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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 25 mi (40.2 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,487/1 ft
Total: 476 riders
 

Mountain Biking Patapsco Valley State Park (Avalon Area)

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#1 of 97 mountain bike trails in Maryland
#31 in the world

It definetly is a valley, lots of altitude. Rocky, rooty and fast. Switchbacks, it has all types of terrain, not for the beginner at heart. Morning Choice trail is nice and not too technical. Ridge Trail is what it means, ridge with a lot of rocks. Soapstone, Bull Run trails are awesome and the one that I can't remember the name is also pretty good. ENJOY.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
Avalon/Glen/Artney/Orange Gove
Address: 5254 South Street
Halethorpe, Md

Mckeldin
Address: 11676 Marriotsville Rd
Marriotsville, MD 21104

From the Beltway (I-695) Take Rt. 1 (Exit 12-A) toward Elkridge. Follow Rt. 1 South about 3 miles to South St. Turn right. Park entrance is on the left.

From I -95 take I-195 to Rt. 1 (Exit 3) toward Elkridge to South St. Turn right. Park entrance is on the left.

From Howard County follow Rt. 1 through Elkridge and into Baltimore County. Turn left onto South St. Park entrance is on the left.

Pay the $2 to get into the park. I mean, have you ever tried to take a dump at the park-n-ride on Saturday morning?

This place deserves the $2.
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Patapsco Valley State Park (Avalon Area) Trail map

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rmap01 (on May 27, 2020)
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Dry (on May 27, 2020)
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Patapsco Valley State Park (Avalon Area) videos

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MattB's Mountain Bike Ride at Patapsco…
 
Patapsco HoCo
 

Mountain Bike Trails Near Ellicott City, Maryland

***
Beginner | 8 mi
**
Easiest | 4 mi
***
Beginner | 4 mi

Rider questions

Q: Hybrid bikes?
A: not for hybrid bikes.

Q: are there steep hills on this trail
A: Depending on the sections you ride, there can be.

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Reviews

  • rmap01
    Reviewing Vineyard Trail:
    ***

    Hard to see how this is rated the #2 Trail in MD when it's been 5 years since the last review. The Vineyard Springs Trail itself is actually less than a mile long. It's typically ridden downhill as you have an opportunity to pick up some some good speed. But there's nothing particularly technical or memorable about the trail itself. The rest of the Glen Artney area has a number of other trails including Soapstone and Bulls Run which are nice and flowy. What's cools is that this area connects to the Hilton area via the Santee Branch where the riding Has some more technical features on Saw Mill and Buzzards Rock. Any ride in that section should end by blasting down Drugs for a nice endorphin rush. From there you can cross over the hanging bridge to the Avalon side or head back up toward the Park and Ride. (NB: FWIW, I would rate the broader Glen Artney as 4.0 and the Hilton area as a 4.5)

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  • DADventureTV
    ***

    Avalon Section South of River Only Review: Meh, it's alright. You know what they say about expectations- set them low and you won't be disappointed. I kinda broke that rule based on a lot of the reviews on here. I'd heard so much about Patapsco, and I was looking for some techy, gnarly trails without having to go out to Frederick, and was sure this would be it. Well, it isn't. There are a few gnarly sections here and there, but they're pretty short. Basically there are too few gnarly bits and not great flow. Although some mountain bikers (gawd bless em) tried to add some obstacles by putting fallen trees across a few trails, there aren't a lot of other technical features (and eventually hopping up and over logs, some quite big, every twenty feet gets a little old). Just mostly some roots here and there and a few rocky bits- Cascade Falls trail near the falls was good and gnarly but pretty short. And the non-technical trails (Morning Choice for ex) are pretty much like riding on a wide sidewalk but don't have very good flow- you can tell they were originally hiking trails. There was really only one drop of significance (on Morning Choice where it turns to head over to Rockburn Loop). Rockburn Loop was pretty fun but not that long. Ridge trail is a misnomer- I rode it from Cascade Falls to the Connector Trail back to Morning Choice and it was never on the ridge, just a lot of ups. The little Connector Trail going from Morning Choice down to Ridge would be cool- kinda steep and a bit more technical- unfortunately for me I went the wrong way and it sucked. A nice circuit ride to get in tech and downhills and fun bits would be start at Patapsco Trailhead at Landing Road, Dropped pin
    Near 5569-5539 Landing Rd, Elkridge, MD 21075 https://goo.gl/maps/jmEAfqFgqQL2 take Morning Choice to the Connector Trail (I think its marked Green) down to Ridge Trail, turn right onto Ridge Trail, do the Rockburn loop each way a couple times, then back up Morning Choice. When you get to intersection of Morning Choice and Connector Trail (green) again turn around and bomb that downhill and drop a couple times- it's fun- if you can hit that drop without having braked beforehand you can get some air, then take Morning Choice back. On way back turn off Morning Choice and hit Nacho/Logs trail to test your skills over logs and log piles- it just loops back into Morning Choice. Then back to your vehicle. Bottom line- this place is fine if you are new and looking to improve or to just get a good workout in, and if you live nearby its great to have close, but if you are skilled and looking for gnar, to rip or get air, this ain't it. The reviews saying this is the best mountain biking in Maryland obviously don't get around much. Don't drive a long way to get here expecting something too awesome- I could have had just as much fun at Fairland Reg Park and it's 20 mins from my house, and Schaeffer and Bacon Ridge have way better flow and about as much tech.

