Patapsco Valley State Park McKeldin Quest - Backpack the Patapsco

Introduction To Quest

entrance sign to the McKeldin area of PatapscoReady to experience the back country in the front country? Patapsco Valley State Park is known for its amazing trail system of over 200 miles of unique trails for every type of user. There are streams and valleys from the industrial age and all kinds of plants and animals to see along the way. What better way to get out in nature and feel the park than an overnight backpacking trip. There are options for all ages from a 2.5 mile one way up and back to 4.5 mile one way up and back to an approximately 26 mile loop to the full experience of approximately 33 mile loop. If you decide for the big loop you may park your car and leave it overnight with an overnight pass. If you would like to do one of the smaller options you will have to be dropped off. Trails will be well marked and you will be given a map to follow.The McKeldin Quest requires advanced registration. You will need to make a reservation in the Hollofield campground ahead of time, and then get a pass and park map from Park Headquarters.

Quest Information

The quest is available Memorial Day to October 27th. Questers must first make a campsite reservation for the Hollofield campground by calling 1-888-432-2267 or visit the website at Teams will then need to call Patapsco Valley State Park headquarters at 410-461-5005 to register for this quest. You will be given a parking pass/ quest pass and quest trail map. Please be prepared to give the following information below: (1) campsite reservation number and site number; (2) Date of overnight stay; (3) Two contact numbers one for your group camping and one for an emergency contact number for someone not staying with you; (4) Starting location for your backpacking adventure (will be discussed at office). You will need to arrive at your campsite before sunset. The quest begins at multiple locations and you must confirm when calling park office.

Starting locations include:
11676 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville MD 21104 (for full loop)
1425 Woodstock Road, Woodstock MD 21163 (no vehicle overnight)
2090 Daniels Road, Ellicott City MD 21043 (no vehicles overnight)
8300 Old Frederick Road, Ellicott City MD 21043 (no overnight vehicles)

Park Information

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and five developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities 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. The park is nationally known for its trail opportunities and scenery. Patapsco Valley has over 200 miles of trails, with 70 of those miles identified with blazes.

Patapsco Valley State Park - McKeldin Area
11676 Marriottsville Road
Marriottsville, MD 21104
GPS 39.35982 76.89112

Directions to Patapsco Valley State Park:

  • From I-695/I-70 West take I-70 to Marriottsville Rd. ( Exit 83). Go North on Marriottsville Rd. for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right.
  • From I-70 East take Rt. 40 to Marriottsville Rd. Turn left. Park entrance is 5 miles on the right.
  • From Rt. 26 take Rt. 26 to Marriottsville Rd. Go South 4 miles, park entrance is on the left.