Explore the most popular walking 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.

hiking
9 hours 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 was 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 toward the field who said their path had been too 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 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.

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS: 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
9 days ago

MESSAGE ALERT REGARDING TRAILS: 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.

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: If you drive into the Avalon section off of Washington Blvd. Beware, Only the Howard County side of the Park and trails are OPEN. When entering, turn left toward the Playground. The road is OPEN up to the Swinging Bridge. The road is blocked off at the Lost Lake Pond, the other way. The paved Grist Mill trail is pretty much gone. All the footbridge have washed away. The Glen Artney area is even worse. The stream and the parking lot at the Soapstone Trailhead is now a 8 foot deep trench. The Swinging Bridge is CLOSED. The Baltimore County side (trails) may end up being CLOSED all summer. ** If you need a special map I created it could help you learn the Howard County side. ** baltoken @ yahoo.com ( Ken )
PS: With only one side open. Go early or you are not getting in. Over Crowded and they stop cars from coming in. Two rental pavilions are open and they need parking for them first.

road biking
1 month 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.

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
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.

hiking
4 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
4 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
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.

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
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.

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

Nice place to jog

walking
10 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

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
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.

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