Explore the most popular wild flowers 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: 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
8 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pretty crowded on a Saturday afternoon, especially near the swinging bridge, but overall a lovely, fairly easy hike.

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