Route: Patapsco Valley State Park Traverse (MD)

Location
Maryland, US
Distance
31 mi
Vertical Gain
3,000 ft
Description

NOTE: Prior to April 2021 people took different routes traversing the park, and the FKTs reflect that.  Then, Patrick Blair very meticulously worked out the best routes for the one-way (31 miles) and out & back (actually a compressed loop with some overlapping sections, 62 miles).  From now people should carefully follow Patrick's routes if they wish to contest the FKT.  Note also that some of the previous FKTs were on longer routes, so it's not really an apples-apples comparison.

Follow the official Patapsco State Park approved ‘Ptap T’ route that is published on the OSM Cycle layer.  You can find it on any mapping application that shows OSM Cycle:

 

There are many turns and trails in the Patapsco State park that wind and intersect with each other.  The best way to follow the Ptap T route is to use a GPS device, load the route, and use it to navigate.

 

 

Out & Back Route Description (~62miles)

 

This route will have you stay on either side of the river while going each way.  This makes the out and back into a loop (a huge oval) of the park.

 

Start Avalon Shelters #104/#105 -> Ilchester Road

  1. Ridge Trail Extension
  2. Ridge Trail
  3. Cascade Falls Trail
  4. Bloede Dam Trail
  5. Ilchester Road

 

Ilchester Road -> Main Street

  1. Unnamed trails through St. Mary’s College
  2. Unnamed trails after St. Mary’s College, continue North West
  3. Take trails to Red Stag Court, this avoids using CSX area (road)
  4. College Avenue (road)
  5. St Paul Street (road)
  6. Maryland Avenue (road)
  7. Main Street (road)

 

Main Street -> PSVP Hollofield Area

  1. Church Road (road)
  2. Park Drive (road)
  3. Campground Connector Trail
  4. OEC Connector (go under Route 40)
  5. New Ranger (go under I-70)

 

PSVP Hollofield Area -> PVSP Daniels Area

  1. Out of Range Trail (after going under I-70)
  2. Daniels Singletrack
  3. Powerline Trail
  4. Daniels Singletrack (Daniels Road Trail)
  5. Daniels Road
  6. Daniels Singletrack (Switchplate)
  7. Switchplate Trail Loop
  8. Backside of Daniels
  9. Daniels Singletrack

 

PVSP Daniels Area -> Old Court Road

Summary:

  1. Ol’Man River
  2. Candyman
  3. Black Magic
  4. Alleldt Climb
  5. Davis Hole
  6. HoCo Thru Trail

 

Old Court Road -> Sykesville

  1. Wood Marr
  2. HoCo Thru Trail

 

Sykesville -> Old Court Road

  1. HoCo Thru Trail
  2. Marriottsville Road
  3. Switchback Trail
  4. Chevrolet Trail
  5. Quarry Trail
  6. Church Trail
  7. Joe’s Trail
  8. Quarry Trail

 

Old Court -> PVSP Pickall Area

  1. MORE Fun
  2. Davis Trail
  3. Thru Trail (white)
  4. Alberton Road
  5. Dogwood Road
  6. Dogwood Trail
  7. Pickall Trail (go under I-70)
  8. Festivus
  9. Bestivus
  10. Pickall Trail
  11. Patapsco Thru-Trail

 

PVSP Pickall Area -> Gray’s Mill

  1. Stairway to Haven (go under Route 40)
  2. Rockhaven Trail
  3. Rockhaven Ave (road)
  4. Rest Ave (road)
  5. Westchester Ave (road)
  6. Oella Ave (road)
  7. Trolley-Line #9 Trail (paved path)
  8. Red Trail
  9. Nine Mile Circle
  10. Frederick Road
  11. River Road
  12. Gray’s Mill Trail

 

Gray’s Mill -> Catonsville Community College

  1. Gray’s Mill Trail
  2. Santee Branch Trail
  3. College Loop

 

Catonsville Community College -> END Avalon Shelters #104/#105

  1. College Loop
  2. Santee Branch Trail
  3. Bull Run Trail
  4. Soapstone Reroute
  5. Soapstone Trail
  6. Park road (road)
  7. Avalon Mill Race Trail
  8. Gun Road (road)
  9. River Road (road)

 

One-Way Route Description (~31miles)

 

This route will have you saying on the Baltimore County side of the out and back route.  The Baltimore County side has slightly less roads incorporated into the route.

