Switchback Trail

EASY 184 reviews

Switchback Trail is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Marriottsville, Maryland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
347 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Ellicott City, MD: Travel west along Interstate 70 several miles taking exit 83. Head north approximately 4 miles on Marriottsville Road to reach the state park entrance. Parking is available immediately after the contact station.

I like this trail. Easy but nice. Beautiful nature and well maintained. Congrats the park rangers.

hiking
1 day ago

Great hike. Things to watch out for - horse poop (there is A LOT) and mountain bikers (they do not slow down or stop). Had to dock a star for that and for the road noise at the beginning and end of trail and also the shooting range that must be super close because I had to duck a few times thinking I was being shot at. We walked the trail clockwise and it runs along a creek. We saw a few people riding horses and a few kids fishing. Once you get into the trail further the gun and traffic noise die down and it becomes quite pleasant with the trickle of the stream to your left. Towards the end of the trail there is an awesome waterfall. Then you hear the road noise again. Still a fun uncrowded trail that is very easy to hike.

mountain biking
4 days ago

A fun trail to ride, some sections are a bit dicey with an incredibly thin trail and margin of error. Horse traffic can be a bit tough to navigate. Overall, though, this is a nice trail for novice riders.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

Hiked five miles there today always have fun here...some downed trees that need to be cut up but other then that its a great place to hike and bike

hiking
14 days ago

Very nice hike. It was easy for everything but the one ascent, which I would rate moderate. I am looking forward to hiking it in the Fall when the colors change and then again in the Spring when the river has some flow to it. It is shaded almost the entire way other than when you have to traverse along the road and parking lots (1/4 to 1/2 mile). The one negative is that the park doesn't open until 9:00 AM and there is only one spot outside the park that I could find to park. I am an early morning hiker, so 9:00 AM doesn't cut it. About 1/2 mile south of the park entrance, there is a pull-off that will hold 6 - 7 vehicles, depending on how everyone else parks. Directly across from the pull-off is a trail head you can't miss. Fifty feet in and you will be on the Switchback Trail. Go left (clockwise) if you want to get the 1/2 mile ascent out of the way; go right (counter-clockwise) if you want your ascent later in the hike.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

trail running
27 days ago

30 days ago

1 month ago

backpacking
1 month ago

Nice trail system and well marked. There are 3 restrooms with water but you do have a section for 2 miles without any. The Plantation trail is all up or down pending your direction and runs for 1 1/2 miles. Anyway you look at it, you are parking on top of the Mountain. The easy trails are the ones that run along the river but getting to them is a bit of a workout. (Hikers Beware) I found 3 ticks crawling on me and the trails are not even overgrown. Maybe they are falling from the trees. I saw 2 Big Bucks down by the river near the horse trail then I saw 2 Doe with their fawns near the main parking lot as I was leaving. The sun was just going down when I left the Park.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Easy, scenic and not crowded.

hiking
1 month ago

maybe the most invasive species I've seen in one place. lots of mountain bikers and horseback riders.

if you go hiking here please wash your boots before you go anywhere else to hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail, very crowded on weekends.

hiking
1 month ago