Hike to Cascade Falls, Patapsco Valley State Park

Cascade Falls Trail, MD

An easy hike in Patapsco Valley State Park to a number of waterfalls and opportunities to get in the water. This is a great hike for the whole family.

This family-friendly hike in Patapsco Valley State Park takes you to your first waterfall sighting within only the first 1000 ft of the trail.

As you continue on, you can do some creek walking and wading in the shallow pools of water. When you reach a rock staircase, you can either turn back or continue on for a 2.1 mile hike through the woods.

Back at the parking lot, top off with a swim in the adjacent Patapsco River.

Photo Credit: William Shewbridge

Pack List

  • $2-3 parking fee
  • Walking shoes
  • Water shoes
  • Towel
  • Swimsuit
  • Sun protection
  • Water
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RT Distance 2.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 428 Feet
Activities Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Family Friendly
River
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Hot to get to Cascade Falls

To see Cascade Falls, you need to do 4 things after entering Patapsco Park: 1) drive to the second parking lot of the Avalon Area. It is the smaller parking lot in an area where there are many picnic tables and a shelter near the stream. The road from park entrance to the Avalon Area deads end at this second lot. 2) Locate the Restroom. It is at the EXIT of the second parking lot. 3) Locate the entrance to the Cascade Falls trail. It is next to the right side of the restroom. 4) Walk uphill about 5-10 minutes and you will se the Cascade Falls. As another commenter wrote, it is hard to get on the right trail to go to the Cascade Falls. Fact is, if you take the wrong Cascade Trails head at the ENTRANCE of the second parking lot, you will walk uphill and downhill for miles before seeing the fall. Most folks just give up long before they get to the fall.

No waterfalls? :(

I did this hike in August and per the reviews expected waterfalls or water of some sort. However, I did not see any on this trail! Perhaps they were all dried up or I came at the wrong time. Other than that this trail is very nice, as are the surrounding trails in the Patapsco park. Lots of people on weekends.

Cascade Falls from Avalon Loop Area

I started my trek to Cascade Falls from the Avalon Parking Area. You can take the Ridge Trail (shorter) or the Morning Choice Trail (longer) and both trails will intersect with the Cascade Trail and take you to the waterfall. If you're looking for a longer trek (5+ miles) I'd highly recommend taking one of those trails up - there's diverse scenery and fascinating ruins along the way.


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