Patapsco Valley State park
Trail Conditions Forum Here
Eric Crawford, Patapsco@more-mtb.org
Patapsco Valley State Park is centered around the floodplain and valley slopes of the Patapsco River, an important tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. Patapsco Valley State park contains over 13,000 acres. The park is in the center of Maryland both from a geographic and population standpoint. As a result, the park is one of the most heavily visited in the State. Expect to see equestrians, hikers, runners and families out for casual walks. Please follow the rules of the trail, including yielding to uphill riders, yield to other users, stop and ask permission before passing equestrians and generally be friendly.
Patapsco Valley State Park offers a wide variety of trails for mountain bikers with an estimated 35 miles of trails open to bikes. You can ride smooth and twisty or open rocky sections. Stream crossings, log rides and some nice root sections are intermingled in some well-used fast singletrack and wider trails. Quite a lot of the trails on the Park n Ride (north) side of the park from the Patapsco River are steep with a high degree of technical challenge, especially in the Hilton Area above Bloedes Dam. Most of the Trail on the Landing Road (south) side of the river is rolling with some climbs that are steep by anyone’s standards. Notable exceptions are the north side of the Cascade Trail with some short, steep up and down horseshoe trails (up the ridge, along the ridge, back down to the Cascade trail). Many of the logs in Patapsco are well ramped and some are optional with obvious alternatives. There are numerous stream crossings, some deep but few that are challenging.
It's relatively easy to get lost in the network of trails in the different park areas, despite the increase of large signs and consistent and excellent blazing. Pick up a map at the park’s main entrance off of Route 1 or order one from http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/trailguides.html
. The maps are recent and made of water and tear resistant paper. If you plan on attacking the park without a map, use the following reference points while you ride: swinging bridge, Landing Road, Park n Ride, railroad tracks, Belmont, pipes, paved trail, 2 sets of facilities, pavilions, Hilton Area parking lot, water tower, repelling wall, UBMC and the steep fire road climb. Trying to find all of these will lead you to most of the trails in the park.
Directions to Main Entrance (fee area)
From I-95 take exit for Rolling Road 166/I195 BWI towards BWI. Exit Rte 1 South then right onto South St then a quick left into the park. (Exit 3) toward Elkridge to South St. Turn right. Park entrance is on the left.
Directions to Park n Ride
From I 95, take the I 195/Rolling Road/166 exit towards Rolling Road. There will be a Park n Ride immediately in front of you. Park, then ride. The trailhead is across the street to the left of the guardrail.
Directions to Rockburn Branch/Landing Road side
Route 1 to Montgomery Rd (left if heading north, right if heading south). Right on Landing Road at the church, Rockburn Branch Park (Howard County) is on your left. Park at the top of the hill. Trailheads are on Landing Road in either direction: left to the top of Cascade trail, right to an ‘unmaintained’ entrance.
Singletrack, doubletrack, paved and gravel roads
Beginner, Intermediate and Expert
Number of Trails:
Avalon Area weekends and weekdays March-October $2/person; November-February $2/vehicle
All other areas of Patapsco Valley weekends and holidays March-October $2/person. Honor system in effect in all areas weekdays March-October and weekends and holidays November-February $2/vehicle. Out-of-state residents add $1 to all day use service charges.
Sunrise to Sunset
Night Riding is allowed ONLY with special permission of the park. See the Rides forum for more information. Trail is regularly patrolled at night.
Trail Map: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/trailguides.html
[I]Pictures and videos from: /I]