​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.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the park.

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 170 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.


The Superintendent of the Maryland Park Service is pleased to announce an open house for the purpose of presenting draft concepts for a Trail Vision for Patapsco Valley State Park. The open house is scheduled for Monday, April 20, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Public Library located at 9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City, MD 21042.

Changes in park visitation and trail use patterns, as well as associated changes in the neighboring communities, provide new opportunities to connect the park to those communities. The draft concepts will serve to identify trail improvements, address current gaps in connectivity, assess resource impacts, and highlight future needs and conservation goals. Public comment received at the open house will be used to develop the Trail Vision, which will guide future decision-making by the Maryland Park Service regarding capital improvements, staffing and operations, and stakeholder requests for improved or additional access.

Maps and descriptions of the draft concepts will be available for review and comment at the meeting. Following the meeting, the concepts will be available for review on this website.

Sign language interpreters and other appropriate accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided upon request.


 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.

2014-2015 Hunting Guide

The 2014-2015 Patapsco Valley / Morgan Run NEA Hunting Guide is now available below. Information regarding parking passes for Patapsco Valley and Morgan Run are located within the guide. Alert: some hunting dates have changed. Please refer back to the updated guide below and the daily sign in sheets in each hunter lot.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has modified the deer management program at the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area (NEA). The adjusted program, which was implemented this past winter, took immediate steps to significantly reduce the deer population in order to fulfill the Department’s mission to protect, preserve and restore the NEA's globally rare ecosystem.

The Department's stepped-up deer management efforts were initiated due to immediate threats to the multitude of rare, threatened and endangered species uniquely found at the NEA. As the deer population in Baltimore County has increased in recent years, the ecological damage caused by deer over-browsing on the NEA has become increasingly acute. Globally-endangered plant species have been reduced to tiny remnant populations, and even some once–common plants have all but disappeared from the site. Unless the deer population at Soldiers Delight is reduced and maintained at an ecologically sustainable level, there is an imminent risk that the unique features of the site could be lost forever. The Department of Natural Resources has a clear responsibility to prevent this from happening.

The next phase of the deer management plan will include an expansion of the existing annual managed hunting program. The specific components of this phase are outlined in the schedule below and will involve the implementation of zones for archery, muzzleloader and shotgun hunting. Hunting will be limited on weekends (restricted Saturday hunting and no Sunday hunting) and will require pre-registration and daily reservations by hunters. The Natural Resources Police will provide enforcement support to ensure compliance with all hunting rules. The expansion of the managed hunt program is necessary to further reduce the deer population and to maintain the reduced herd size at a sustainable level into the foreseeable future.

Maryland Green Travel Partner

MGT.JPGMany Maryland State Parks have been approved as partners of Maryland Green Travel, a free and voluntary self-certification program that promotes and recognizes sustainable environmental practices by businesses in the tourism industry. These practices include energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and water conservation methods.

Click on this link to view the green profile and the list of sustainable practices for Patapsco Valley State Park.

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.

Bloede Dam Project and AnalysisBloede Dam

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently conducting a feasibility study to evaluate Bloede Dam's negative impact on the ecology of the Patapsco River and issues related to public safety.

The dam, located on the property of Patapsco Valley State Park, is an obstacle for fish passage, and it fragments aquatic habitat.

Bloede Dam is owned by the DNR. The Department is currently taking public comment on a report of the alternatives to address the problem.

View the details and goals about the Bloede Dam project, as well as DNR's response to public comments and next steps.

If you would like to submit written comment, please email: bloededam@dnr.state.md.us.


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 weekly 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 donna.seymour@maryland.gov 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