A Special "Something for Everyone" Holiday Hike in Patapsco State Park! Featuring the Swinging Bridge, Cascade Falls, and Bloedes Dam! Your Choice of Hike Distances -- Ranging from a Newbie/Very Easy 2 Miles Up to 8.5 Moderate Miles
We Call This a"Something for Everyone" Hike Because You Can Choose from Several Distance and Difficulty Options for a Customized Hike!
See waterfalls, rivers, streams, upland forest, historic structures, and entire herds of deer in our groups customized hike. This is a fantastic social hike with a distance and difficulty for everyone since we have so many options in one hike without backtracking at all!
If you pause during your trek through the forest, you are likely to see rabbits, gray squirrels, beavers, white-tailed deer and red fox. Listen for the beautiful songs of warblers or the whistle of a red-tailed hawk soaring overhead. Along the banks of the river, bird watchers will spot Canada geese, green herons, kingfishers, mallards and wood ducks year-round. Although rarely seen, screech owls, barred owls, great-horned owls, kestrels and wild turkeys also inhabit the forest.
Orange Grove is one of the most scenic areas of Patapsco, once the home of the village of Orange Grove, a mill town that supported the flour mill on the Baltimore County side of the river. A swinging bridge similar to the one that spanned the river in the 1800’s and early 1900’s crosses the river today connecting guests to the Grist Mill Trail, which we will be on for about a mile during the first leg of our hike.
A short walk on a path after the swinging bridge for the second leg follows along the river to the site of Bloedes Dam. Bloedes Dam was an engineering feat of the 20th century. It is the first hydroelectric dam in the U.S. where the turbines were located inside the hollow core of the dam. Today, this dam no longer generates electricity, and its interior turbines have been removed.
Distance Options and Descriptions
Distance Option 1: The first leg of today's hike begins with a trek on a 'parts paved and parts natural' surface trails (2.5 newbie friendly/very easy miles) and explores the hidden pond in the Avalon area, the famous swinging bridge, and fascinating ruins.
Distance Option 2: The second leg is on a paved path (additional 1.25 newbie friendly/very easy, flat miles) and takes us out to the world's first internally housed hydroelectric dam, *Bloedes Dam for a total hiking distance of 3.75 if you end your hike after completing this leg.
*Bloedes Dam is scheduled to be demolished. If you have yet to see it, now is the time.
Distance Option 3: The third leg (0.5 moderate miles) is out and back on packed dirt, hilly, and rocky path leading up to Cascade Falls and is not to miss! Completing this leg will bring your total hiking mileage for today's hike to 4.25 miles.
Distance Option 4: Ready to explore beyond the falls? Join us for the fourth and final leg (3.25 very moderate miles -- ending near where our cars are parked) of our hike. This portion is a combination of several different trails and includes several minor stream crossings (very shallow, have stepping stones, and during winter they tend to dry up).
This brings our total distance for today's excursion to 8.5 miles if you complete all four legs of this hike!
Length: Varies as described above but[masked] with three bailouts.
Trail Type: Modified Loop
Skill Level: Varies from Very Easy, paved and flat to Moderate only due to length and some rolling hills on rocky terrain.
Duration: Options ranging from 1 to about 4 hours depending on your options
Trailhead Elev: Options range from 20 feet to 300 feet based on your choices.
November-March: 7 Days Per Week: $2/vehicle for in-state and $4/vehicle out-of-state residents
Weekdays: $2/vehicle for in-state and $4/vehicle for out-of-state residents.
Weekends: $3/person in-state and $5/person for out out-of-state residents.
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 any particular location, please post your offer to help those in need of a ride, and those looking for a ride, 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!
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 — 9:30 a.m.
Carpool Time from Vienna METRO — 9:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Annapolis Area — 9:15 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.