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Patapsco Valley State Park: McKeldin Area: Switchback Trail! A Moderate Hike

  • Mar 10, 2013 · 9:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Patapsco Valley State Park: McKeldin Area: Switchback Trail: A Moderate 4 Mile Trek!

"Starting from the swift rapids of the South Branch, to the confluence of the North and South Branches and beyond, this hike follows the mood of the Patapsco River—sometimes lively, sometimes lazy. About two-thirds of the hike comes into very close contact with the river. The return is a woodland walk through a narrow hollow favored by white-tailed deer. Thanks to the topography of the area, it is possible to find solitude any time of year. The rolling landscape and cliffs provide a buffer that allows for quiet enjoyment of the stream valley." Portions from "Hiking Maryland and Delaware", second edition.

The Switchback trail begins by the contact station at the top of the hill near the entrance to the park. We will enjoy this beautiful, riverside trail for the full 4 miles. The northern part of this trail is foot-use-only. During late fall and winter, enjoy a scenic view at the Liberty Dam Overlook located at the end of the trail.

Hike Pace
This hike will be led at a moderate pace which is that of the average hiker. About 2.5 mph.

Trail Information

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Baltimore
Length: 4-5 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop

Skill Level: Moderate

Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park McKeldin Area
Local Maps:USGS Ellicott City, Maryland

Weather Information

We hike rain or shine.  Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.

Carpool Information
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 the Trailhead

Click Here for where to meet for this hike.

Hike Meetup time is at 9:30 a.m.

Park Fee

Monday through Friday: $2 per vehicle in-state; $4 per vehicle out-of-state. Weekends and Holidays: $3 per person in-state, $5 per person out-of-state. Admitted Free: Senior citizens 62 and older with the Golden Age Pass, people with the Access Maryland State Park Pass for persons with disabilities, members of the Maryland National Guard & all active duty military personnel who display their active military identification card.

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 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.

Fido Is Welcome on This Hike!

Please take the hike leaders number with you just in case!


Ken: [masked]


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  • NaomiAyala

    Hello, everybody. We're so sorry we missed you. Angelica and I got going late and miscalculated how long it would take us to get there. We went on and hiked but were sorry not to have been able to join you. Looking forward to meeting all of you soon.

    March 11, 2013

    • Ken S

      I'm glad that you were able to enjoy the great weather and get in a nicer hike that day. I hope to see you on another MAHG hike in the future.

      March 11, 2013

    • NaomiAyala

      Likewise. I'll be keeping an eye out for an upcoming hike I can make. Have an awesome day!

      March 11, 2013

  • Angelica

    although Naomi and I ran late, we were probably a few steps behind you all on the trail...and it was beautiful scenery, ..we also veered off toward the rapids trail (?) and the Medicine Trail for kicks. Before heading home, we stopped off at Beck's Pub in the little town of Sykesville, and got a brief history lesson from one of the local bikers about the first train in the U.S., from Baltimore to Ohio. Fun day!

    1 · March 11, 2013

  • Kathy H.

    This was my first hike with the group and I had a great time! So looking forward to my next hike!

    1 · March 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Best hike yet! I really enjoyed the exercise and all of the very nice ladies who were on this hike. Ken did a great job with his group. Ken prefaced this hike with a disclaimer that he gets winded, HA, he was a machine! Thanks Ken. This was an absolutely splendid kick start to my day.

    1 · March 10, 2013

  • Ken S

    Great weather, great hike, and great group of hikers. This was a good hike that gave us a good work out and some nice scenic views. I am looking forward to everyone joining us again on a future MAHG hike.

    1 · March 10, 2013

  • NaomiAyala

    Angelica and I are on our way.

    March 10, 2013

  • Vonni

    I don't feel up to to two hikes in one weekend yet. Sorry.

    March 9, 2013

  • Eileen

    I am sorry to miss this -- I've been called in to work.

    March 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll be driving from Bethesda.

    March 9, 2013

  • Kellie C.

    How to Move from the Wait list to a “Yes” - If you are on the wait list, you will get an e-mail as slots become available. It is a “first come first serve” system for available slots. Slots are open to everyone, whether on the wait list or not. However, being on the wait list will make certain that you are notified when open slots become available as well as letting me know to look for another leader if the trails (and parking) can accommodate it and still comply with our Leave No Trace pledge. Click the following link for how to get off the wait list and RSVP “yes”, Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance as that is what I am here for.

    March 8, 2013

20 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Patapsco Valley State Park: McKeldin Area: Switchback Trail! A Moderate Hike

Refunds offered if:

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

Additional notes: Refund if your RSVP is changed to a "no" prior to 48 hours of hike time.

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

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