This area is within the southern end of Patapsco Valley State Park. The primary entrance is located off of South Street in Baltimore County. Three distinct areas are featured in this section of the park.
Avalon, once home of the Avalon Nail and Iron Works, has only a few remains of the bustling mill town that once dotted the shores of the Patapsco River. Today, this section of the park has large picnic shelters, playgrounds, and access to trails that travel through the river valley as well as up and out of the valley. The Avalon Visitor center is also found in this section of the park – open on weekends April – October this small visitor center is housed in one of the only remaining structures from the village that supported the Avalon Iron works. You travel through Avalon to reach the Orange Grove area.
Orange Grove is one of the most scenic areas of Patapsco, once the home of the village of Orange Grove, a mill town that supported the flour mill on the Baltimore County side of the river. A swinging bridge similar to the one that spanned the river in the 1800’s and early 1900’s crosses the river today connecting guests to the popular Grist Mill Trail. This area provides access to picnic shelters and picnic sites, as well as access to several trails located in this section of the park. A short walk up the remains of River Road follows along the river to the site of Bloede Dam. Bloede Dam was an engineering feat of the 20th century. It is the first hydroelectric dam in the U.S. where the turbines were located inside the hollow core of the dam. Today, this dam no longer generates electricity. Its interior turbines have been removed. (Due to the dangers in the area surrounding the dam, the dam is posted as a no trespassing area for 300 feet above and below the dam.)
Glen Artney is located on the Baltimore County side of the river and is the home of Lost Lake, once a feeder pond for the mill race that powered the Iron Works down river. As you travel through the tunnel under the railroad tracks you enter the Glen Artney picnic area. Once this area of the park was set aside for camping, after the flood of 1972, this area hosted picnic facilities, boasting small intimate shelters, playgrounds and access to trails such as Soapstone, and Grist Mill. Miles of trails flow through these three areas, taking the hiker on a journey that features stunning vistas, hidden treasures of the past, babbling brooks, pleasing waterfalls, and a sense of wilderness that is within steps of the suburbs of Baltimore.
A new map of the trails at Patapsco Valley State Park's Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove areas 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.
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.
Click here to view details and goals about the Bloede Dam project.
If you would like to submit written comment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patapsco Valley State Park requires guests who commute via bicycle in the park to complete an Application and Waiver of Liability For After Hours Bicycle Use. This form is an application and waiver of liability/assumption of risk for after-hours bicycle use (“Bicycle Commuting”) for commuting within the Avalon/Glen Artney area of Patapsco Valley State Park.
TrailsThere are hiker only and multi-use trails in this area.
Trail use can be a wonderful way to enjoy this area. Tips for trail users:
Paddling and TubingWhen water levels are up in Spring and Fall and immediately after summer storms (care should be used as current is swift after storms). Bring your own equipment.
You can hike to just below Bloedes Dam (outside of No Trespassing area around the Dam) and put in taking out at the Gun Rd. Bridge or continuing further down River to the Halethorpe Area. Check out our Resource Based Recreation Partner – Terrapin Adventures for information on opportunities they offer in this area.
Shelters in AvalonThere are two rental shelters in Avalon. Make shelter reservations.
Shelters in Orange GroveThere is one rental shelter in Orange Grove. Make shelter reservations.
Shelters in Glen ArtneyThere are 9 rental shelters in Glen Artney. Make shelter reservations.
PicnickingPicnic Areas are located in all three areas, with most of the picnic sites located in the Glen Artney area.
FishingAll areas of the river are open for fishing, except for the area within 300 feet above and below Bloedes Dam. Upstream from Thomas Viaduct is Non-tidal waters and the areas downstream of the Viaduct are tidal waters. Different fishing regulations and licenses apply in each area.
SwimmingSwimming is permitted all along the river, except where posted as closed. This is unguarded swimming at your own risk. The river can have strong currents – use care when swimming in these areas.
Avalon Visitor CenterPosted October 21, 2013 - The Avalon Visitor Center is closed until further notice due to construction.The visitor center is located in a 185 year old stone house, the only remaining Avalon house that survived the 1868 flood. The Avalon site was improved by Victor G. Bloede, pronounced “Blerda,” to become the Avalon Water Works in 1910. Remnants of the Water Works remain today. The Visitor Center has exhibits on park history, a small information center with park maps and drinks for sale. The Visitor Center is open Weekends 11 a.m. 3 p.m. April – October. Our park visitor center is staffed solely by volunteers.
Thomas Viaduct was completed in 1835 and is the world’s largest multiple arched stone railroad bridge with an arc. Enter the Avalon Area of Patapsco Valley State Park off U.S. Rt. 1 at South St., just north of Elkridge. Proceed on the park entrance road to the contact station. Park in the driveway in front of the contact station. Note the Viaduct interpretive sign at the contact station and carefully walk the road to examine the Viaduct keeping in mind the danger of the blind curve on the roadway.
Old Gun Road Stone Arch Bridge is not in use but it has since colonial times spanned the “mill race” supplying water power to the Dorsey Forge. George Washington reportedly laid out Gun Road to move guns for the American Revolution produced at the Dorsey Forge. Transported via Gun Road to Elkridge Landing, the guns were shipped down River to the Bay and then to Annapolis for final assembly. In 1815 the Ellicott family acquired Dorsey Forge and expanded it to become the Avalon Iron and Nail Works. Floods in 1868 destroyed the Iron and Nail Works along with the village of Avalon.
The Swinging Bridge spans the Patapsco at Orange Grove, 1.6 miles northwest of Avalon following the Park Rd. in Howard County beyond shelters 104 and 105. Prior suspension foot bridges at this location enabled residents of the Orange Grove mill town to cross the river to Baltimore County to work in the five stories high Orange Grove Flour Mill of the C.A. Gambrill Manufacturing Company. This mill burned May 1, 1905. Cross the bridge to discover ruins of this large mill site that extended from the railroad tracks to the Swinging Bridge abutment. Orange Grove was sold in white bags whose tops were string tied and whose labels proclaimed “Patapsco Superlative Flour."
Bloede’s Dam is believed to be the world’s first submerged electrical generating plant that was housed under water inside the shell of the dam. Victor G. Bloede, the same chemist and entrepreneur who created the Water Works at Avalon, hired electrical engineer Otto Wonder to oversee the development of this unique hydroelectric dam that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue on the Park Rd., parking in the Orange Grove area, and then hike along old River Rd. trail to the Dam. There is a 300 foot no trespassing zone above and below the dam.
April through OctoberMonday through Friday: $2 per vehicle in-state, $4 per vehicle out-of-stateBuses: $10 per bus (a bus is a vehicle that holds more than 9 passengers)Weekends and Holidays$3 per person in-state, $5 per person out-of-stateBuses: per personNovember through MarchHonor System in effect: $2 per vehicle in-state; $4 per vehicle out-of-stateBuses: $10 per bus (a bus is a vehicle that holds more than 9 passengers)
Admitted Free: Children buckled in safety seats, senior citizens 62 & older with the Golden Age Pass, people with the Universal Disability Pass for persons with disabilities, members of the Maryland National Guard & all active duty military personnel who display their active military identification card (complimentary access is permitted for card holder only).
Entry service charges are not included in pavilion/shelter rental costs; they are in addition to those costs. Those wanting to prepay the service charges need to contact the park office before the reservation date.
Patapsco Valley State Park - Avalon Area5120 South StreetHalethorpe MD 21227GPS N 39-13'11.0 W 076-42'18.3Link to Google Maps
Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove/Lost Lake Areas – 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 on South St. Park entrance is on the left.
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401