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Patapsco Valley State Park: Hilton, Avalon, Orange Grove Areas: 10-13 Stren. Mi

  • Jun 22, 2014 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Patapsco State Park: Hilton, Orange Grove, Avalon, and Glen Artney Area:s A 10-13 Mile Easy Side of Strenuous Hike

 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: Ellicott City
Length: 13 total miles
Elev. Gain: 900 ft.
Trail Type: Circuit
Skill Level: Easy Side of Strenuous with three hills.
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park Hilton Area

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

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 This Hike

Meet and Greet: 9:15-9:30 a.m.

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.

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

Park Fee

The park has a 3.00 dollar entrance fee payable by the honor system at the gate entrance.

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.

A LEASHED Fido Is Welcome On This Hike!


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  • Kellie C.

    Thank you, Ted, for leading this hike. All the pics are fantastic and looks like everyone really had a great time. Thanks again!

    June 23, 2014

  • Christopher

    Thanks ted for a great experience. .

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • Kiki

    Thanks Ted for another excellent adventure! Thanks for leading!

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • KathleenW

    great day for a hike in PSP. Thanks Ted for leading!

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • Kristin

    Thanks so much, Ted, for bringing us together for another wonderful day on the trails!

    1 · June 23, 2014

  • PJ

    Beautiful day. Great group. Ted, thanks for organizing & leading.

    2 · June 22, 2014

  • Edwige

    Nice hike. Great group. Thanks Ted for leading.

    2 · June 22, 2014

  • Tracey

    Thanks Ted for leading. Fun hike with lots of nice people.

    2 · June 22, 2014

  • Emily

    If anyone needs a ride or wants passengers from dc let me know! Headjng there from eckington area and can pick people up from shaw or ny ave metros

    June 21, 2014

  • TINA W

    I think my hiking adventures must cease this summer until my body tells me otherwise. I miss everybody:(

    June 21, 2014

  • Melissa S.

    Will we be walking/hiking through water?

    June 21, 2014

  • Patricia

    Anyone interested in carpooling?

    June 18, 2014

    • Christopher

      Where you coming from?

      June 18, 2014

    • Patricia

      i live in Alexandria close to the Franconia Springfield Metro....

      June 19, 2014

  • Sam I. Y.

    Can I earn the "very strenuous hike pre-approval" on this hike?

    June 10, 2014

18 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Patapsco Valley State Park: Hilton, Avalon, Orange Grove Areas: 10-13 Stren. Mi

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 2 day(s) before the Meetup

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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