Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

This trail has the classic, pretty woodsy look throughout Patapsco park. The only reason I wouldn’t give it more stars is because we had to go off this map and follow a different trail back. The section on the map that says “overgrown” yeah... they mean that, it’s not just a trail name :p So unless you want a hair full of spiders or some ticks to hitch a ride on you, I’d avoid this trail or go but prepare to detour when you hit the stretch on the map that says “overgrown”

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.

hiking
1 month 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.

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 !!

hiking
2 months ago

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.

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
3 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
3 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.

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.

hiking
6 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.

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
10 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
11 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
11 months ago

Excellent views of plant life and wildlife.

hiking
Saturday, September 30, 2017

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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

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
Sunday, August 06, 2017

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
Saturday, August 05, 2017

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

hiking
Thursday, July 27, 2017

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.

Nice trail with exceptional views, a couple stream crossings, and the quiet of the woods. The waterfall was quite nice. Note: if hiking in season, there will be a lot of families the closer you are to the water. I'd love to come back here with my bicycle :)

hiking
Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nice scenery and very polite people there.

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

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