Holiday in Patapsco Valley SP: Swinging Bridge, Ruins, & Waterfall! 4 up to 9 Mi

Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group — A 501(c)(3) Charitable Org.
Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group — A 501(c)(3) Charitable Org.
Public group

PVSP: Dam Hike Series (1 of 9) Orange Grove Area with Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group! A “Something-for-Everyone" Easy 2 to 9 Miles

Directions: Click the link under “Directions to the Trailhead” located near the end of the event listing. The linked page has location/direction details, driving/parking info, including where to Meetup after you arrive. · , MD

How to find us

Use the link provided under the paragraph heading “Directions to the Trailhead” located near the bottom of the event posting. It provides important information such as directions to the event, where we Meetup after you arrive, and other helpful info.

Location image of event venue


Holiday Weekend: A Special "Something for Everyone" Hike in Patapsco Valley State Park! Featuring the Swinging Bridge, Cascade Falls, and Ruins! Your Choice of Distance -- Ranging from a Newbie/Very Easy 4 Miles Up to 9 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 2 miles 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 the former 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. The dam was removed in 2018.

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 (4 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 site of the world's first internally housed hydroelectric dam, Bloedes Dam (now removed), for a total hiking distance of 5.25 if you end your hike after completing this leg.

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 5.75 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 about 9.0 miles if you complete all four legs of this hike!

Trail Information

Length: Varies as described above but 4-9 miles 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.

Park Fee
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.

Gear Suggestions
Click Here ( for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.

Weather Information
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click Here ( to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.

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 ( 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!


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