Ridge Trail

MODERATE 5 reviews
#30 of 70 trails in

Ridge Trail is a 4.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ilchester, Maryland that features a waterfall. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.4 miles
666 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


mountain biking

nature trips

trail running





MESSAGE ALERT: If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, Only the Howard County side of the Park and trails are OPEN. When entering, turn left toward the Playground. The road is OPEN up to the Swinging Bridge. The road is blocked off at the Lost Lake Pond, the other way. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney area is even worse. The stream and the parking lot at the Soapstone Trailhead is now a 8 foot deep trench. The Swinging Bridge is CLOSED. The Baltimore County side (trails) may end up being CLOSED all summer. ** If you need a special map I created it could help you learn the Howard County side. ** baltoken @ yahoo.com ( Ken ) PS: With only one side open. Go early or you are not getting in. Over Crowded and they stop cars from coming in. Two rental pavilions are open and they need parking for them first. Fun, challenging trail that runs along the top of the ridge along the Patapsco River. Parts are buffed out, but much of the trail is technical single track and can be quite rocky. Trail is used by both hikers/runners and mountain bikers. Not many views during the summer, but probably in the late fall or winter, when leaves are gone. Southern trailhead starts right off River Road ~0.25 mile from the shelter/campground. Northern trailhead intersects with the Cascade Falls Trail right at the falls. Cross the falls and ~0.25 miles down the ridge on the Cascade Falls Trail you come back to River Road at the swinging bridge.

8 days ago

I posted this loop under Ridge Trail mainly because it Features the (NEW) Ridge Extension trail that connects you near the Rockburn loop and the Main Ridge Trail. The NEW trail starts across the road at the middle of the Playground parking lot. The trail was just completed. The old way up was the Ridge (Waterbars) trail that is washed out, rocky and tons of roots. I don't mine coming down that old trail but it gets muddy. The loop I hiked today could be shorten if you don't hike Morning Choice or cut out the Rockburn Loop. Nice breezy day so I did a bit extra. The Park continues to get crowded early.

18 days ago

Howard County side is your best option. If you entry the Park for Washington Blvd. you will want to drive to the split and turn LEFT. Towards the Playground. The road up to the Swinging Bridge is open plus all the trails on that side of the stream is good to go. The Swinging Bridge is completely roped off so that you can't go on the other side of the Park. The Grist Mill trail and foot bridges are totally destroy. The Lost Lake Pond area is completely CLOSED but one small parking lot is open. The Soapstone trail is now open but you have to hike all the way up to the trailhead. The road is damaged.

trail running
Monday, July 10, 2017

Very fun and technical run along this trail. I started at the southern end, which begins right off River Road. The initial climb is tough, but not awful. Once up on the ridge, the trail gains and loses elevation and winds through the forest. Some really fun descents mixed in as well. There are a couple ruins along the way, which is cool. The trail ends and intersects with the Cascade Falls Trail right at the waterfall itself. There are a couple small creek crossings too that are probably more pronounced after good rains.

The falls were busy when I was there (Sunday late morning, about 11am), but probably much less so if you go during the work week.

While I encountered a few mountain bikers along the way, the trail was busiest within ~0.25 mile of the falls, unsurprisingly. More hikers and bikers here. The trail itself is mostly rocky, technical single track from the southern trailhead to about 0.5 mile from the falls, when it buffs out a bit more.

Highly recommended for hikers, runners, or bikers. Hard to believe you're 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore when you're in the middle of this trail.

2 months ago