Explore the most popular birding 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.

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.

I have hiked this loop many times. As the park becomes more and more crowded as the weather gets hotter you may want optional sections to park your car. The Santee, Branch and Nunnery trails are not as crowded as many of the others. If we get a hard rain the Santee can get muddy in spots. Today it was super warm out and this old senior started sweating. Be sure to start carrying plenty of water. If you hike with a backpack as I do, it's time to change over to a pack that doesn't lay on you back. Use a frame pack that has air flow behind it. You can also wet your bandana in the stream to cool you off.

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!

hiking
1 month 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.

With the weather getting nicer, the park is becoming a bit more crowded. When the park gets crowded the bulk of the people are always on the Howard County side of the park. The Swinging Bridge and Playground areas get packed. That's when I park up in the Glen Artney section. You drive thru the tunnel at the lost lake pond and go up the hill. At your first left, drive up and around the loop. When you see the Santee Branch trail sign pull into the parking lot and you will also see a trailhead at the fire road. This places you in a area that is rarely used. The Santee trail was a mud hole today most likely because of the recent snow melting but the Nunnery and Vineyard trails were dry as a bone.

hiking
2 months ago

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

Nice day out but it was windy. Before hiking I fished the Lost Lake Pond for 4 hours. The DNR stock 250 trout in the pond. It was quite crowded with a bunch of us old timers. I caught 1 but other people were having better luck then me. After fishing it was time for a hike. The Soapstone trail is always muddy in many sections. It's a heavy used trail by bikers and when they cross the many feeders they are spreading the mud. The New Overgrown section and Bull Run was in fine shape. Restrooms at the Soapstone trailhead in the park is closed during the winter. You have a Spot-A-Pot at the Pond. Need a great trail map I created: email me.. baltoken@yahoo.com

hiking
2 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
2 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.

hiking
5 months ago

not bad. was a bit boring for the kids

Fun trail. It got a little confusing because it wasn't marked as good as I would have expected so I ended up hiking a little extra. Beautiful trail though!

backpacking
6 months ago

Not a bad trail.

What a great, beautiful trail. As other reviewers have pointed out, you can shorten this hike by parking at the start of the loop portion. We went on a rainy/misty day and it was still beautiful. Moderately trafficked, gorgeous trees in all directions as far as the eye could see. We would definitely hike this one again.

walking
6 months ago

Excellent views of plant life and wildlife.

Love doing this trail! I have been twice now. Both times with a dog and once with a baby. Great trail paved and with awesome views and experiences!

hiking
7 months ago

Neat, easy little build-your-own-hike area. The old ghost town remnants are especially cool, as is the bridge area. Moderately crowded.

Beautiful. Challenging. Fun. Fantastic trail and so peaceful. Try the Bull Run Trail for steep elevation to mix it up a bit.

8 months ago

Nice place to jog

walking
8 months ago

Beautiful paved trail that runs pararell to train tracks still in use. Very nice ruins to see, an old dam and two really fun suspension bridges to cross

hiking
9 months ago

My friend and I started our hike at the Lost Lake parking lot. We started out on Grist Mill Trail. This trail was entirely paved (which was a little boring), but along the way, we spotted little viewing spots of the Patapsco River, tunnels underneath the train tracks, and even a few little tunnel-like passages that while I wouldn't recommend going into, were fascinating to see. At the swinging bridge off of Grist Mill, we crossed onto the Cascade Trail, which was much more rugged. It crossed streams and waterfalls many times and had lots of opportunities to explore the surrounding areas. This hike was only about 5 or 6 miles long but one of my favorites so far.

There is no "Sandstone" Trail. There is a "Soapstone" Trail. It looks like "Sandstone" consists of Soapstone to Santee to Nunnery to Grist Mill. Where Soapstone first connects at park road, you should turn right, not left. We went left and had to double back. Where Santee meets Vineyard, we took Vineyard to Grist Mill due to lack of time. Vineyard bisects the "Sandstone" loop, more or less. Nice hike, beautiful green scenery, tall, mature, majestic trees. Path single file at times, mainly shaded. Start at Soapstone is steep; rest that we hiked was flat, slight incline, or downhill. If you drive into park, it's $3 per person in car. Some easy stream crossings. Need to pay attention to tree roots and rocks in some trail stretches.

mountain biking
9 months ago

Loved it for biking. I took a 5 and 7 year old on their bikes and it was a bit too challenging for them yet, however I enjoyed it immensely on the mountain bike. For hiking it's great for kids.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a moderate trail with hard aspects. Following the tracks of the course, I found it to be not well marked. I prefer moderates and hards that are well marked because they become extensively harder by trying to stay on course when they are not well marked. Such is the case of this trail. Patapsco State Park is considerably large with many cross linking trails, and some are much better marked than others. The upside is that this course is less than three miles long. Going 7 miles or longer on a poorly marked trail can be taxing when there are cross links. This course is runnable, but I suggest walking or hiking first to learn the proper turns. It was a good outing, but bothersome in having to stop, reverse, or go back to stay on course. 3.5 Stars

Easy scenic walk with beautiful views of the river on a wide, flat, paved trail.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice hike.

Pleasant stroll with lots of shade. Some nice views of the river and some historic ruins. The vertical gain may be a bit overstated.

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