Patapsco Valley State Park is near my home -- at least part of it is: it's strung out along 36 miles of the Patapsco River like exquisite glass beads on a necklace.
Because of its location, it's my go-to park for a hike, especially when I only have a couple of hours.
PVSP is a suburban oasis, though. It's located near Baltimore, in Baltimore and Howard counties. And so, it seems, it's a popular go-to park for a hike for many, many people.
You will not find solitude on any trail within this park, but that's for good reason -- the trails are lovely and there are some beautiful places to explore within the park.
Our destination one cloudy Saturday morning was the Soapstone Loop Trail, in the Glen Artney Area of the park. Although there is ample parking at the trailhead along South Rolling Road, there just wasn't enough spaces for everyone who wanted to hike, a testament to the popularity of this trail and the park overall.
The Soapstone Trail Loop is a moderate, 2.6 mile popular loop trail located near Catonsville, MD that features a creek.
Overall, the trail is well-marked with purple blazes and well maintained. We took the left most (facing into the woods from South Rolling Road) path heading into the park, which was scenic and meandering on the way down, offering a few stream crossings.
On the way back, there was a more gradual climb as the trail climbed up along the ridge back to the road. This part of PVSP is nestled in a very populated area, and roads are never really far away.
Hikers should beware of the many mountain bikers, although all were courteous, calling ahead to alert us that they were coming; in one instance, they waited while we carefully crossed a watery, muddy section of the trail, avoiding splashing us.
Overall, this is a lovely trail in a lovely part of PVSP. Although crowded, everyone we encountered was courteous and pleasant, and the trail and surrounding areas were surprisingly free of trash and debris. This is going to be one of my favorites!
For other hikes in Patapsco Valley State Park, check out the articles below:
- Avalon Section/Grist Mill Trail
- Buzzards Rock - Sawmill Trail Loop
- Cascade Falls Trail / Orange Grove Area
- Daniels -- Maryland's Ghost Town
- Daniels Winter Hike
- Daniels Old Main Line and Ruins Loop Hike
- Daniels Old Main Line Railtrail
- Daniels Old Main Line in the Spring
- Hell House and revisiting Hell House
- Marriottsville Road to McKeldin Rapids Hike
- McKeldin Area
- Three Great Hikes