McKeldin Area Loop - Patapsco Valley State Park

#1 of 2 trails in McKeldin Recreation Area
McKeldin Area Loop - Patapsco Valley State Park is a 4.5 mile loop trail located near Marriottsville, Maryland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking & mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.76 miles Loop
Kid Friendly Dog Friendly
hiking mountain biking horses dogs leash kids river
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he 1,403-acre McKeldin Area of Patapsco State Park, best known for its varied, steep and wooded terrain, is reminiscent of the mountains of Western Maryland. Recreational opportunities include hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding on eight miles of trails. Facilities include two large picnic shelters with grills and a fireplace, and eight smaller shelters in a forested setting.

McKeldin's predominantly oak upland forests and the river wetlands support a wide variety of plants and animals. Watch for rabbits, gray squirrels, woodchucks, red fox and white-tailed deer. Along the banks of the Patapsco River, you may spot Canada geese, green herons, kingfishers, mallards and wood ducks year-round. Although rarely seen, screech owls, barred owls, great-horned owls, kestrels and wild turkey also inhabit the forest.

Stephanie Violante

1 Completed1 Reviews

A good one - two hour hike, I'll be coming back for sure! A gentle warning that if you plan to hike with a dog, there is a gun range close by that makes a bit of noise (my dog gets skittish at the sound, but managed pretty well.)

Laura Schneider

5 Completed2 Reviews

Is a very beautiful, well kept trail. A little difficult to navigate - Started at Mckeldin area parking and took Switchback Trail - which I expected to be the complete loop. At some point, ended up jumping onto the Mckeldin Rapids Trail - as I couldn't find any more of the white blazes for Switchback. Had a little difficulty following the initial part of the rapids trail, but was able to stay close and reconnect eventually. The water was beautiful and the rapids are definitely a must see! The trail eventually came out to the parking lot, and followed that for a few minutes to find an entrance back onto switchback again, going back the way I came. Obviously, I recommend definitely checking out/bringing a map; but doing both trails was worth it as well.
Was a nice time, enjoyed sharing the trail with runners, people horseback, and occasional deer. :) Parking is $3 per person.

Hannah Clothier

1 Completed1 Reviews

Beautiful and well kept trails. My local favorite

nyynksfan 11

1 Completed1 Reviews

Robert Goldsmith

6 Completed2 Reviews

Fadra Nally

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great trail for a nature enthusiast and novice hiker. Lots of terrain and elevation and change in scenery. Trail is shared with horses and mountain bikes until the end. It was a little confusing but you finish on the "Foot Traffic Only" portion. Lots of shade and spots along the river. Can't wait to hike this in all four seasons!

Jennifer Williams

1 Completed1 Reviews

Absolutely loved this trail. There was a couple different trails to take. I loved how you could go down and walk down by the river and even walk across in some spots. There's one spot about halfway through where the hike gets very steep uphill. That part absolutely killed me but everything else made it worth it. A lot of birds and wildlife to see. I even saw a baby fawn on my hike. There were a lot of horseback riders on this trail as well as other hikers.

Tracy Thompson

10 Completed4 Reviews

Along the water for the most of the 2nd half. $3 per person to enter the park. Easy for kids and dogs! Loved seeing the horseback riders!

Mike Seabron

4 Completed4 Reviews

Trail had nice scenery and was moderate for biking. You have to watch out for the horse riders since there are some narrow areas. A re-do for sure!

Florence Sarcon

7 Completed7 Reviews

The trail is easy to get to, with very few tough spots especially if the ground is wet. The waterfall area is very nice and you can walk along the stream as well.