What to do in Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 14,000 acres and five developed recreational areas. The park is nationally known for its trail opportunities and scenery. Today, it is undergoing a renovation of those trails including upgrading signs and detailed information.

Patapsco Valley State Park is one of the most popular parks in the state park system. It has a number of varied and popular recreation sites. Visitors can view the Thomas Viaduct, known to be the world's longest multiple-arched stone railroad bridge or view a number of exhibits, while touring the Avalon Area. They can experience a 300-foot swinging bridge or hike to Bloede's Dam, the world's first internally housed hydroelectric dam, while visiting the Orange Grove Area. Hikers are routinely enticed by the unparalleled scenery of the valley and river rapids along the McKeldin Area Trail system. Children run wild at the two-acre tire playground at the Hilton Area and campers relax at the family campsites and camper cabins while being only a short distance from other park activities and nearby Ellicott City and Baltimore. Fall tourists are awestruck at the foliage beauty found at the Patapsco Valley Overlook in the Hollofield Area, which remains the only valley overlook along the river. Anglers thoroughly enjoy the rewards found along the Daniels Area fish ladder, a spawning area for shad and herring.

Recreational opportunities at Patapsco Valley State Park include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups in the park's many popular pavilions. This park also offers 2,000 acres for bow hunting for white-tailed deer in Howard and Carroll counties.

Patapsco Valley State Park is located in central Maryland. Park areas are west and south of Baltimore City, with headquarters in Howard County on Route 40 West at the Hollofield Area.

Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

8020 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043

Phone: 410-461-5005

  • Patapsco Valley State Park Travel Q&A