The Cascade Falls Trail in the Patapsco Valley State Park is a charming haven of natural beauty, nestled amidst the lush greenery of Maryland’s forests in Elkridge, Md. It is a perfect retreat for hikers, nature lovers, and anyone seeking solace in the great outdoors. This area is a well-kept secret. Although many know about the various regions of Potapsco Park, this one is a little bit out of the way and one of the best parts. Adding to the attraction is the fact that there is ample parking and both the river and wooded terrain.
The park is not far from BWI Airport. Access to it comes at a nominal cost of $3 per person in the vehicle, a small price for the enriching experience that awaits you. [Click here for directions to Patapsco Valley State Park] When you arrive at the park, it is a bit of a drive (especially at 20 miles per hour!) to get to the area where the falls are located. You’ll pass various picnic areas and some forks in the road – but know to keep driving until you reach the last lot.
Cascade Falls trail, a segment of the sprawling state park, offers a moderately challenging 2.1-mile loop. While it might appear short, don’t let that fool you. The trail meanders through hilly terrains, making for a workout that will engage all of your senses. Novice hikers may find the elevation changes slightly demanding, but the reward is worth the effort. Dogs on leashes are allowed – we see plenty of people wandering the park with their pooch!
The trail is best known for its namesake – the gorgeous Cascade Falls. The falls are tucked about halfway into the trail, providing a stunning vista that serves as an excellent resting point. Here, you’ll be treated to a spectacle of water tumbling down a rocky facade into a serene pool below. The soundtrack of the cascading water, the chirping birds, and rustling leaves makes for an orchestral symphony of nature sounds.
The woodland setting around the trail is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Look out for the towering trees, a variety of birds, and if you’re lucky, some wildlife. The well-marked trail is flanked by vibrant greenery that changes with the seasons, offering a different experience every time you visit.
As you traverse the hilly terrains, make sure to wear appropriate footwear. The trail can get muddy after rain, and the hilly sections can be slippery. Trekking poles can be helpful for those needing additional support.
Despite the hilly nature of the trail, it is surprisingly family-friendly. Children will delight in the small stream crossings, and the falls are an exciting surprise for them. The park also features picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a family day out.
You will definitely want to take photos – the picturesque surroundings, the sparkling stream, and the majestic falls make for some fantastic photo opportunities. Also, carry plenty of water and some snacks to keep you energized throughout the hike.
In conclusion, the Cascade Falls Trail in Patapsco Valley State Park offers a unique blend of adventure, tranquility, and natural beauty. Its varied landscapes and the delightful waterfall amidst a verdant forest make it a must-visit for any nature enthusiast. For a small fee, you get a refreshing getaway from city life and a memorable experience that will leave you longing for more.
Looking for other ideas for things to do: See my list of activities to do with kids in Maryland, my review of North Beach, and my review of Sandy Point State Park.