Holiday Weekend Hike in Patapsco Valley State Park — Featuring the Hilton and Orange Grove Areas! A Moderate 7-Mile Hike With Optional Post Hike Biker Bar Lunch
This hike is not from a book or website! It was scouted out and planned by Keith, a member of the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups outstanding volunteer leadership team. Every hike is unique, and you will learn some interesting history and facts along the way — a huge shout out to Keith!
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 quiet 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, pawpaw 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.
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
Hours of Operations: 9 a.m. to Sunset
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park
State residents $2/vehicle, out-of-state residents $4/vehicle
Weekdays: state residents $2/vehicle, out-of-state residents $4/vehicle Weekends: state residents $3/person, out-of-state residents $5/person
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and locations are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the Comments section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
Annapolis Area Carpool Suggestion - Starbucks
To carpool or caravan from the Annapolis area, people can arrange to meet at the Harbour Center Mall Starbucks. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Annapolis area carpool location.
(Metro) VA East Area Carpool Suggestion - Vienna/Fairfax Area METRO Station
To carpool or caravan from Vienna/Fairfax area, people can arrange to meet at the Fairfax Area METRO Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations, each complete with a physical address, GPS coordinates, driving directions and additional carpool information. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment — by just offering a ride!
Optional Post Hike Meal and Camaraderie
There will be an optional lunch and libations at a group favorite — a local biker bar!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for this Hike
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 9:45-9:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 9:15 a.m.
Carpool Time from Vienna METRO — 8:30 a.m.
Carpool Time from Annapolis Area — 9:00 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. Tax ID: [masked].
A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Serving our Mission.
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: Holiday & holiday weekend events are non-refundable & non-transferable. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG info or the 'Pages' tab. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization & donations (not fees) ARE Tax Deductible-Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.