Avalon Loop Trail

MODERATE 236 reviews

Avalon Loop Trail is a 20 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Baltimore, Maryland that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

20.0 miles
2250 feet

dogs on leash



horseback riding

mountain biking

road biking

rock climbing

trail running










This loop covers the majority of the Avalon area, with multiple ruins, waterfalls and other artifacts to find along the way. You will see some settler homes (two of them) one with a dated gas pump 1930s era as well as two old possible outhouses that are probably state park buildings (old ones). This hike also features the Cascade falls area where you can view some of the best falls in the state! The falls are in a valley area and very secluded. A side hike loop is added for length, and adds some more ruins for some old piping fixtures and a barrel. Going over the swinging bridge you will find the ruins of the "superlative" company along the railroad tracks. More artifacts along the side of the road, as well as railroad bridges, tunnels, and aqueducts.

7 days ago

at see we s4get oo

11 days ago

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

3 months ago

When it comes to Hiking or Backpacking the Patapsco Valley State Park, the Avalon, Orange Grove, Hilton, Hilltop and Glen Artney areas are by far the best trail system in the whole Valley area. You can CAMP in the Hilton area at 1101 Hilton Ave. in Catonsville, Md. There are plenty of pavilions, restrooms and drink fountains in many of the sections. There are so many loops you can hike so the miles and terrain will indeed vary pending your planned trip. You can even take the kids hiking or just go to one of the two playgrounds. I have been backpacking this area since the late 60’s and have seen many changes. The biggest was in 1972, The Storm of Agnes. Can you picture the water as high as the railroad tracks? Many of the trails you see on All/Trails was created and recorded by me. I am still out here weekly. Simply view my recording for the many options to hiking this area. Email me for my custom map I created. baltoken @ yahoo.com

8 months ago

Very nice trail for a family hike.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Probably the best place to hike anywhere near Baltimore.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Great size park with trails leading off roads and walk ways, plenty of places to go and explore with great scenery!

Monday, May 08, 2017

Great trail, easy to make shorter if you use tracking and skip side loops. Love this park!!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Many different trails to make repeat hikes fun and exciting.

Friday, November 18, 2016

is this trail still open as of 11/17?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

this was a great trail. we only managed to get just under 9 miles completed. took about 4 hours, taking a 30 minute break for lunch. next time we need to start very early. will probably take close to 8-9 hours to hike the whole thing. I like the varying terrain. can't wait to finish the whole thing. bring lots of water.!

road biking
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I have a question about this being good for Road Bikes? Is this really good for road bikes?

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Nice view. The route is clear. Just follow the marks painted on the trees.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trail was good and we will go again. Lots of roots and stones within the paths. No road noise on most of the paths we took. Sad that previous patrons have desecrated the trees by carving graffiti. There was broken glass in places.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Good, long hike. Terrain is rocky, muddy, mountainous - and yet I got passed by kids, older people. Anyway! The problem I found wasn't that the trails weren't well marked - they're pretty well blazed - it's that because so many of them wind back and forth alongside a steep hill, it can be very easy to be unsure if you're going the right way, even if you're confident you're on the right trail. If I had an EveryTrail app on my phone (it's not available in the App Store), maybe that would have changed things, but I got myself turned around a few times. Still, the views are top notch, and the whole park is well maintained. I saw actual wildlife, which is sort of rare for popular parks (particularly on a holiday).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Really enjoyed the hike but with this being. My 1st trip I found the signage not very directive. I thought I was going on Avalon Trail but when I arrived at the entrance point it said Morning "something" trail. Very confusing!! But overall it was a great hike but would have never been able to get out of the trail without this app!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Very awesome trail. Highly recommend.

