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Grist Mill, Vineyard, Santee Branch, Sawmill Branch Loop

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Patapsco Valley State Park

Grist Mill, Vineyard, Santee Branch, Sawmill Branch Loop is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Elkridge, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until December. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.7 miles Elevation Gain: 462 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching




wild flowers



As of June 2019, the New section of the Grist Mill Trail is OPEN and so is ALL the rest down to the Lost Lake Pond. - All the trees in the new section are just babies so you are in total SUN LIGHT. - During the summer be sure to carry plenty of water to drink. - The entire trail is paved in blacktop. - If you are hiking between Ilchester Rd. and the Swinging Bridge be careful crossing the section where the bridge is washing out. - Rocks have been piled up to walk across but this spot can flood during a storm. - Flood signs are posted. This loop is indeed an enjoyable one. Not many people walk the Santee trail. Park your car in the Hilton Area or at the Swinging Bridge in the Orange Grove area. There are restrooms and water fountains at both locations. You can even Camp overnight in the Hilton area but you have to pay. The Grist Mill trail is a fairly flat Blacktop trail that runs along the river. The Sawmill Trail (RED) has an up or down terrain pending your direction and features a stone tunnel you walk through, small very manageable stream crossing but there is one section that is a bit rocky. You have to walk on the boulders due to a down tree. You can still see the edge of the original trail. The Santee Trail (WHITE) crossing the whole top. It changes to (ORANGE) then back to (WHITE) because of the Charcoal Trail that runs around the campground. If you are hiking the Santee Trail from the Hilton Area to the Vineyard Trail just make all rights that are marked (WHITE). A long hike on the Santee but it is an easy one. The Vineyard trail (RED) is at a big intersection of trails and is well marked.(at the Fire Road). The Vineyard trail has an up or down terrain pending your direction. Please Note: If you need to shorten this trek you can break off the Santee and get onto the Backside Of Nun's. (Nunnery Trail) connects Santee to Grist Mill Trail.

19 days ago

This trail might be closed. Park staff would not let us access this trail head on Sun, June 14th. It also took more than 30 minutes to get into the park entrance due to traffic at the gate.

5 months ago

I enjoyed the hike and there was a lot of beautiful sections. The train tunnels added a sense of adventure. the water falls and pools of water made it even better. I was glad I brought my hiking poles it was slippery along most of the trails. Great Sunday hike.

Tue Jun 11 2019

Very nice trail with a nice variety of different sights and trail types. A few areas were poorly marked, especially at trail crossings. I would not attempt this for the first time without a map. A bit rocky and rooty, but only for short bursts. Otherwise a nice trail.

Sun Jun 10 2018

This was a beautiful park!

Mon May 21 2018

Ok. Very crowded. Tons of kids and bikers. Trails are pretty narrow so you literally have to move to let people pass — pretty enough but far too many people. There are most definitely not enough signs.

Sun Apr 02 2017

Sat Jan 21 2017

great trail, somewhat muddy in a few spots, this is a well used trail, with a few people going all the way around, with most people sticking close to the parking area, this trail took me just 2:30 hours with my wife my son and my dog. easy enough to walk and very pleasant. I will be back in the spring time,

1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

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