Patapsco Valley State Park

September 18th, 2007

This weekend, my wife and I took a short hike through a very small section of Patapsco Valley State Park in Elkridge, Maryland. I had seen a few pictures on Flickr showing a beautiful cascading waterfall off of one of their trails. We decided to go and try to get some pictures of our own. Unfortunately, the low water levels created a much less impressive waterfall, but we still had a great, relaxing, time visiting the park.

Patapsco Valley State Park Waterfall

We were happy to find a number of smaller waterfalls up and down the area from the main falls. In many ways, I found the smaller waterfalls more interesting than the main one. One thing I did notice is that the pools underneath the waterfalls contained very little wildlife besides some common water bugs.

Patapsco Valley State Park Waterfall

Upstream, however, was a different case. In areas with more vegetation on the banks, we spotted several large schools of fish, newts, and frogs hopping from the banks into the water on our arrival.

Patapsco Valley State Park Stream

The creek itself was quite barren of plant life, containing only a rocky/sandy substrate. The small fish, which I believe could be blacknose dace, persistently tried to take cover in the shadows under rocks, but their shear numbers made that a laughable endeavor.

Patapsco Valley State Park Fish

Throughout the watershed, I spotted a large number of Polygonum-looking plants, but none of them submersed. I suspect this is due to the shady habitat of the forest, the fast-moving current in the streams, and the barren rocky substrate in the water.

Patapsco Valley State Park Waterfall

The forest itself is quite beautiful, with huge moss-covered rocks providing the stronghold for trees to take root along the waterside. I was happy to see that the trails themselves were not littered with significant garbage or human impact, detracting from the natural setting.

Patapsco Valley State Park Scene

Besides the already mentioned wildlife, we spotted several butterflies, spiders, and even some whitetail deer. One tree branch (below) was covered a cotton-like substance, that upon closer inspection turned out to be some sort of insect larvae/pupa. If anyone can identify these guys, I’d be grateful.

Some Sort of Larvae

Patapsco Valley State Park is a large area of land stuck right in the middle of overdeveloped areas of Baltimore and Howard counties. We really only experienced a very small section of the park. I’m sure we could spend an entire summer hiking through all of the trails without seeing everything there. I hope to do some more exploring of the trails, and most of all, hope to get some more waterfall pictures when the water levels are more impressive.

Patapsco Valley State Park Waterfall

8 Responses to “Patapsco Valley State Park”

  1. Cayusa Says:

    Sorry the water was so low for you. It really is a nice fall when the water level is up.

  2. Lolly Knitting Around » Blog Archive » Equinox Says:

    […] More photos on Kris’s blog […]

  3. Maryn Says:


  4. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks Maryn. 🙂

  5. Amy Artisan Says:

    Stopping over via Lolly’s blog – what great pictures Kris. It looks like it was a great outing – so tranquil.

  6. Patapsco Valley State Park - Winter Quiet-- Guitarfish Says:

    […] weekend, my wife and I made went hiking in Patapsco Valley State Park. We’ve been to the park before to see some small waterfalls, but this time that part of the park was closed, so we took to the […]

  7. Back to the Falls-- Guitarfish Says:

    […] President’s Day, and the 70 degree weather outside, my wife and I decided to hike back to the falls at Patapsco Valley State Park. You may remember that the last time we visited them in autumn, that the falls were reduced to […]

  8. Pat Says:

    I am 29 years old and grew up in and around this park. I have spent most of my life exploeing it except the past few years witch i have been very busy. this truley is one of the most beautifull and diverse parks I have ever seen. i know just about every single mile of it. I love this place, It’s one of the only places that makes me fell like I am home, if you can understand that.