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Patuxent Branch Trail

MODERATE 122 reviews
#2 of 3 trails in

Patuxent Branch Trail is a 9.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jessup, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.4 miles Elevation Gain: 328 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

road biking

walking

bird watching

running

forest

partially paved

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

running
26 days ago

I don't really consider this a trail as it's more of a path(just like a ton of other paths in Columbia). It's nice and flat for my long runs. This is mainly a paved trail with about 3 miles of gravel/dirt trail if you do an out and back. If your looking for a nice hike this isn't for you but if your looking for a long easy run this is my go to spot.

hiking
5 months ago

The trail is mostly asphalt with some compacted stone sections and generally pretty flat. Sort of neat to cross beneath several bridges, but there isn't much else particularly unique or interesting. I extended this trail past the park down to the historic mill - very cool remnants along the river, but essentially a dead end without getting creative.

hiking
5 months ago

It was just ok. I should have read the reviews first though, as I had a hard time telling what was the "trail" once I was near the school. I followed the sidewalk it connected to along the road, which to be honest, doesn't feel like a hike. if you follow the sidewalk, you will start seeing trail markers again.

road biking
5 months ago

I decided to take my old road bike out for a ride today and found this trail online. I parked at Lake Elkhorn and easily found the trail as it goes beneath Broken Land Pkwy and heads south. All was going well until the nice paved trail ran out just after the old railroad bridge. Can anyone tell me if there is any more paved path south of the bridge on the way to Savage?

hiking
5 months ago

The majority of this trail is paved. I feel as though the moderate difficulty rating is due to the length. About 90% of the trail is shaded. Went on a Monday morning at about 10:20 and didn’t come across more than 25 people out and back. I’m sure it’s much busier on the weekends. There is a porta potty when you get about halfway out which was a Godsend sewing as it’s 95 degrees today and I drank a ton of water. Will definitely do this trail again (probably only on weekdays though) as practice for improving speed times.

hiking
6 months ago

More of a walk than a hike, but if you’re looking to increase mileage without extra challenges it is a good path. Saw a lot of deer.

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

challenging in length, not terrain. the beginning of the trail up to the school is extremely peaceful with many footpaths leading down to the river. we'll be returning to spend time here, exclusively. my husband says he feels like he's among the ewoks in here. once crossing the road, it's ideal for runners and bikers. pretty because of the river and access to the housing/ neighborhoods. once the trail turns over the iron bridge, it's literally a nature preserve. lots of wooden paths and bridges. definitely the more boring of the hike

hiking
blowdown
8 months ago

Great trail, not too busy Memorial Day weekend. A few trees down from the tornado.

8 months ago

I did the full 9.4 miles a few weeks ago. It was challenging only because of length, not terrain. There is some pretty scenery and there are some boring parts. Not something I'd get very excited about doing again.

hiking
Sat Sep 01 2018

Lovely walk. Only did the first chunk from Savage park to Guillford, but looking forward to doing the rest soon! Pretty popular though so there were a lot of people on the trail. Also wasn't a huge fan of the sections that ran and crossed over a major road

walking
Tue Jul 10 2018

I've been taking my puppy here for awhile- nice walk and hike. Easy to get down to the patuxent river for him to cool down. A lot of runners and dogs - overall very peaceful.

road biking
Sun Jun 10 2018

This trail is ideal for mountain biking. There are alot of abrupt stops and inclines and the trail towards Lake Elkhorn is mostly gravel and mud. I had to stop and turn around because it was too muddy for my bike.

hiking
Wed Dec 06 2017

we expected more things to do on the trail. just good for walk.

running
Fri Aug 18 2017

Nice trail, they could've done a better job marking where the trail continues in some areas (e.g. by Patuxent Branch Middle(or was it High?) School).

hiking
Sun Jul 30 2017

Sun Jul 23 2017

Moderate? It was flat and paved and posed no difficulty. I wouldn't call this a trail. More like a paved suburban path.

running
Sat Jun 17 2017

Always a nice peaceful nearby connection to nature

Sun Jun 11 2017

hiking
Mon May 15 2017

We wanted to go for a hike nearby for Mother's Day. It was a perfect day for it. Due to the recent rain, we also wanted a location that wasn't too muddy. The trail was not that crowded, surprisingly and it was beautiful. There are two reasons that I didn't give it 5 stars. First, there were several forks in the trail that were not clearly marked. This is where the All Trails app came in REALLY handy! Second, because it is so close to major roads and highways, it took away from the peaceful nature of the beautiful scenery. So when you look at all the beautiful pictures, keep that in mind. Other than that, it was a perfect day!

walking
Sun Apr 23 2017

This is a great trail. I loved it. Especially being able to walk to Lake Ehlron.

Fri Sep 30 2016

Very nice trail just too crowded unfortunately.

Mon Sep 19 2016

nice paved trail!

Fri Sep 16 2016

Great for biking and running!

road biking
Mon Aug 29 2016

Nice trail for a fairly easy bike ride. Half paved, half gravel.

walking
Sat May 28 2016

Great. With plenty of shad for hot days. It was 90 when me and my dog went. Hop off the trail and play a bit in the river. It's shallow and slow. Relax at the lake before you head back. Good for a couple of hours.

Sun Sep 27 2015

Flat and paved with lots of neighborhoods close by so its not what we were hoping for: no varied inclines in a forest. Its great for walking and biking though! We found 1 trail off from the parking lot that was a bit overgrown but alright for the short bit we could do.

Tue Sep 01 2015

The trail head on the map is off by a half block. It drops you off in a residential area where there is no place to park. If using GPS, do a search for "Savage Park", there is a public parking lot right at the trail head. There is a need to go on Vollmerhaussen Rd. for about a quarter mile (steep hill) because the short section shown on the map is actually private property with "No Trespassing" signs. It's supposed to be a loop, but the return on the other side of the river is overgrown and not very visible/manageable. Aside from that, it's a great trail that takes you out to Elkhorn Lake. Go the extra mile and go around the lake, it's worth it. Bring plenty of water, one twenty oz. bottle was a stretch for 11 miles and I didn't see any water fountains, even around the lake.

hiking
Fri Jan 31 2014

Hiked in the snow on 1/26/2014. The trail was in great shape and the walk was wonderful. Not far from civilization so if that is your goal this trail is not for you. But if you are looking for a way to get out and enjoy the outdoors in the Columbia area this is a nice trail. Quiet except right around the major highways. Clearly marked. A few runners and dog walkers but otherwise didnt see anybody. Nice views of the river, open spaces, snow covered, gorgeous.

hiking
Fri Nov 23 2012

It was a great hike. Nice views of the river.

hiking
Fri Apr 20 2012

Not so much a great hiking trail for getting away from civilization, but still a good way to get outside without having to go very far. It's a great place to go running or biking. The creek is actually rather scenic, and you'll meet lots of friendly people walking their dogs, running, and biking. Its never too crowded, except maybe the Lake Elkhorn loop on a nice day. I've gone running in the morning and it seemed like I had the whole trail to myself.

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