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's great the only thing is NO TRASH CANS!!! You allow dogs but you don't have trash cans for the doggie bags to be disposed and that's inconvenient. That'll be the only thing I would change. Other than that it was great. Hard enough to make it fun but easy enough to enjoy and relax.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Easy but challenging for someone out of shape as myself. Lots a huge hills to climb up. Love this entire park.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Very nice trails. Interesting terrain for the area - I tend to like rocky trails.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I didn't care for it. The steep trek in wasn't worth the hike to me. However my son likes the railroad tracks and took great shots of the tunnel. Eh. We may go again. The people we met on the trail were all very nice.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I gave this 5 stars because this covers alot of trails and I've done all these at one time or another and have to agree with others reviews that there is a bit of graffiety and trash witch I feel it could be better maintained but aside from this you can still see alot of great scenery and take lots of different trails of many different skill levels I tend to like a bit of everything when I hike so this works out. I recommend the Grist Mills Trail if you want something to just take a nice walk and see some nice scenery it's paved so it's good for any skill level.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Easy hike with soft trails for the pups paws. The trails are wide and passing is easy. Great quick hike with plenty of places to sit for lunch/snack/relaxation.

mountain biking
Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Monday, August 31, 2015

Crowded. Path along river (Grist Mill trail) is asphalt.
Views and overlooks marred by trash, broken glass, spray paint.
Trail intersections poorly marked. Blazes few and far between; I got turned around or onto the wrong path several times.
The trail map provided at the entrance station was close to worthless--skimpy, lacking many trails, lacking other details, and way out of scale.

Bikers everywhere the day I went - must have been a bike rally (I saw a Bob's Bikes tent in the parking lot, which should have been a warning!) Even without the bikes the trails were relatively crowded, no real seclusion.
Parking lots were all full and the park stopped allowing new visitors by the time I was leaving, around noon...so if you'e going during peak season (summer; weekends) go early! One good point is that its' really easy to get to from I-95--maybe that explains the crowds....

Many families were playing in the shallow water and in the Cascade falls (just .25 mi easy uphill from the Orange Grove parking lot) so coming off-peak could be a fun time.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


cross country skiing
Thursday, August 13, 2015

Incredible park!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

As other hikers have already mentioned, this area of the Patapsco Valley State Park has numerous trails (some not marked) ranging from easy to fairly difficult. The Grist Mill trail is a 2.5 mile paved trail which follows the river and has a number of information signs about the history of the valley along the route. There are a number of other trails that branch off the Grist Mill trail or you can cross the swinging bridge and try out the trails on the other side. I suggest you print out the Maryland DNR trail map if you plan on hitting multiple trails.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Great park! Amazing hiking views and an all around fun day trip.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I did a great hike in Patapsco Park, but I have to say, this site did not help me find it. I was not interested in a 20-mile hike and you probably aren't either. I have tried to add this hike, but I don't think I did it right. If you would like to do a ~three-mile hike that traverses a variety of terrain, try the circuit hike I have named the Buzzard's Rock Loop. First print out the color map of the Avalon area on the park website. You will be doing a loop that consists of the Grist Mill, Sawmill Branch and Buzzard's Rock trails (blue, red and yellow). My directions will not be perfect, but they may save you a little time. A lot of the trails in the park have multiple options that probably all go to the same place. This makes for confusion. At the park entrance, ask for directions to the Cascade Falls parking area. For the hike, from the parking area cross the river on the swinging bridge and turn left onto the Grist Mill trail (blue). After walking a bit above the river, turn right when you reach the tunnel over a stream. Walk through the tunnel and look to the left for the red blazes that signify the Sawmill Branch Trail. After 20 minutes or so, this trail appears to dead end at a stream, and you will see yellow and white blazes on the other side. If you reach that stream, do not cross it, instead retrace your steps a little and you will find red blazes that send you up onto the hill behind you and off to the right. Follow to the top where you will briefly be in civilization (Hilltop Rd) and will find the yellow blazes for the Buzzard's Rock Trail sending you down to the left. Follow this trail back down to the Grist Mill Trail, going down to the observation rock if you wish (not that much to see there). At the bottom, turn left onto the Grist Mill Trail, noting Bloede's Dam, to eventually complete the circuit at the tunnel. Continue back to the swinging bridge to get back to the parking area. There is a nice picnic area over there. A convenient aspect of this hike is that it is short enough that you can leave your lunch in your car, do the hike and then picnic afterwards. There is no obvious place to picnic on the hike. The Sawmill Branch trail is very pretty. There are some nice places to dip your feet into pools of running water. We did the hike on a weekday and it was not terribly crowded. Hope this helps you.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Good hiking for the area. The trail heads were really poorly marked, but once you were on the trail it was hard to get lost.

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