Explore the most popular trails near Catonsville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
4 days ago

TRAIL CLOSURE UPDATE: Any and all trails leading to the severely damage Grist Mill trail are CLOSED. Forest Glen, Pigs Run and Nun's Run in the Hilton Tire Park Area are all CLOSED.
The ONLY trail OPEN in this location is the Santee Branch Trail. The entire Santee is Open.

Also note: The Sawmill and mostly All the trails in the HILLTOP area are also CLOSED due to blasting at the dam removal project. One trail is OPEN up at S. Hilltop Rd. but it's only a Out and Back on Buzzard's leading to the Ilchester Rocks over top the train bridge.

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS:
All of the Soapstone Trails ( Inner and Outer Loops ) are OPEN. Plenty of access and parking in the Upper Glen Artney section. The entire pond area is still CLOSED. The Grist Mill Trail is CLOSED and so are any trails leading to it. Vineyard, Backside of Nun's are CLOSED and now completely fenced off. The Santee Branch Trail has been OPEN and so is the fire road access to the main Santee.

A few of the trails in this area are closed due to the blasting of the Bloede Dam. They blow a hole in the dam on the Howard County side on Sept 11, 2018. For me to comply with the notice of TRAIL CLOSURES, I decided to simply blaze my own via GPS. Basically, any trail leading to the damaged Grist Mill is closed. Because of this, most trails that are open are Out and Back. Sorry, I am not a out and back kinda guy. The park is open, the woods are ours but the trails are closed. Fine, just don't hike on the trails. Great to get out after a week of rain and bombing heat. I saw over 15 deer in the woods today. I got my shots of the dam project I wanted. By the way, The River Rd. trail on the other side of the park is closed too. Why don't they want us to enjoy the view of the dam removal. They don't blast everyday. Only on 9/11 ???

hiking
26 days ago

The trail is not well marked and parts of it are closed. it can be confusing especially where it intersects with other trails. The title is misleading as you're actually on a handful of different trails. I had to use AllTrails quite often to make sure I was going the right way and to find ways around closed or overgrown trails. Ultimately it ended up being over a 4 mile hike. Also, it's not very visually stimulating. There are some nice, small stream crossings but that's about it.

Enjoyable, moderately challenging walk. Trail is overgrown in some soots and there are a lot of unofficialMTB trails that are offshoots of this making the trail hard to follow in many spots.

TRAIL CLOSURES: - At this time, the Grist Mill Trail and any trail that leads to it is CLOSED. The Grist Mill Trail was heavily damaged due to many floods this year. - The Upper Glen Artney area is all open . The inner and outer Soapstone Trails are ALL OPEN. - All of the Santee Branch Trail is OPEN from the fire road all the way to Hilltop Rd. - It's the only trail OPEN in the Hilton tire park area. The Vineyard, Backside of Nun's, Nun Run Trails have now been closed off with a wooden fence. CLOSED for the rest of the year !!

TRAIL CLOSURES: - At this time ANY TRAILS that leads to or connects with the Grist Mill Trail are CLOSED. - All of the Soapstone Trail Loops are OPEN. - Bull Run Loop is OPEN. - The Bike Jumper Trail is OPEN and connects to the Santee Branch Trail. - The entire Santee Branch Trail has been OPEN from the fire road all the way to Hilltop Rd. - It's the only trail OPEN in the Hilton tire park area.

** MESSAGE REGARDING CLOSURES **: The Soapstone Trail heading up to S. Rolling Rd. is OPEN but there are detours which places you on the new Star Struck trail. The Inner Soapstone is CLOSED. The Vineyard Trail is CLOSED.
The Santee Branch trail is OPEN but you have to access it via the Bike Jumper from the top end of Bull Run Trail. These three trails are the only ones OPEN on the Glen Artney side of the park which is the Baltimore County side. The Lost Lake parking lot and Grist Mill trail have been totally damaged from all the recent floods.
Your best option is to enjoy the Howard County side of the Park. When entering Avalon section turn left towards the Playground. Plenty of trails on this side. I have trail maps I created if you need help. baltoken@yahoo.com

The Santee Branch trail is a very well maintained trail which is great for Trail running, Hiking or Biking, This trail was considered as the main thru trail of the Patapsco Valley State Park. The trail is blazed in ( WHITE ) just like the Appalachian Trail (AT). There are multiple access points to this long trail. At this time, all trails breaking off of the main Santee Branch trail leading to the Grist Mill Trail are CLOSED so you can't do a loop.
The Original thru trail is 22 miles long one way. This section of the trail can be accessed from Glen Artney by the fire road or from Bull Run, The College loop, Hilton Park area. and at the top of the Hilltop parking lot. The section north of S. Hilltop Rd. is not well maintained as the lower section.

