The Patapsco River runs right on through the valley, providing an appropriate companion to the state park's forested landscape. Patapsco Valley State Park is a Maryland destination where you can really feel like you're getting away. The park hosts a variety of outdoor opportunities and several unique areas to enjoy.
RV visitors won't want to miss out on an opportunity to see the Cascade Falls, check out the Swinging Bridge, go disc golfing, explore the park's many multi-use trails, and partake in other outdoor park activities. With a tons of activities to keep guests busy during their stay, you'll be glad you can park your camper in the park's Hollofield Campground. With adventures abound and much to explore, it's time to take in as much of Patapsco Valley as possible. There is so much to do here from boating and tubing to snowmobiling and rock climbing.
The park's 16,000-acre expanse makes it rather difficult to fully cover unless you have the aid of a vehicle. None of the park's trails fully loop around, north to south, so the only way to reach the entire length is to go with the aid of four wheels. Whether you set aside time before making camp, or to wrap your RV trip up, you won't want to leave this piece of the East Coast without seeing it all. When you take the scenic route in your motorhome you're likely to discover even more fun.
RV Rentals in Patapsco Valley State Park
Transportation in Patapsco Valley State Park
Driving is the only fully connected way to get around the entirety of Patapsco Valley State Park. The park's extensive pathways for biking, hiking, and horseback riding provide several loops and winding trails to take in the scenery but don't allow visitors to access all sections fluidly. There are several sections you'll want to visit, while with the aid of all four wheels, before completing your stay. Typically, being parked at the campgrounds means you won't be getting very far north or south of the park. These are two very different "feels". The northern end is full of serene surroundings and is a bit quieter - great for hiking. The southern end sports all the historic sites and the iconic Swinging Bridge.
Just be mindful of vehicle height. If your rig stretches over 11 feet, you won't want to make your entrance westbound on Route 40. Instead, take the advice of many other travelers, and go eastbound on Route 40. Also, remain at the check-in hut upon arrival.
When traveling across the park, guests will find six distinct and unique areas. Patapsco Valley State Park's individual sections offer a plethora of services, amenities, and outdoor opportunities. With busy seasons come busy crowds; if any areas are full, you can always move on to the next. Each holds its own charm and scenic landscape. Parking can be found in all main areas of Avalon, Daniels, Hilton, Hollofield, McKeldin, and Pickall. Be sure to stop by them all before you see your trip through.
If you're staying overnight, you'll be parking your rig in Hollofield Campground. Parking can be a bit tricky, and somewhat tight for larger hauls. The campground hosts are quite gracious and readily assist guests with any issues.
Campgrounds and parking in Patapsco Valley State Park
Campsites in Patapsco Valley State Park
Reservations are not listed as required but are highly encouraged when planning out your trip to Patapsco Valley State Park. Reservations can be made up to one year in advance. The park's hosted year-round campground features 26 sites, out of a total 64, that accommodate RVs and trailers of varying lengths. The maximum length for RVs and trailers is 40 feet. Some spots can be tricky for larger rigs, but the campground hosts are noted as being very creative with helping their guests find solutions.
When making reservations, be sure to choose your site carefully. The inner circle is where you'll find places to park that also include 30 amp electricity. Sites are rather spacious and allow for reasonable privacy and shade. Sites are gravel and include a fire ring and picnic table. The campground also provides a bathhouse with restrooms, an RV dump station, potable water, and firewood for sale. Generator use is permitted, but you must follow the park's quiet hours requirements.
This park is a fun-filled destination for many, including those that brought the whole family. If that also means Fido tagged along, you'll be happy to know this campground is pet-friendly. Everyone can rest up here and recharge for the next outing.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at Patapsco Valley State Park.
While not many sites feature accommodations for RVs and trailers here, there are still plenty of ways to stay at Patapsco Valley State Park. Outside of the main campground, the park also features areas of rest in what is known as the Hilton Area. The Hilton Area hosts sites for tents only, provides six cabins, and sets aside space for another four group camping sites. These sites vary in length, but all of them offer fire pits and picnic tables.
You're never be without in this beautiful Maryland setting. The park is a place you will want to visit time and time again, with or without the rig. Keep your options open with each stay at Patapsco Valley State Park.
