​Howard County

Patapsco Valley State Park
8020 Baltimore National Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043


Driving Directions:

From the Beltway (I-695) take Rt. 40 West ( Exit 15). Follow Rt. 40 West 2 miles to the park entrance on the right.
From I-70/Rt. 29 take Rt. 29 South ( Exit 87) to Rt. 40 East 2 miles to the park entrance on the right.

Hours of Operation:

9 a.m. to Sunset

Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.

Pet Policy:

  • Pets are allowed in the Avalon, Orange Grove, Glen Artney and McKeldin Areas of Patapsco Valley State Park.
  • Pets are allowed in the day-use area of the Hilton Area. Pets are prohibited in the campground of the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park.
  • Pets are allowed in the day-use and campground areas of the Hollofield Area of Patapsco Valley State Park.
  • Pets are prohibited in the Pickall area of Patapsco Valley State Park.

Hunting Policy:

  • Archery-only hunting for deer permittted on 3,405 acres of designated hunting areas with daily sign-in required - Managed Hunt Permit / free WHS permit required
  • Mercer property - Archery / Muzzleloader hunting for deer permitted on 150 acres of designated hunting areas with Managed Hunt Permit / free WHS permit / reservation required
  • Hunt from Vehicle provisions for disabled hunters

Patapsco Valley State Park

children playing near a stream at PatapscoPatapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and eight 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. We have over 200 miles of trails, with 70 of those miles identified as maintained trails. There are hiker only trails and multi-use trails accessible from many areas of Patapsco.

Fall 2017 Junior Ranger Programs

Download October-November Junior Rangers, Park Pals and Sprouts program schedules

Bloede Dam Removal ProjectBloede Dam

Park, Trail and River Closures - Due to the construction associated with the Bloede Dam Removal Project, portions of the Grist Mill Trail, the Patapsco River and the park will be closed to visitation.

All closures will occur between Ilchester Road to just downstream of Bloede Dam.

For details, and current status of this project, you can visit the DNR Bloede Dam web page or see the park bulletin board.

What will I see and how will this project impact my visit"

  • Access to the park will be CLOSED between Ilchester Road to just downstream of Bloede Dam on or about September 5, 2017 until approximately April 2019.
  • Approximately .5 miles of the Grist Mill Trail will be CLOSED between Ilchester Road to just downstream of Bloede Dam on or about September 5, 2017 until approximately April 2019.
  • All access to the river, including but not limited to swimming, fishing, paddling and tubing, will be CLOSED between Ilchester Road to just downstream of Bloede Dam on or about September 5, 2017 until approximately April 2019 during construction. There will be less than a mile of river that will be closed between Ilchester Road and the swinging bridge.
  • The hiking/biking trail leading from Buzzard Rock to the Grist Mill Trail will be OPEN
  • Five acres of forest will be cleared between the Grist Mill Trail and the Patapsco River.
  • Once the dam is removed, the river will experience changes, such as the expansion of sand bars, due to heavy sediment releases for an undetermined amount of time. These changes could impact the quality of fishing below the dam.

The Bloede Dam Removal Project will:
Improve public safety
Enhance recreational opportunities
Provide fish passage to spawning habitats upstream
Create a free-flowing river experience for all to enjoy in the park

For more information, please contact the park.


 Patapsco News


In one of Maryland’s first state parks (1907), the valley and its natural resources have been enjoyed by the Native Americans, explorers, settlers and present-day citizens. With its source in Frederick and Carroll counties, the Patapsco serves the Port of Baltimore, and empties into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Avalon Visitor Center houses exhibits spanning over 300 years of history along the Patapsco River. Housed in a 19th century stone dwelling in the Avalon Area, the center includes a re-creation of a 1930’s forest warden’s office.


2017-2018 Hunting Season.Hunting is permitted during white tailed deer season in designated areas only. No hunting Sunday and other specified days. All hunters are required to have a Managed Hunt Permit to hunt ($35 and issued at any licensing agent or available online through your COMPASS account). Additionally, hunters need a Central Region Public Hunting Permit (free) and reservation (if required for hunting area), both of which will be issued through the Gwynbrook Office in Owings Mills, Maryland. Reservations will be available between the hours of 7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday, or by walk-in 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.. The permit office will be closed on all State Holidays. Starting August 31st, please bring the following when getting your permit:

  • Signed Hunting License and all applicable stamps
  • Managed Hunt Permit
  • Vehicle Tag Numbers
  • E-mail Address (Primary means of communication with hunters during the season.)
  • Home or Cell phone # to be used for emergency contact
  • Hunting Guide
  • Hunting Maps

Patapsco Valley State Park Trail Maps

New maps of the trails at Patapsco Valley State Park can be downloaded for free from this website. Please make sure to read the printing instructions and information for how to download the file to cell phones. The map is in a PDF format that requires Adobe Reader. To get the free Adobe Reader go to Adobe.com.


It's never too late to discover the joys of sitting around a roaring campfire, roasting marshmallows or sleeping under the stars!

With the new OPERATION: CAMPOUT! Program, we can lend you gear free of charge (includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more). This program is designed for military individuals and military families new to camping or experienced campers stationed or recovering in this area.OPERATION: CAMPOUT! is an opportunity for families to reconnect with each other and the great outdoors in a comfortable, safe and relaxing setting.

Campsites have picnic tables and fire pits. Some sites have electric hook-ups. Restrooms and shower facilities are nearby.

Contact the park office directly by phone to make your reservation. Be sure to let us know you are reserving through OPERATION: CAMPOUT!

Patapsco Activities E-mail Alerts

Would you like to receive monthly e-mail updates on what is happening in Patapsco Valley State Park, Soldiers Delight and Morgan Run? Sign up to receive the Patapsco Valley News. Park staff send e-mails no more than twice a week highlighting special activities occurring throughout the park. Send your e-mail address to DNR and enter contact information to be added to our mailing list.


    Online Services

    Contact the Park Service

    • To Report Violations of Park Rules: 1-800-825-7275 (Park Watch) or 1-410-260-8888 (Communications Center)
    • General Information: 1-800-830-3974 (Annapolis Office)
    • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
    • Email Us

    Plan Ahead for "Filled To Capacity" Park Closures

    Patapsco Valley State Park is one of Maryland’s most popular parks and serves a very high volume of visitors during summer weekends and holidays. To ensure the safety of our visitors and protection of the park’s natural resources and facilities, the park has a limited capacity.

    During periods of high visitation, when the park’s capacity is reached, the park will be closed and traffic will be turned away from the park entrance. When that occurs, no additional vehicles / visitors will be allowed to enter the park, including those with members of their party who may already be in the park. If you are not traveling in the same vehicle with others in your party, we suggest that you all arrive at the same time.

    When the park is closed due to being full to capacity, individuals and groups with shelter and/or camping reservations will be admitted, as parking is reserved for those purposes.

    Based on recent experience and visitation trends, and depending on good weather, Patapsco Valley State Park will likely fill to capacity and close on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends, and other weekends during the course of the summer. Please take this into consideration when planning your trip.