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.

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.

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
1 day 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
4 days 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 but you have to hike up the park road to get to the Trailhead. The only lot to park on is a small lot right before the Lost Lake Pond. The entire area is blocked off for traffic. 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. The Swinging Bridge is CLOSED. ** 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
3 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
7 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
8 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
8 months ago

Excellent views of plant life and wildlife.

hiking
9 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.

10 months ago

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
11 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
11 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

hiking
11 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.

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

on Soapstone Trail

hiking
Thursday, June 01, 2017

This one was a workout! Definitely a "moderate" rated hike, not really a stroll through the woods. Lots of up and downs, rooted trails, cross creeks, and variations of terrain. On this Thursday I passed maybe six or seven folks throughout the whole loop during the four o'clock hour. Trails were a bit muddy in spots, two days after a rain. Sneakers were not the correct shoes to navigate through the mud; I was slipping quite a bit out there. I had to constantly watch the map on my phone, as the trail markings were not obvious in some spots. There were a lot of intersections that were not marked, so you either had to guess and backtrack, or check the map on the phone. Keep this in mind on your journey. The falls pictured on this trail's description are not seen on this loop, not sure where they are in this park.

hiking
Saturday, May 27, 2017

A few parts of this loop were closed and/or overgrown. Several crossings are not well marked so we ended up doing a lot of backtracking. Ran into a few other hikers with the same problem. Would be a 4 star hike with better trail maintenance.

can always go off the trail to make things more technical ;p

Nice trail!

backpacking
Saturday, April 01, 2017

This trail was ok. A few views, if your going to the falls pay attention to the blaze changes. It's real easy to start walking down a different path.

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