This trail is currently closed until further notice.

This is one of my fave Patapsco trails. It’s nice taking the Sawmill part under the train tracks and heading over to the water, but there’s always a lot of kind of gross people like swimming in the water when it’s warm out. I love going up the Buzzards portion of the trail because it’s straight uphill and a sick glute workout. I would not take my dogs on the Buzzards hill... but they are pugs and puggles. Buzzards has a few nice rock cliff situations that you can stop and have a snack on. I find this trail to be very lightly trafficked.

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS:
The Glen Artney road up to the main trailhead of the Soapstone is NOW OPEN. The Pond area and the Grist Mill trail is shot and will be CLOSED for the rest of the summer. The stream at the Soapstone Trailhead is now about 30 feet wide. Stones have been put in place for you to cross. This section will be very bad if it's raining. There are many DETOURS on the trail right now. Due to storm damage the main section of trails is CLOSED. You now have to hike up the Alt. Soapstone ( Star Struck ) which is on the right side. The trails is in great condition but it is steeper then the original. Not very wide so beware of bikes. At the top of S. Rolling Rd. the main trail has a lot of washed out. It's CLOSED. Right now you have to return the same way you went up. Caution tape ever where !! I crossed the tape on the bypass trail and it was fine. Not sure why it was blocked off. Bull Run is OPEN but all trails connecting to the Grist Mill are CLOSED.

PS. All the INNER Soapstone trails around the restroom and Glen Artney are CLOSED.

hiking
2 months ago

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS:
The Glen Artney road up to the main trailhead of the Soapstone is NOW OPEN. The Pond area and the Grist Mill trail is shot and will be CLOSED for the rest of the summer. The stream at the Soapstone Trailhead is now about 30 feet wide. Stones have been put in place for you to cross. This section will be very bad if it's raining. There are many DETOURS on the trail right now. Due to storm damage the main section of trails is CLOSED. You now have to hike up the Alt. Soapstone ( Star Struck ) which is on the right side. The trails is in great condition but it is steeper then the original. Not very wide so beware of bikes. At the top of S. Rolling Rd. the main trail has a lot of washed out. It's CLOSED. Right now you have to return the same way you went up. Caution tape ever where !! I crossed the tape on the bypass trail and it was fine. Not sure why it was blocked off. Bull Run is OPEN but all trails connecting to the Grist Mill are CLOSED.

PS. All the INNER Soapstone trails around the restroom and Glen Artney are CLOSED.

hiking
2 months ago

Took the family on this hike and we enjoyed it. We never saw the cover photo, however, we were able to cross a nice stream a few times. Some of the trail were a bit overgrown and not well marked. After the field we followed the well worn footpath back to our starting point. We crossed a few hikers on there way out towards the field who said their path overgrown as well. All in all a good 3 mile hike.

I give it four because part of the trail was closed off and that was not known. They had signs at the beginning of the trail telling you to follow only the soapstone trail but then had the rest of the trail was cut off. So we ended up talking the bull road trail and trying to reconnect with the soapstone trail to end back up at he car . It was an mission. A fun one but not for beginners. We was deep in the woods and the trail was definitely overgrown. It was thorn bushes everywhere but me and my sister had fun exploring and we had an gps. It was all up hill and very windy. Definitely would do this wild trail again but do not go out in those woods without an gps!

