Thur Day Hike: Patapsco State Park: Hilton-Glen Artney : Mod 5 or 8 Mi (03-13)

  • March 13, 2014 · 9:30 AM
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Patapsco State Park: A Moderate 5 or 8 Miles in the Hilton  and Glen Artney Sections with Optional Post-Hike Refueling

Active Seniors Welcome!

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 the trail discourages many from hiking here, creating a pristine environment.  The longest hill on this trek is about 300’ over about a half mile or so.

Trail Information
Nearby City: Baltimore
Length: 8 total miles with an easy bailout at 5.5 miles
Elev. Gain: 1200 ft. or 850 ft at the 5.5 mile bailout
Trail Type: Double loop
Skill Level:  Moderate
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park Glen Artney and Hilton Areas

Weather Information
We hike rain or shine! Click here for up to the minute weather information for the trail head.

Carpool Information
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 additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. 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 Where We Meet for his Hike








Hike Step-Off Time is at 9:30 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Savage Station and Ride is 9:00 a.m.

Time for carpooling Vienna METRO is 8:30 a.m.

Carpool Time for Annapolis Area is 8:45 a.m.

Park Fee

The park has a 3.00 dollar entrance fee.

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 helps ensure 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.

Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido Is Welcome On This Hike!

Keith K:[masked]

Join or login to comment.

  • Jean

    This was a new trail for me. It amazes me how big Patapsco is. Thanks Keith for your guidance. Cold was felt to the bones.

    1 · March 13, 2014

  • Keith K

    It was indeed brisk today, especially on hilltops. Even the valleys were on the cool side because of the combined low temperatures and wind. Still, we had a good hike with lots of varied scenery. We did just short of 8 miles at an average speed of 2.7 mph. My GPS says we did about 2000' up (and down) but that seems a bit high to me. I have more faith in GPS distance measurement than altitude changes. Altitude changes are estimated from differences in atmospheric pressure and the wind may have led to errors. Thanks, all, for a great day.

    1 · March 13, 2014

  • Dong L.

    turns out to be too early to put away winter gear.

    March 13, 2014

  • Kari

    Great hike, nice people. Thanks all, I had a good time. Wish it were a bit warmer :)

    March 13, 2014

  • KathleenW

    Hike was great, but oh so colddddddd!!! Wind chill said it felt like 7 F, but I say it felt like ZERO!!!! Kudos to Keith, Gary and Kari for doing the whole 8!

    March 13, 2014

  • Steve C.

    Can't make it today Keith, still recovering from an illness from earlier in the week.

    March 13, 2014

  • Kari

    I can provide carpool from the Eisenhower Metro Station in Alexandria, VA if anyone needs a ride.

    1 · March 12, 2014

  • Betsy L.

    Really want to go, but have a conflict. Hope there's another one soon -- Keith?

    1 · March 9, 2014

    • Evie

      Betsy, Hope we can meet again sometime soon. I haven't seen you since before your Morocco trip.

      March 11, 2014

9 went

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