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Level: Intermediate
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +2,542/2 ft
Total: 148 riders

Mountain Biking Patapsco Valley State Park (mckeldin Area)

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#40 of 99 mountain bike trails in Maryland
#3,981 in the world

Follow the Switchback trail (white) downhill and then along the river. Trail is a mixture of singletrack and doubletrack. Last 2/3rds of a mile is on Plantation Trail (Red) and mostly uphill. This is a great trail to push the grade from beginner to intermediate. Good downhill to begin, some challenging (to me) singletrack on the side of a slope and a short technical rocky descent (again challenging for beginners/intermediate). But there is also plenty of smooth singletrack and doubletrack next to the river to get your breath back. Quite a big climb near the end. I've ridden the trail a few times and have had to put my foot down each time. Still there's always next time.

First added by AdrianM on Sep 24, 2008. Last updated May 1, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Take I-70(W) then exit 83 for Marriottsville Road North. Follow this for about 4 miles then turn right into McKeldin Area. Go up the hill and park behind the ranger station.
System trails (1)
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Patapsco Valley State Park (mckeldin Area) Trail map

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Trail conditions

Good (on Nov 14, 2020)
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Patapsco Valley State Park (mckeldin Area) videos

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Mountain Bike Trails Near Marriottsville, Maryland

Intermediate | 3 mi
Advanced | 15 mi

Rider questions

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  • rmap01   ✓ supporter

    The Patapsco Valley Park has a number of different trail sections. Some people link Mckeldin with Woodstock and Hollofield as they are all connected, along with a number of other areas of the park. The McKeldin (and surrounding areas) are a bit more technical than the Avalon, Orange Grove and Glen Artney areas. But there is serious fun to be had. Personally, I would not recommend certain of these trails to beginners starting out. The Avalon area is much better suited to the novice rider and will offer plenty of challenge.

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  • Ken Harris

    This area has trails for everyone. The biggest problem with the beginner trails is that getting to them can be tough for a beginner rider because of the amount of downhill, loose gravel you go through to get there. Still the ride is worth the view and there's plenty of technical stuff to challenge all levels of riders

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  • Matthew Edelen

    Lots of fun technical singletrack with some doubletrack. Well-maintained. Some very technical sections here & there.

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  • Kirk O. Clark

    I love these trails!! I grew up riding these and they've only gotten better! There's something for everyone!

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  • Nairb
    Reviewing Woodstock:

    Great single track. Tacky down by the river with several sloppy spots that are hard to get around. Trails at elevation were almost perfect.

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  • Kemuel Chavez

    Some reviews here have not ridden all of the trails in this area. If you go beyond the McKeldin area, you can ride a ton more miles, 30 plus miles. Trails are tough in a couple of spots, with a lot of climbing, but are rewarded with fun, flowy downhills. This area is one of the toughest when it comes to elevation gain. Check out Strava, you can pretty much do a 50 ride mile or close to 60 if you connect it all the way to Patapsco Avalon area. The possibilities are endless! Singletracks needs to rename this to Northern Patapsco, and fix the mileage.

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  • Ben Jendrek

    Riding in Patapsco is a blast. It is not too difficult, but there are plenty of technical obstacles to keep you excited as you flow through the park. The park is not huge, but there are plenty of trails and connectors to fill a day. Definitely a good place to check out.

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  • Bear0357

    New to mountain biking and found this trail to have good variety of terrain. There's plenty of climbing available.
    Watch out for horse crap on the flat trail that runs along the river.

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  • jtorlando25

    This is a warm up to the Avalon area trails in the park. Nothing special here. Just a run of the mill east coast singletrack. Roots, short climbs, etc...nothing too exciting.

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  • brishel229

    Would be nice if not for the piles of "S" you can't always avoid. To be expected though since it's a multi use trail. This was my 1st time and may be my last. I usaually ride at Scheaffer in Germantown, but it is closed due to a managed deer hunt until the 10th of December.

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  • jchris

    You folks who complain this is just a small series of loops you can ride in an hour, listen up:
    First ride the loops near the entrance to the McKeldin Area. Then cross the river on the white trail and ride miles and miles of far more challenging trail. Some go straight down the river. Some are up in the ridges above the river. Stream crossings, rocky climbs, white knuckles descents (well, on a rigid bike anyway.) You can ride near the former site of the Blair Witch Project House. Abandoned cars and quarries. An old SAM site. Miles down the route you ride past the old ghost town of Daniels to a small parking lot off Dogwood Road. Then ride back. Twelve miles roundtrip or so if you take the direct route

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  • jfigel76

    I used to ride this area a lot but over the years, I have come to not like this area. You have a fun downhill, then a long uphill, repeat about 3 times. Sometimes I overlap trails because some great downhills are great uphills too. Not too many miles of trails. Park at the train tracks to save entrance fees. Otherwise, $3 to enter.

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  • agross

    This is a fun ride, some nice jumps when you start and some good climbs. There are some slow boring areas that are rather flat but at least they are near the water so there is a nice view. All in all its a nice ride and you get a fair workout.

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  • mhermstein

    The previous reviews covered the McKeldin trails. This is mostly answering the previous post: Looking at picture 1, you see a 'shortcut trail' in the southeast corner. Cross the river there and the trail continues on the other side. You can take the white blaze trail down to the Daniels area of Patapsco and beyond. This is a challenging ride with some good climbs (none with too much exposure but steep and sustained), a few stream crossings, and some sections of rocks and roots. I believe this is the longer ride of which the original poster was speaking as it would take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours round trip to ride this trail to where it ends at the intersection of Dogwood and Hollofield rd. and of course there's a dam at Daniels. It's a beautiful ride. In my opinion as good as anything in the avalon area.

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  • CB-Frederick

    Overall this is a decent trail if your looking for something new. The previous post describes it fairly well. There are a series of connecting trails that loop around. From the parking lot, you start at the top of a hill and work your way down in either direction. There are a couple good climbs and some moderate technical things (drop-offs, rocks, and roots). The main two points I wanted to share are the following. First, the portion of the trail by the river can get very muddy. I rode last October during a period that was rather dry and still got bogged down in a patch of slop. So you may want to think twice about trying this trail after wet spell. Second, it is not a large trail network. I'm not sure where the 2 1/2 hour trail time came from. I rode the loop and connecting trails three times in about 2 hours. * Review edited 5/25/2011

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