Join Us for 8 Miles in Patapsco State Park! An Easy Side of Moderate Trek in the Both The Hilton and Orange Grove Areas of the Park With Lunch On the Trail!
A surprisingly rugged and remote descent into a wooded stream valley to the Patapsco River! The trail provides access to a pristine stream valley, with serene pools and small cascading waterfalls. The valley is decorated with ferns and some sections of mountain laurel. The stream valley canyon is narrow and sometimes dark. The Patapsco River flows through a piedmont stream valley with steep-sided walls. The river descends in elevation through a series of bouldery rapids through hard, erosion-resistant mica schist rock. Near the river’s edge, sycamores, box elder and other floodplain tree species predominate. The vegetation in the floodplain is constantly regrowing and can appear somewhat disturbed due to the river frequently flooding its banks. The steep-sided hills of the river valley are wooded with upland hardwood species including American Beech, tulip poplar, elm, oaks, hickory and ash in the canopy. Mountain laurel, dogwood, witch hazel, spicebush, paw paw and other shrubs comprise the understory. Numerous migratory songbirds and waterfowl frequent the river, the Sawmill Branch stream valley and its riparian habitat. Look for Belted Kingfishers and Great-blue Heron, two common avian species in the riverine habitat. Rainbow and Brown Trout are stocked in the river in the spring, but the higher water temperatures do not sustain them year-round. The rocky nature of part of this hike discourages many from hiking here, creating a pristine environment.
Note: Please remember to pack a lunch to eat on the trail as there will be a lunch stop on this hike!
There is one leader for this hike and the pace for this hike will be about 2.5 mph (pace of an average hiker). Don't hesitate to contact the hike leader at the number at the bottom of the listing to help you make an informed decision about whether this is a good hike for you and fits into your abilities as well as preferences..
Nearby City: Baltimore
Length: 7 total miles
Elev. Gain: 1100 ft.
Highlights: Bloedes Dam, Buzzard Rock, Cascade Falls, Both the Older and Brand New Swinging Bridges, Fish Ladder, and a great group of hikers for tons of fun on the trail!
Trail Type: Modified Loop
Skill Level: Easy Side of Moderate
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park Hilton Area
Note: This hike is not from a book. It was organized and planned by our leadership team member, Keith, who will also be leading this trek. He puts together the best hikes in Patapsco since he knows it so well, is a lot of fun to hike with, and every hike is unique and you will learn some interesting history and facts along the way!
We hike rain or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for the trailhead
There are 3 carpools for this hike!
Laurel Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the DC/Laurel metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
Annapolis Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Annapolis area, meetup at the Harbour Center Mall Starbucks. Click here for Annapolis carpool directions for getting to the carpool location.
VA East Area Carpool (Fairfax Area METRO)
People can also arrange to meet at the Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station. Click here for directions to Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station.
If you can drive or want to carpool from any locations such as the DC area, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click here for suggested carpool locations complete with directions. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to Trailhead
Click here for directions to the trailhead
Hike Meetup Time is at 10:00 a.m. Please allow extra travel time if you're not familiar with the trailhead location so we can leave on time.
Carpool meetup time at Savage Station and Ride is 9:30 a.m.
Time for carpooling from Vienna METRO is 9:00 a.m.
Carpool Time for Annapolis Area is 9:15 a.m.
The park has a 2.00 dollar entrance fee payable by the honor system at the gate entrance unless you have a Maryland State Park Pass.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which means that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then please find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
A Leashed Fido Is Welcome On This Hike!
Let's have good times and see you on the trail...
PLEASE take the leaders phone number with you in case you have any difficulty locating our group...