 

Start at the HoCo Thru Trail / River Road intersection -> Old Court Road

  1. HoCo Thru Trail
  2. Marriottsville Road
  3. Switchback Trail
  4. Chevrolet Trail
  5. Quarry Trail
  6. Church Trail
  7. Joe’s Trail
  8. Quarry Trail

 

Old Court -> PVSP Pickall Area

  1. MORE Fun
  2. Davis Trail
  3. Thru Trail (white)
  4. Alberton Road
  5. Dogwood Road
  6. Dogwood Trail
  7. Pickall Trail (go under I-70)
  8. Festivus
  9. Bestivus
  10. Pickall Trail
  11. Patapsco Thru-Trail

 

PVSP Pickall Area -> Gray’s Mill

  1. Stairway to Haven (go under Route 40)
  2. Rockhaven Trail
  3. Rockhaven Ave (road)
  4. Rest Ave (road)
  5. Westchester Ave (road)
  6. Oella Ave (road)
  7. Trolley-Line #9 Trail (paved path)
  8. Red Trail
  9. Nine Mile Circle
  10. Frederick Road
  11. River Road
  12. Gray’s Mill Trail

 

Gray’s Mill -> Catonsville Community College

  1. Gray’s Mill Trail
  2. Santee Branch Trail
  3. College Loop

 

Catonsville Community College -> End Avalon Shelters #104/#105

  1. College Loop
  2. Santee Branch Trail
  3. Bull Run Trail
  4. Soapstone Reroute
  5. Soapstone Trail
  6. Park road (road)
  7. Avalon Mill Race Trail
  8. Gun Road (road)
  9. River Road (road)

 

Comments

Hoping to run the thru trail this week--similar to Aaron's route, but maybe staying north of the river in the McKeldin/Woodstock area on the trails that are now marked as the Thru Trail.

Take 2:  planning on running the Thru Trail tomorrow (09/19/2020). 

My attempt yesterday was glorious until it wasn’t. I would recommend stopping the route in the Avalon area, where the park boundaries end. The remaining miles on the BGE access road weren’t easy to navigate and I ended up swashbuckling my way thru brambles only to forge creeks that were at least 40% raw sewage with a hint of industrial chemical pollutants. 

Rachel, 

Sorry to hear you had trouble in the Halethorpe area. It can get fairly overgrown this time of year. Best to hold your nose or head further upstream when crossing Herbert Run haha. The park does not end in Avalon though which is why I chose to continue the route through there and to keep the traverse in the spirit of a true "traverse." The Halethorpe area just doesn't get nearly as much traffic as the others. 
Congrats on making it through! 

I am planning on doing Aaron's route soon.  Thank you so much for putting so much effort and detail into this route... I hope to follow it exactly (or as close as possible).  Hope I don't get lost too many times!

I scouted the areas past Avalon Shelter 105 today and as Rachel said, it is nasty.  I plan on finishing at the entrance to the park at the intersection of Park Access Road (Gun Road) and South Street.

Thank you Sean, Rachel, and Aaron for all the great info!

Will be attempting fully unsupported out and back tomorrow (saturday May 8th). Probably gonna sleep in the car tonight at McKeldin and start at 3-4 am. Will give an update within the next week as to how it went. This is the second leg of a project I'm calling the Maryland Triple Double. First leg was a 51 mile lollipop on Catoctin Blue Blaze trail and loop around Catoctin Mountain Park after Bob's Hill (4/24?? I think). Like I said before, this 60 mile out and back tomorrow will be the second leg. The final leg will be a full 82-85 mile out and back on the MD section of the AT. Catoctin was fully unsupported, hopefully Patapsco will be too, but the AT will most likely be self supported as I'll most likely set up little stashes for myself every 15 or so miles... 

 

Wish me luck.. I'm sure ill need it