Patapsco Valley State Park RV & Campground Guide

Maryland

Stretching 32 miles along the Patapsco River in Maryland, west of Baltimore, you’ll find Patapsco Valley State Park. Founded in 1907, Patapsco Valley State Park is Maryland’s first state park and home to some of the state’s earliest mills and factories, the country’s first freight railroad, and the world’s first submerged hydroelectric plant. Historical sites like these are interspersed throughout the park’s eight recreational areas, which feature verdant forests, babbling brooks, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can admire the beautiful scenery by hiking, running, biking, and horseback riding through over 200 miles of trails that weave throughout the park. Visitors can also fish for trout and bass, paddle in a canoe, or go for a refreshing swim in the Patapsco River.

Every season brings new colors to the park, from the bright greens of spring to the brilliant reds and yellows of autumn, making Patapsco River State Park the perfect place to watch the season change — although be warned that the park often reaches maximum capacity during the summer. Whether you’re looking to escape the city, soak up the outdoors for a weekend, or spend an afternoon in nature, read on for more about what Patapsco Valley State Park has to offer.

National Park Sample Image
Weather
Spring 42-66 F
Summer 64-86 F
Fall 46-68 F
Winter 26-45 F
National Park Sample Image
Trip Planner
Use our FREE RV trip planner to begin customizing the perfect RV trip. Continue
National Park Sample Image

RV Resorts & Campsites in Patapsco Valley State Park

State parks are your fast pass to the great outdoors and there’s no better way to experience them than by traveling in an RV. RVs are the perfect compromise to staying in a tent or hotel: you can immerse yourself in nature without sacrificing indoor plumbing or comfortable beds! RVshare makes it easy to rent an RV catered to your preferences in your area or travel destination. Near Patapsco Valley State Park, you can find RVs in Baltimore and Colombia and stay in campgrounds nearby, including:

Hollofield Area Campgrounds

Centrally located within the park, the Hollofield Area has 73 camping sites available, some with electric hookup. These campgrounds boast stunning views of the Patapsco River Valley — especially in autumn — and easy access to hiking trails like the Ole Ranger Trail and Peaceful Pond Trail and fishing spots along the river. Rates are $25-$35 per night.

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: No
  • Wifi: No
  • Pet friendly: Yes
  • Other amenities: Bathhouse, playground, hiking, fishing, canoeing, swimming, dumping station, firewood for sale

Ramblin’ Pines Campgrounds

These secluded campgrounds are nestled in the woodlands 20 minutes from the park. Along with 200+ RV sites — most with full hookups and cable —  it offers plenty of amenities including mini-golf, horseshoes and a swimming pool. These campgrounds make an ideal base to explore Patapsco Valley State Park and the surrounding area. Rates are $65 per night (two night minimum).

  • Water hookup: Yes
  • Electrical hookup: Yes
  • Sewer hookup: Yes
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Pet friendly: Yes
  • Other amenities: Bathhouse, laundromat, picnic table, fire pits, playgrounds, mini-golf course, swimming pool, game room, sports courts, dog park, exercise room, general store, trampoline, fishing

RV Rentals Near Patapsco Valley State Park

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Patapsco Valley State Park

Inside Patapsco Valley State Park

Covering over 16,000 acres, Patapsco Valley State Park is an expansive park with eight recreational areas and plentiful opportunities to go hiking, running, biking, or horseback riding through winding trails, babbling creeks, and dense woodlands. Visitors can glimpse a piece of Maryland history at different sites like the Old Gun Road Stone Arch Bridge and Orange Grove Flour Mill. Enjoy the flowing waters of the Patapsco River by fishing along the shore, tubing down the river, paddling along in a canoe, or jumping in for a swim. Educational programs abound at the Nature Center (Hilton area), while the Visitor Center (Avalon area) has exhibits on the park’s history, plus concessions.

Pro tip: Before visiting, check the park’s website for alerts, as inclement weather and renovations might affect access to some areas.

Here are popular activities in several of the recreational areas:

Avalon / Glen Artney / Orange Grove Areas - These three areas contain the bulk of the park’s hiking trails and historical sites. In Orange Grove, cross the 300-foot Swinging Bridge to see the ruins of the five-story Orange Grove Flour Mill or hike the 3-mile Cascade Falls Loop Trail to see the impressive Cascade Falls. In Avalon, check out the Thomas Viaduct, the world’s longest multi-arched railroad bridge or explore the Avalon Water Works, a water treatment plant from the early 1800s. If the water is high enough, go swimming, fishing, or paddling on the Patapsco River.

