Patapsco Valley State Park follows along 32 miles of Patapsco River shoreline west and south of Baltimore. Comprising eight separate areas stretching over 14,000 acres, this area of Maryland is nationally renowned for its excellent scenic trails. The river is also a site for fishing, canoeing or kayaking, and even swimming. For those looking to get out and be one with nature for a weekend or even longer, Patapsco Valley State Park is a beloved escape that’s both close to the city and a fresh world away. And did we mention it has stunning waterfalls?
Into the Woods of Patapsco Valley State Park
Winding through the many areas of the park are more than 200 miles of trails. Some are designated for hiking only, but many are multi-use trails that appeal to hikers, bikers, and equestrians alike.
Cascade Falls Trail
This 2.3-mile loop trail follows a stream that has several small waterfalls and one large waterfall — Cascade Falls. It is a heavily trafficked trail, so you will definitely see other hikers, but the views make it worth it. Note: this trail is moderately rated and has twisty and very rocky terrain, so be sure to wear shoes with a good grip. String this trail along with others nearby to stretch the distance in this beautiful area.
McKeldin Rapids Trail
The rapids are truly a sight to see. Enjoy a nice walk along the river coming from the west on the orange trail (marked on the McKeldin area map) or from the north on the white trail.
Union Dam Trail
This trail is only a 1-mile loop, but it’s a beautiful area with access to calm, deep water that is popular for people who’d like to swim mid-hike. It can be a little steep in places, but this moderate little hike is full of wonderful scenery and lots of places to take a break and take it all in. Bring a book or your tackle box, and experience the beauty of Maryland.
There are many more trails and offshoots to explore. Download a map from the park website and follow your pleasure towards the water, towards history, or towards a fast singletrack mountain bike trail.
Getting To Know Patapsco Valley State Park
The eight areas of the park have their own unique features. Here’s a short introduction to each of the distinct areas of Patapsco Valley State Park.
McKeldin Area is the westernmost area of the park and is loaded with multi-use trails. Ride a horse, ride a bike, or just explore the trails on foot. And for an easier walk, try out the disc golf course.
The Daniels dam calms the river in this area, making it the perfect place to canoe, kayak, fish, or swim.
This area is a very popular day-use part of the park. Find picnic shelters here and several playgrounds.
The oldest section of the park, in use since 1906, this area features the children’s nature center as well as an old-school tire playground. Here you can access the popular Saw Mill Branch trail as well as several others.
This area is the centralmost area of the park. Here, you’ll find the campground, trail access, as well as old shelters created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. From here, enjoy a scenic overlook of the entire Patapsco river valley.
Avalon / Glen Artney / Orange Grove Flour Mill Area
This area is best known for containing many of the historic sites within the park. Here you’ll find the Orange Grove flour mill, the Thomas Viaduct, and the famous swinging bridge. This is also home to Cascade Falls, so stop here to access the trail to the waterfall.
When To Visit This State Park
Any time of year is a wonderful time to visit Patapsco Valley State Park, but in the summertime, it’s best to get an early start. Park areas have been known to fill up during this busy season. Spring and fall bring beautiful changes to the flora, and the weather is also quite temperate, so be sure to book in advance.
Where To Park
There is one campground on-site at the park. If that one fills up or doesn’t quite fit your fancy, a larger RV park nearby may be the best solution for your family and friends.
If you want to stay inside Patapsco Valley State Park, camping at Hollofield Campgrounds is the best (and only) option. This campground sits in a beautiful woodsy patch of land in the middle of suburban Baltimore. Some sites have a glimpse of the nearby neighborhood through the trees, but this doesn’t detract too much from feeling like you are fully immersed in the wilderness. There are 73 campsites here for RVs and tent camping, and some of them have electric hookups only. Reserve your site online and see specific details and a photo of whichever site you choose.
Ramblin Pines Campgrounds
If you are looking to make the most out of your RV’s capabilities, Ramblin Pines is a full-service campground with 200 campsites. One hundred and ninety of those sites come with full hookups, and many are extra large to accommodate slide-outs and big rigs. In addition to the wooded backdrop, Ramblin Pines has a pool, outdoor sports courts, a store, and even a mini-golf on-site. Expect an active community in an almost resort-like setting. Just because Ramblin Pines is not within the park itself, you will still be within 25-30 miles of any area of Patapsco Valley State Park and easily able to access whatever adventures the day holds.
Explore Patapsco Valley State Park by RV
Patapsco Valley State Park is a premier destination for all trail lovers and river enthusiasts. When it’s time to leave regular life behind and go relax, this large state park has something for everyone. Get a great night’s sleep before you hit the trails in a comfortable RV rental loaded with features that bring some of the best amenities of home into the great outdoors.
Are you ready to upgrade the tent camping experience? Call, visit, or stop by our website to get started on renting the RV that will be the foundation of your adventure.