Even though COVID is clearing up and people in Maryland are out social distancing, some of us are not sure we are ready to party on July 4th… especially if you, family or friends feel like they are vulnerable. So what to do? Get outside and enjoy a Maryland park and trail this weekend!

Patapsco Valley State Park

The Top 10 Trails in Maryland Parks

A hike, bike and a cookout is the perfect way to celebrate a healthy 4th of July weekend. Here are some of the most popular trails in Maryland. Bring your dog too!

  • Cascade Falls Loop Trail Patapsco Valley State Park – Cascade Falls Loop Trail is a 3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Elkridge, Maryland that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Sugarloaf Mountain and Northern Peaks Trail Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area – Sugarloaf Mountain and Northern Peaks Trail is a 5.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Dickerson, Maryland that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail Catoctin Mountain Park – Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Thurmont, Maryland that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • King and Queens Chair Loop Rocks State Park – King and Queens Chair Loop is a 3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Street, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Cascade Falls Trail Patapsco Valley State Park – Cascade Falls Trail is a 2.1 mile out and back trail located near Ellicott City, Maryland that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Falling Branch Trail to Kilgore Falls Rocks State Park – Falling Branch Trail to Kilgore Falls is a 1.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pylesville, Maryland that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
  • Swallow Falls Canyon Trail Swallow Falls State Park – Swallow Falls Canyon Trail is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Oakland, Maryland that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Little Gunpowder Trail to Jerusalem Mills Trail Loop Gunpowder Falls State Park – Little Gunpowder Trail to Jerusalem Mills Trail Loop is a 4.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Kingsville, Maryland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Cromwell Valley Park and Loch Raven Cromwell Valley Park – Cromwell Valley Park and Loch Raven is a 3.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Parkville, Maryland that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
  • Avalon Loop Trail Patapsco Valley State Park – Avalon Loop Trail is a 20 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Baltimore, Maryland that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Some Tips and Status from DNR about Maryland Parks

For Maryland State Park Visitors:

In accordance with federal guidelines and state directives pertaining to COVID-19, we want to share important information about Maryland State Parks.

Here’s what we are doing:

  • We have implemented additional cleaning procedures, according to federal guidelines, such as more stringent and frequent cleaning of restrooms.
  • Working with our various partners, certain programs and events are being postponed or canceled, to help keep visitors safe.
  • We have temporarily closed to the public some areas where people may congregate indoors, including all visitor centers, administrative buildings, certain concessions, as well as all nature/interpretive centers.
  • Some parks are utilizing portable toilets at this time rather than opening park restrooms.
  • Please visit the Department of Natural Resources FAQ site for more information about specified activities in State Parks.
  • We are monitoring the situation. As conditions change, so may our policies on park visitation and overnight stays. We will keep you informed of any changes moving forward.

State Park Operating Status:

  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park: Closed
  • Picnic Shelters: Most shelters are available for use, but some remain closed at Patapsco Valley, Seneca Creek and Sandy Point State Parks.
  • Playgrounds have been reopened.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Pack extra soap or hand sanitizer to be safe. Please take into consideration the health of others when spending time outdoors.
  • If you are sick or have been sick over the past two weeks, please stay home to recuperate.
  • If the parking lot is full when attempting to visit a park, leave and either visit a different approved location, or return home and visit at another time when the park is not busy.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility. We appreciate your support of Maryland State Parks as we all work together to keep each other safe.​​​​