Daniels Area - This secluded area is ideal for fishers, paddlers, and hikers. Check out the Daniels Dam, fish for rainbow trout and smallmouth bass, or launch a canoe and paddle along the river. Hike on Old Alberton Road to see the ruins of Guilford, a former milltown.  

Hilton Area - Kids will love playing on the 2-acre playground filled with recycled tires and learning more about the park’s flora and fauna through Junior Rangers and other kid-friendly programming. Short hiking trails wind through woodlands and glades. 

McKeldin Area - A popular area with equestrians and bikers, this area features scenic views of cascading rapids on the Rapids Trail and other trails. Anglers will enjoy fishing for trout in the shallow pools and fast-moving waters. There is also a disc golf course and basketball courts.

Outside Patapsco Valley State Park

If you’re looking for more excitement outside of the park, then visit nearby Mt. Airy and Ellicott City or take a trip into Baltimore, a city rich in American history and heritage. Baltimore also has a vibrant restaurant scene and solid shopping selection — so you won’t leave hungry or empty handed!

Restaurants

Ellicott Mills Brewing Company

Located in the city’s historic district, this restaurant has microbrews, seasonal beers, and a wide selection of traditional German, Maryland seafood, and American cuisines. Order a specialty brew with a bison burger or crab cake and you won’t be disappointed!

Type: American, German

Location: Ellicott City, MD

Woodberry Kitchen

This factory turned hip restaurant serves farm-fresh New American fare for brunch and dinner. Local favorites like pit beef carpaccio and crab pot pair well with a fancy cocktail or craft beer. You’ll definitely need a reservation before visiting this popular restaurant

Type: American, seafood

Location: Baltimore, MD

La Tavola

Located in Little Italy, this restaurant serves authentic Venetian-style cooking, featuring local seafood and homemade pasta. Open for lunch and dinner, you can’t go wrong ordering rabbit ragu, seafood linguine, or any other pasta dish — with tiramisu for dessert!

Type: Italian, seafood

Location: Baltimore, MD

Shopping

Historic Savage Mill

This former 18th century cotton mill houses cafes, restaurants, and shops. Browse for antiques, crafts, and other unique gifts, then stop for a bite at Rams Head Tavern. Kids will love the outdoor zipline and climbing course.

Location: Savage, MD

The Gallery

Smack dab on Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor, this shopping complex is a good place to start your tour of downtown Baltimore, shop at national retailers and local boutiques, and enjoy people watching. Top off the afternoon with a delicious meal at Miss Shirley’s Cafe.

Location: Baltimore, MD

Sightseeing

Mt. Airy Bowling Lanes

Open 7 days a week, this bowling alley offers 12 lanes of duckpin bowling that the whole family will enjoy. You can also order food and beverages from the full-service snack bar. Games cost $5 per person plus $4 shoe rentals.

Location: Mt. Airy, MD

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum

Housed at the country’s oldest surviving railroad station, this museum features many kid-friendly exhibits and impressive collections, including a historic roundhouse with restored locomotives and steam engines. Admission is $20 for adults and $12 for children.

Location: Ellicott City, MD

The National Aquarium

Kids and adults alike will enjoy visiting this renowned aquarium with over 17,000 fish, crustaceans, mammals, and other creatures in simulated habitats like an Atlantic coral reef and the Amazon River forest. Admission is $39.95 for ages 12-64 and $24.95 for ages 3-11.

Location: Baltimore, MD

Fort McHenry National Monument

This American fort successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from British attack during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to compose "The Star-Spangled Banner." Explore the fort, wander the grounds, and learn about this special moment in American history. Admission is $15

Location: Baltimore, MD

National Park Sample Image

How to Get to
Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park is located in Ellicott City and is accessible from Interstates 695 and 70.

From Interstate 695, take exit 15B to merge onto US-40 West / Baltimore National Pike toward Ellicott City. Follow US-40 West for 3 miles, then turn right into the park’s entrance.

From Interstate 70, take exit 87A to merge onto US-29 South. Drive about 2 miles on US-29, then take exit 24A to merge onto US-40 East / Baltimore National Pike toward Ellicott City. Follow US-40 East for 2 miles, then turn right into the park’s entrance.

Address: 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043

Entering Patapsco Valley State Park

On weekdays, admission is $4 per vehicle ($2 for Maryland residents). On weekends and holidays, admission is $5 per person ($3 for Maryland residents). The park is open every day from 9am until sunset.

Adventure is calling at Patapsco Valley State Park, so get out there and enjoy yourself! Your friends at RVshare would love to follow your travels, so send us your best stories and photos by tagging us on social media or emailing us at [email protected]. Happy (RV) camping!