daughters. Was pretty muddy when we went tho but it made it more fun in a way lol. Sliding and trying not to fall lol.

TRAIL CLOSURE MESSAGE: The only section of trail that is OPEN in this feature trail is the Santee Branch Trail. All trails leading down to or connected to the Grist Mill Trail are CLOSED. The Grist Mill was badly damaged in the June 2018 Ellicott City flood. The Swinging Bridge is only open to view the river. You can't cross over from side to side. The footbridge and much of the Grist Mill trail has washed away.

TRAIL CLOSURES: - At this time ANY TRAILS that leads to or connects with the Grist Mill Trail are CLOSED. - All of the Soapstone Trail Loops are OPEN. - Bull Run Loop is OPEN. - The Bike Jumper Trail is OPEN and connects to the Santee Branch Trail. - The entire Santee Branch Trail has been OPEN from the fire road all the way to Hilltop Rd. - It's the only trail OPEN in the Hilton tire park area.

Trail was great, had our credit cards stolen from our car though. Partly my fault, forgot to lock the door. Didn't take the whole purse just my girls credit cards and then a $10k shopping spree at the Arundel mall. The view of the trail was scenic and relaxing. Saw a few deer.

This trail is closed until further notice due to flood damage.

PVSP Trail Crew

nice, easy hike. poorly marked in places. recommend downloading the map.

road biking
1 month ago

With rain all yesterday evening I stayed off the muddy trails. Today, I did a little biking around the park roads. Once a month I go up and check on the Bloede Dam removal project. Today, they we jack-hammering the concrete to remove the fish ladders. The dam is scheduled to be removed this September. The Grist Mill trail is CLOSED and will be for the rest of this year. You can now walk on the Swinging Bridge and look at the river but it's CLOSED on the Baltimore County side. The DNR has now created a wooden door on the opposite side of the bridge.

Amazing views . Parts are challenging especially to beginners . But awesome landscapes

** MESSAGE REGARDING CLOSURES **: The Soapstone Trail heading up to S. Rolling Rd. is OPEN but there are detours which places you on the new Star Struck trail. The Inner Soapstone is CLOSED. The Vineyard Trail is CLOSED.
The Santee Branch trail is OPEN but you have to access it via the Bike Jumper from the top end of Bull Run Trail. These three trails are the only ones OPEN on the Glen Artney side of the park which is the Baltimore County side. The Lost Lake parking lot and Grist Mill trail have been totally damaged from all the recent floods.
Your best option is to enjoy the Howard County side of the Park. When entering Avalon section turn left towards the Playground. Plenty of trails on this side. I have trail maps I created if you need help. baltoken@yahoo.com

This trail is currently closed until further notice.

Awesome trail, but poorly marked. I got lost and had to back track twice. Aside from that the trail is beautiful and the burgers at the Woodstock Inn are amazing.

hiking
1 month ago

*** FLOOD CONDITIONS ON THE BALTIMORE. COUNTY. SIDE ***
Today, I hiked the park road on one side of the park heading to the Glen Artney side of the Avalon section. - My pictures depict the damage on that side. - Only a few trails on that side are OPEN. - You can drive up to the Soapstone trail head and hike your way up to S. Rolling Rd. but the trail has a few detours. - The Inner Soapstone trail along Glen Artney Rd. is CLOSED. The Bull Run trail is also OPEN. - If you park up at the Fire Rd. you can hike the Santee towards the Hilton Area but trails leading to the Grist Mill are CLOSED. - The 2-mile Grist Mill trail is CLOSED and will be for the rest of the year. - All the footbridges are washed away. - The parking lot at the Lost Lake Pond is CLOSED. - It was a iffy day with the weather so I hiked the road knowing I could take shelter if needed. - The skies looked bad but the rain never came. - The ( Left ) Howard County side is ALL OPEN. Enjoy !!

Cool trail, but I found it extremely heavily trafficked. I felt like I was on some kind of tour. There was always someone right in front or behind you. I did go on a Sunday during the summer, so perhaps it wouldn’t be so busy during fall. There were a lot of kids in the water, and honestly I felt like a tourist. The trail was very dog friendly for active dogs. There were a lot of spots for me to veer off trail and take tasteful nude Instagram photos.

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