Patuxent Branch Trail to Lake Elkhorn and James Pond

EASY 34 reviews

Patuxent Branch Trail to Lake Elkhorn and James Pond is a 11.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Simpsonville, Maryland that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 11.8 miles Elevation Gain: 285 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

road biking

walking

bird watching

running

lake

paved

river

views

wildlife

Part of the Columbia Association Trail System, this trail combines several independent shorter trails to form a longer out and back trail for extended bike riding. The trail is mostly shaded but does fall into direct sun around Lake Elkhorn. While there is limited parking at the trailhead, you will likely find better parking at one of the many smaller branch trails that connect to this trail or at the Lake Elkhorn parking facility.

road biking
1 month ago

Nice ace nice trail that is mostly shady. I do agree with the other reviewer who said that it isn’t marked great- had to turn around at least once due to a wrong turn.. Regardless, nice trail mostly flat with a few up/ down grade changes. Not crowded at 8:30 am on a Tuesday

Really great ride this morning. Mostly shaded. At times, hard to find/remember which turns to make but able to look back to the AllTrails app and see. Parked at Atholton High School and biked to the trail head which made it about 20 miles round trip. Would do this trail again! Lots of walkers/runners out on this Saturday morning.

Walked the Patuxent Branch Trail today, but I only went as far as the Lake Elkhorn loop (about 10K); I didn’t go all the way up to James Pond (over 10 mi). Noises coming from cars on bridge overpasses and businesses nearby did little to disrupt the serenity of my trek, and my connection to the natural surroundings. The trail is paved and flat, with relatively no elevation change, and there was a light flow of road bikers whizzing by, but my experience was not perturbed by this. I ran into heavy foot traffic once I got to Lake Elkhorn, and that’s on a Tuesday after 7 pm, which speaks to how popular the Lake Elkhorn loop is. It was getting late so I decided not to go all the way up to James Pond, and jogged back the last 2.5 miles. I hope to return soon to do the whole thing. Great walk! Completed: July 9, 2019

I love to hear the sounds of water and get close to climb on the rocks when I hike. This trail does have water and ways to get close to the water. Just wasn’t pleased with off trails to do so. The trail is very nice though.

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