Patapsco Valley State Park Orange Grove–Avalon Areas

Catonsville, Maryland

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9 Reviews
4 out of 5
See waterfalls, rivers, streams, upland forest, historic structures, and entire herds of deer in one of the more diverse hikes in Patapsco Valley State Park. This hike begins in the Orange Grove Area and takes in the Avalon Area before returning to the Orange Grove Area. The 300-foot suspension Swinging Bridge provides one of the few places for easy access across Patapsco River. You can cross it to go to the paved Grist Mill Trail and the Hilton Area of the state park, but if you want to hike in the Orange Grove Area, turn around and head up the hill on the stone steps to the blue-blazed Cascade Falls Trail. It winds uphill, taking in a little switchback, before quickly coming to Cascade Falls, at 0.3 miles. Ferns, mossy rocks, and oak surround a narrow ridge where the falls spill over; the trail becomes a series of rocks that lead across the falls and give you an unobstructed, obviously fantastic view. It’s a superb way to start your hike.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Baltimore

DESCRIPTION FROM:

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Baltimore

by Evan Balkan (Menasha Ridge Press)

See waterfalls, rivers, streams, upland forest, historic structures, and entire herds of deer in one of the more diverse hikes in Patapsco Valley State Park. This hike begins in the Orange Grove Area and takes in the Avalon Area before returning to the Orange Grove Area.

The 300-foot suspension Swinging Bridge provides one of the few places for easy access across Patapsco River. You can cross it to go to the paved Grist Mill Trail and the Hilton Area of the state park, but if you want to hike in the Orange Grove Area, turn around and head up the hill on the stone steps to the blue-blazed Cascade Falls Trail. It winds uphill, taking in a little switchback, before quickly coming to Cascade Falls, at 0.3 miles. Ferns, mossy rocks, and oak surround a narrow ridge where the falls spill over; the trail becomes a series of rocks that lead across the falls and give you an unobstructed, obviously fantastic view. It’s a superb way to start your hike.

©  Evan Balkan/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Catonsville
Distance: 6.4
Elevation Gain: 80 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2.5–3 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Patapsco Valley State Park
Local Maps: USGS Relay
Driving Directions: Directions to Patapsco Valley State Park: Orange Grove–Avalon Areas

Recent Trail Reviews

3/30/2013
0

The first part of the hike was great but then we got lost. The overall hike was good but we ended up hiking extra because we couldn't find the trail and walked along the road back to our cars.


1/31/2012
0

This area offers a variety of terrain from the rocky stream areas to the packed dirt woodland forest paths, all of which are wide, clear, well marked and traveled. There are lots of optional trails (spurs. loops, connectors) that allow you to customize your outing. There are some nice views, though none I would describe as spectacular. There are usually a fair amount of mountain bikers and joggers (particularly on the flatter and neighborhood accessible Morning Choice trail) so I've seen less wildlife than I expected, though today we had deer laying down 50 yards off of the trail (the deer in my back yard aren't that tame!). You need to prepare your map and notes to account for all the trail intersections; otherwise you might take an unintended detour.


6/18/2011
0

A very nice hike. Many changes in terrain, a few challenges near the waterfall, but overall a great trail. There were quite a few mountain bikes, but we all were courteous to each other. Definitely will be going back. The waterfall is the icing on the cake!


3/22/2011
0

Great Trail. Not to crowded this time of year. The trail signs can be a little confusing. Really neat ruins though.


3/5/2011
0

nice walk ... cascade falls very pretty ... time of year not the best ... will do it again on mountain bike ... looks awesome



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Apr 2018