Grist Mill, Sawmill Branch, Santee Branch, Cascade Falls, Ilchester Trail Loop

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Patapsco Valley State Park

Grist Mill, Sawmill Branch, Santee Branch, Cascade Falls, Ilchester Trail Loop is a 8.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Catonsville, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

Length8.9 miElevation gain1,072 ftRoute typeLoop
CampingHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingForestRiverViewsWildlifeFee
Description
Waypoints (0)

Patapsco Valley State Park charges a fee to enter. The fee is $5 per vehicle. If parking along River Road please be aware of any posted private property signage as vehicles do get ticketed and/or towed here.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (99)
Photos (2,651)
Recordings (99)
Completed (174)
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Shea A
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Hiking

Muddy, icy, good

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Richard Ren
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HikingFeeRocky

As one of the longer permutations of trails in the state park, it links Cascade Falls, 2 swinging bridges, mountain climbs, riverbank strolls, and a cheeky tunnel underneath a railroad line all in one trail. I started at the swinging bridge near Shelter 106 in the state park area. It is $2 to get in (honor system - prepare change) and can get busy on the weekends, but I'd rather not get struck by the numerous parking advisories. The trail peaks early at the first landmark, Cascade Falls - scenery, not altitude - and on a 25-degree day the fall was partially frozen over. The climb up is manageable, and it feeds back down to a paved road along the river - the paved road tapers, downgrades, and stubbornly guides you to the rocky river bed. Be persistent in finding that narrow muddy route. After joining Ilchester Road, it picks up Grist Mist Trail via another swinging bridge down the paved "A Walk Through History." The AllTrails route will want to turn off the paved route, towards the train track, via "Drugs" - this turnoff is extremely steep, the black dirt is very slippery, so take the earlier turnoff instead. The trails on the Northeast of the river are reasonably well marked - just follow Sawmill Branch and Santee Branch for the most part. As a general feature, the trail gets muddled when it goes along the creek. The Charcoal loop along the back of the campground is an optional extra that doesn't really add much. The curiously straight section was an open downhill track underneath power lines - if you're into that sort of thing. At the end of the Santee Branch, it will join Grist Mill via the tunnel underneath the rail tracks. Not across them. Walk alongside the flow river carefully as it can be icy. Overall Cascade Falls is very nice, the rest of the dirt tracks aren't too remarkable. The easy paved sections along the river just pad the length without offering too much challenge (other than: don't get lost). It is very much a solid workout though. Having faithfully followed the route besides getting lost maybe 3 times, my GPS recorded 9.75 miles. The Bloede Dam was demolished years ago so the raging current on the AllTrails cover is now no more.

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Samantha Armacost
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Hiking

Only writing this low review to highlight that there is no parking at the trailhead. Arrived and all vehicles had parking tickets.

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Jonathan Garcia
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Hiking
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Shane D
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Steve Jackson
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Graeme Clark
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Great trial - lots of variety and a great workout. Nearer 10 miles than what they state. BEWARE - don’t park near the private property sign on River Road - they WILL tow your car. This happened to us & we had to Uber to Baltimore & pay $260!

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Samer Hattar
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Hiking

Awesome

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Dan Gabor
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Walking
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Steve Jackson
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Hiking
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Katie Cho
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Kurt Hixenbaugh
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Katie Cho
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Hiking
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Dan Mergl
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Hiking

Great trail. Busy in a few spots. Steep incline\declines in a few spots with deep leaves on the ground made for some slippery going. Trekking poles are a must on this trail in late fall. Some cool bridges and a tunnel under train tracks. Recording combined 2 different hikes for some strange reason. Route I took was little over 10 miles according to my fitbit.

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Katie Cho
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Hiking
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Daniel Batterson
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Hiking
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Calvin Hughes
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Hiking

Was looking forward to backpacking in this area. Unfortunately, the camping areas are already closed for the winter. Its 60 deg during the daytime. What winter? Poor execution Maryland.

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Brandon Neal
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Clay Thorne
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Clay Thorne
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Sanjarbek Rakhimov
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Hiking

Amazing

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Alex Cortellessa
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Hiking

Perfect

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Doron Straus
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Hiking

Excellent. Lots of variety. However not doable without mapping program in my opinion. Most trails unmarked. Follow map and u should be ok for most part. The bridges were neat. The river nice. Lots of changing scenery. Unfortunately I gassed because I parked too far to begin with, added additional 4 miles. I cut out Charcoal loop, saved 0.6 then I cheated at end and walked on Landing Road literally to save a little. Very satisfying hike. I’m pooped.

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Dave Buttner
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Hiking

While I admire the effort that went into recording this trail, it's a snoozer if you want payoff views. That said, this hike will give you a solid workout with lots of varied terrain. The falls and the river offered a few pleasant views. Notes for other hikers... 1) The parking area does not offer legal parking. We parked in nearby Hilton area and trekked to the nearest trail intersection. 2) Unless my GPS was off, the actual distance is between 9.5 and 10 miles. 3) When hiking on the south side of the river, take the path along the ridge and avoid the riverbed - unless you love rock scrambling. 4) Unless you use your GPS, you'll never stay on this recorded trail. Too many turns to keep track of.

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Mark Mammel
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Hiking
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Mavic Inan Wanit
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HikingGreat!Over grownRocky

Nice trail. I t has a bit of everything- rocky, muddy, uphill, downhill, shaded, open spaces, over grown meadows, river, streams and railways. The only down side is that you can get easily lost without navigation. Couldn't have made it without the all trails app.

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Justin Tressler
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Hiking

Really nice trail but got quite busy near the falls. Also very rocky in places but it was a lot of fun.

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