Explore the most popular trails near Ellicott City with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.




nature trips

trail running


Ellicott City, Maryland Map

A nice walking trail if you want to get out for a stroll

Beautiful lake, very kind friendly

Flat hike not difficult. Beautiful scenery in the fall. Parking terrible on the weekend. Go during a weekday.

Very enjoyable day now that the heat wave is gone. Normally I see deer here but this was the first time I didn't see any. I did get to see a Downy Woodpecker, some Cardinals and lots of Canadian Geese. I started out with a sweatshirt and then I got hot. Hard dressing for the fall weather. The Fall Colors are kicking in gear. The Reds are now starting to pop.

3 months ago

My first trail on my journey and didn't regret it at all. Lot's of people doing varied activities and a friendly atmosphere.

If you are a First Time hiker I would recommend you stay on the north-side of Route 40. The trail on that side are nice and easy with only ups and downs. I would go the direction of the Peaceful Pond Trail first then head DOWN the Old Ranger BLUE trail and around the large BLUE loop of the Ole Ranger trail back to the Park gate parking lot by the playground. The trails on the South-side of Route 40 are very rocky with heavy terrain and lots of roots. I recommend hiking boot and trekking pole when hiking this side. The River Ridge trail off the campground road is a rock hop all the way down to the tracks. When you get to the tracks turn left and go towards the Union Dam train tunnel. The trail to the right of the tunnel takes you to the stream and will lead you to the Union Dam trail at the viewing platform. This trail will lead you back to the parking lot.

3 months ago

With the return of the Heat and Humidity it's back to hiking early in the morning or late in the evening. It's becoming hard to beat the heat so I recommend a dip in the stream if you need to cool off. With the parks closing at 7:25 PM. your evening trip is becoming limited because you are still hiking in the heat. I think they should open the park gates earlier this time of year. Opening at 9:00 AM. makes no sense because after two or three hours you will be frying. This is probably another reason why many people prefer to park outside the gates or simply hike a different area like Daniel's instead. Seniors like me have all the time in the world but people getting off work are screwed. Now they will have to make up the time on weekends.

Awesome trail.

Rachael, Just this year the DNR has been blocking off the parking here and down at Ilchester Rd. because the Hispanic people are invading the park. They are using the dams as water slides and having cookouts. They are leaving trash everywhere and the State is sick of it. They are parking in these areas because it's FREE. The State is now trying to force them inside the park so that they have to pay 3 dollars a head on Weekends. Regarding the Trails here. As a Pro member, start using the OCM layer to the maps. It shows ALL the trails other people don't see. The River trail is the main run but there are three great trails that brake off of it. The best trail is the backside trail up to the Top Ridge which is a Boulder Rock Scramble. When I do one side I hike 3 miles but you also have all the Church Loops on the opposite side of Daniels Rd. which can add 2 more miles.

The parking here for one is a joke. So much trail and acreage here I'm astounded there's not more space available for parking. Is there a secret parking lot?? Anyway, there's no markers whatsoever for Mcdaniels which is fine if you're using the app and most of the trail is just along the river anyway. Some of the little loops weren't obviously marked. We literally had to stand looking at the map on the app walking step by step and look down to see where the trail picked up. Sort of odd. The trail is nice. It's quiet here.

4 months ago

Not sure about the easy rating. Someone like myself who is out of shape found the hill back up a little tough. I may have come back up on a different trail though. Lol. Cool trail though. Water is awesome and the railroad tracks are cool.

Trail is solid and allows for access to see several types of terrain and very few other hikers on the trail.

There is one spot where markings for the trail under the power lines could be better. I wound up on a small adventure on an unnamed trail which led under the freeway and most of the way to Ellicott City.

It's a gem off the beaten path. I found it on accident while exploring old town Ellicott City. It was raining and still a pleasant hike thanks to the tree cover. Turns out a friend's parents live right off the trail and they recommended checking it out in the fall.

Great place for jogging,walking and fishing,etc.

Great trail for the area!

5 months ago

Nice trail once you find it since the trailhead is not well marked. Need to go up staircase from parking lot off Ouella Ave.

I have now hiked this area many different ways and it's only getting better. As I look at other hikers recordings I see that everybody is missing the High Ridge. As you hike the stream section you have two options. One is the stone trail and the other is the sandy trail. If you stay on the sandy trail to long you may miss the best of all. Pro members need to load the OCM layer to see the additional trail. Watch for a quick switchback to go up to the top of the ridge. Don't cross the feeder stream. Stay on the left side. When you go up top simply go straight across the top of the ridge and rock hop the complete ridge top. Don't turn on the Switch plate trail. My last recording was a bit short on the ridge due to heavy rain. Had to hike sideways with trekking poles to get down. The Switch plate trail is easy because it's way below the ridge

5 months ago

very short, but fun :)

5 months ago

Beautiful easy walk around the lake. Plenty of room for walkers, joggers, strollers, people with dogs. The only problem was today I was pushing my husband in the wheelchair, so a few of the hills were pretty tough. ALSO...they need to have a porta-potty somewhere on the trail. Half-way, maybe??

nothing really stood out, nothing to see, traffic noise, absence of nature... What a dud

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