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS: Most of the Baltimore County side including The main Grist Mill trail is CLOSED. The Soapstone trail is NOW OPEN. The entire Lost Lake Pond area is blocked off. Grist Mill trail will be CLOSED for the rest of the summer. Your best option is to hike on the Howard County side of the park. Turn LEFT at the split. All trails on the Howard County side of the Park are OPEN. When entering, turn left toward the Playground. Across from the Playground parking lot is a NEW TRAIL. The Extension is The RIdge Trail. The road is OPEN up to the Swinging Bridge. ** If you need a special map I created it could help you learn the Howard County side or the entire Avalon area.. ** baltoken @ yahoo.com ( Ken )
PS: Go early or you are not getting in. Over Crowded. Only two rental pavilions are open and they need parking for them first.

Part of this trail is closed due to construction along the river. Ended up turning back and taking a different trail to complete a shorter loop.

MESSAGE ALERT TRAIL CLOSED: - 8/17/2018 - If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, All trails on the ( LEFT) Howard County side of the Park are OPEN. A few trails on the Balto. Co. side are now OPEN. The parking lot at the Lost Lake Pond is trashed from storm damage. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney loop is now OPEN to vehicles The Santee Branch trail and the Soapstone trail up to S. Rolling Rd. are OPEN. Bull Run and Bike Jumper trails are OPEN.

road biking
3 months ago

It’s a nice short ride. Perfect for after work before you catch the sun before it sets. Nice scenery riding along the lake and some historic ruins to pass by and swinging bridge.

A little tough to start, but once you go up the first incline it turns into an awesome trail. There is a lot of graffiti on the rocks at the overlook, it is close to an access point but the view is lovely. Right now they are removing the damn so you can hear the construction off and on as you hike. We live near by so we will definitely so this trail again.

One of the most enjoyable features of the Glen Artney area of the Patapsco is the many ways you can hike the trails here. You simply decide where you wish to park then work your loop from there. No need to just hike a boring out and back trail. There are so many connectors that you have the ability to hike a long track or cut it short. I am a local senior hiker and here weekly. Within this one area you can hike one mile or seven and loop back from where you started by simply using the Grist Mill trail if needed. If you want a custom map of the Avalon, Orange Grove, Glen Artney, Hilltop and Hilton areas contact Ken: baltoken@yahoo.com

Fun tunnel and then climb buzzards rock which for me was a challenge as I am not in good hiking condition! Great view of damn at top!

This was a good loop with good variety in trail type. A couple water crossings were a bit more challenging than anticipated. But there were a lot of smaller trails that went off in different directions and weren’t on the map so sometimes staying on the trail we wanted was challenging. Be sure to watch out for bicycles, a couple came up on us fast with minimal warning.

hiking
5 months ago

This is a good hike, nothing spectacular. You get some pretty good views of a babbling brook, otherwise not much visual stimulation.

A few notes: one. This is NOT “Soapstone trail”! You are only on soapstone for about 1/3 of the overall time, you cross over Santee Branch, Bull Run, and others. So, the title is very misleading. If you stay on Soapstone, this would be a different hike all together.

***Also, I used 3 different apps and clocked this at average of 3.2 miles with elevation gain 530 feet

Excellent trail, with easy access.

hiking
6 months ago

Good loop on a beautiful afternoon. Views of the river with the sparkling sun were photo worthy.
The mill race was interesting to see. Next time I think I will go down stream to the mill. Saw hikers, runners, and a couple of bikers. It was not crowded. Trail in good shape.

hiking
6 months ago

We took the Patapsco-Thru Trail north to Route-40 Bridge, went under the bridge, connected with Pickall Trail, stayed along the Patasco River the whole time, then went under the I-70 Bridge, until reached the Hollifield Road Bridge. 4.1 miles long each way. The trail is easy to follow and fairly leveled. 1/3 mile of the trail south of Route-40 is on a paved road (Oella Ave). It took us 3 hours to complete the 8.2-mile out&back hike.

Hiked in dusting of snow with medium pack and micro spikes (not really needed but the description of this route was severe). Several frozen creek crossings. Very nice hike but this is NOT AT ALL DIFFICULT. This trail is easy to moderate at worst. Not sure where the description above came from. There have been changes to this trail over the years - perhaps this description was of an older version that was much more difficult.

The purple blazes were well marked. Because the route was much easier than expected, I also took the advice of another post and added Bull Run trail which branches off left as a yellow blaze about half way down the Sandstone outbound leg. That leg was great but beware marking issues at extreme northwest end.

Great hike. The falls were frozen.

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