Since Patapsco Valley State Park is a short distance from Baltimore, you'll be able to find plenty of private campgrounds and RV parks if you prefer to stay outside of the park. If you choose private accommodations you'll be a stone's throw from both the serenity of the valley and the bustling life of the city. Private campgrounds are a nice option if you prefer modern amenities, which may range from wireless internet and cable TV to game rooms and swimming pools. You can still drive your camper or vehicle to the park and go on all sorts of outdoor adventures from hiking and horseback riding to biking and disc golfing.
Seasonal activities in Patapsco Valley State Park
As early as about mid-March, eager park guests can shuffle in and start casting their lines. It's a popular pastime to see folks enjoying out here; whether along the water's edge or even those who wade right on in. Maryland's Department of Natural Resources readily stocks public streams and ponds, meaning Patapsco Valley State Park's waters are brimming with hungry mouths. Some avid anglers opt for the river shore near the Orange Grove Swinging Bridge, while others enjoy Lost Pond's bounty. So park your camper and find your favorite fishing spot!
Trekking Across the Swinging Bridge
This point of interest is easily recognizable and is a destination you'll readily recall for years to come. The remarkable Swinging Bridge is an iconic area that visitors flock to experience. It actually swings, too - making this bridge a unique and fun crossing experience. As if the bridge wasn't enough, it's what's below it that is worth even more of the attention. The views of the Patapsco River are absolutely astounding from atop the bridge.
Many come to the outdoors to get a taste of some good hiking, biking, and more. But, when you're wheelchair bound, your options may seem much more limiting. Luckily, Patapsco Valley State Park is one of many state parks that has worked to keep as many areas as possible accessible to guests of all abilities. The Grist Mill Trail, situated in the Orange Grove Area, and close to the famed Swinging Bridge, is a wheelchair accessible, paved, wide, and rather level path. This pleasant layout features cutouts along the way that go out to the river, and are great for exploratory visitors.
Spanning all the way at the top of the park, in what is known as the McKeldin Area of Patapsco Valley, visitors will find a disc golf course. The course runs for 18 holes. Whether it's your first go at this fun sport, or you're a seasoned pro, you're sure to take away an afternoon full of fun memories. Don't miss the chance to play this unique sport during your RV trip to the park.
Biking Along the River
Patapsco Valley State Park runs as a diagonal line, west to east, across Maryland. It's an expanse that follows along the Patapsco River and is carved by changes in terrain and natural landmarks. It's a mountain biking paradise out here, with miles upon miles of loops that intertwine and make for varying levels of trails to conquer. You'll definitely want to ditch the four wheels for two; biking is one of the more popular ways you'll see visitors zipping around the park.
Visiting the Playground
Another area of the park, dubbed the Avalon area, is the ideal playtime getaway for kids with a bit of extra energy. Maybe all that hiking and exploring has been quite enough yet? This colorful, eye-catching playground is a pretty choice among visiting kids. Climb, slide, laugh, and play until you can't anymore. Besides the play structure, an additional area with swings accommodates kids of all ages and abilities.
The valley's impressive trail system crosses four counties and provides some of the most extensive hiking, biking, and even horseback riding opportunities. There are at least five trails across the park's expanse that allow for equestrian use. Unfortunately, the park doesn't have any areas for horse rentals, but, visitors are free to come along with horse trailers in tow. There's nothing quite like following the length of the Patapsco River atop your favorite horse.
The park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River and offers over 200 extensive miles of multi-use trails. That means hours of hiking ahead once you get out of your camper. With so many options for trails, guests are sure to find one to suit the intensity they are looking for. There are many scenic areas to start your hike, ranging from the McKeldin area to the Avalon-Glen Artney area. Guests can explore the northern scenic biking trails and secluded retreats down to the rich history of the southern portion of the park.
Visiting Historic Sites
While the campground only stays accessible from March through October, the park remains open to guests all year long. The easiest way to get fully around the park is by driving around,. With the chill of the off-season blowing in, the car is even more inviting to get a good glimpse of Patapsco Valley State Park. There are a few overlooks to pull off and take in during the ride, including some with incredible views of the river. The southern portion of the park also boasts historic sites, such as Bloede's Dam, the Thomas Viaduct, the Old Gun Road Stone Arch Bridge, the Flour Mill, and the Swinging Bridge.
The valley and state park are home to a vast community of birds. Most species to frequent this area of Maryland fall within the Forest-Interior Dwelling species and Shrubland species. There are even several important watchlist species of birds that find solace in the Patapsco Valley forests and shrublands. Be sure to bring your binoculars in your camper. Patapsco Valley State Park will help you cross a few species off your viewing list.