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  • Ken Harris
    *****

    I had just started MTB and this was the toughest 18.5 miles I have ever ridden. Can't wait to do it again when my skills and confidence improve.

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  • enathan1
    *****

    Awesome place to bike (and hike). A wide variety of trails and things to see. Everything ranging from gravel and rolling hills to steep, rooty, rocky trails with massive obstacles. Just make sure you know where you are!

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  • Trueblue1320
    *****

    By far the best trail in MD I've been to yet. Several stream crossings, bridges and rock gardens. I recommend taking the ridge trail to the blue trail, left to yellow, then the purple loop for about a 2 hour ride.

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  • rmap01
    *****

    Rode here several years ago right at the time of the spring thaw... not so fun. However, I've been back here several times over the last year and I have really come to appreciate these trails. There is very good elevation change in several areas especially if starting from the parking area in the valley. The section of trails that includes Morning Choice, Rockburn, Cascades, Garrett's Pass and Ridge Line is excellent. There's some enjoyable downhill, excellent flow, a number of short steep climbs and a few stream crossings. You have the option of extending to other sections of the park to create an epic ride.

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  • DauraB
    *****

    Hidden gem!! You won't be disappointed making the effort to find this trail system. A mix of flow, rock gardens, bridges and S curves with well maintained berms and trails. Camping available and wicked friendly locals. Hit this place up!!

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  • TheWVPedaler
    ****

    Beautiful trails, I have only ridden there once, well twice in one trip. I was in the area for business and took my bike. I found a few really wet areas but overall an awesome trail system. Many people out on the trails and everyone was nice to me and suggested routes to take. Also was nice that I had a topo map printed off from this very site!

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  • Stevenrb
    ****

    What a beautiful ride. Took a fly into a stream... was refreshing:)

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  • Christopher M
    ****

    Great trail close to BWI. Did a 9 mile loop and would describe the trail as moderate with a lot of quick elevation changes. The trails are marked by colors and names at the start of the trails but it was hard to get lost. Watch for the trail users, in December I ran into a group on horseback and a lot of walkers close to the falls. Parking in on landing road, it fills up quick as this is a very popular trail. You can connect this trail to Rockburn park and hit up the skills park. Be prepared to get wet, the trail doesn't dry well and there are a few stream crossings. Overall a great trail.

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  • outdoor addiction
    *****

    i live close and i go every week it is the best park i have gone to in Maryland
    if you are looking for 1 good trail to ride or a hole day its the best

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  • Jkizz
    *****

    Been a wet summer here in MD, but trails are A Plus again. Hands down best mtn bk riding in the DMV. Be Safe!

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  • PoeKneeTale
    *****

    These trails are real fun. technical rock gardens and awesome descents if you are going the right direction. Some of the climbs were manageable even on my DH bike. Only complaint is that the trails are not marked very well. There are lots of unmarked intersections so leave yourself plenty of time to figure out the trails. Definitely coming back to learn the area better.

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  • ****

    A nice mix of nature and a very convenient access. No indicators and just some maps to be found in some points, but I think it's easy to learn all the tracks.

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  • sensorgt14
    ****

    I like these trails, I've only ridden them a hand full of times and I'm never let down.

    There are a lot of climbs and a lot of rocks.

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  • Roger Rogo Thorpe Jr.
    ****

    Great park to ride. Lots of hills with lots of downhills to make up for it. Also the actual address for the two locations are as follows.

    Avalon/Glen/Artney/Orange Gove
    Address: 5254 South Street
    Halethorpe, Md

    Mckeldin
    Address: 11676 Marriotsville Rd
    Marriotsville, MD 21104

    I rode the Avalon area which had a lot of trails and good tracks. Be aware, their are no good maps and trails are poorly marked. Be prepared to do the guessing game on how to get back.

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  • semitones
    Reviewing Vineyard Trail:
    *****

    Vineyard is a fast, fun trail. There are 3 dips/wallrides, plenty of fast rocky sections. It's a good place to learn to be more comfortable with speed. Ends at the river road paved trail -- starts at foxhall road (which is also accessible from the fireroad after soapstone (fireroad -> right on the road, take the short connector trail at the top of the hill -- big sign says vineyard).

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  • semitones

    You can ride in the winter here really early in the morning before the soil temperature gets above freezing -- if the trails start to thaw, it ain't fun and it destroys the trail.

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