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Best running trails in McKeldin Recreation Area

Running here is a little trickier than the lower Patapsco Park near Elkridge, but it can be done

  • I want to share the route I take when I go running on the trails in McKeldin Recreation Area.

    Start out at the parking lot just above the dam, not the one closest to the dam, the one at the top of the hill.



    Follow the rapids trail down to the beach, then when the trail forks go straight, don’t keep following the rapids trail, those rocks aren’t fun to run on.

    Follow Switchback across bridge, gain elevation, then you want to fork right take the trail that goes back down to the rapids trail.

    Follow the trail along the river ALL THE WAY, following the river until you past the first entrance to the plantation trail on the left.

    Don’t take that one, well, you can, but the better hike is further up.

    Follow the switchback trail until you see the next entrance to the plantation trail. This one is much steeper.

    Follow the plantation up up AND UP to the highest point in the park, you’ll know you’re close after a very steep incline, you’ll notice a fork to the right and if you follow it you’ll come to a high summit with a pole with a white flag.

    Anyway, keep going on the plantation trail, this is my favorite part of the park.

    Keep going until you come to the meadow. Keep going through the meadow, across the road, onto the tall poplar trail, go left at fork. Follow the tall poplar all the way back to your car, fork to to the left to get back to parking lot where you started.

    Love this park, so beautiful, and running on it is great.

    I think this circuit totals to a little over 3 miles.

    Watch your footing, hope to see some of you out there!

    Wonderful photo of the rapids at McKeldin thanks to local photographer Daniel Hart. He studied his craft in the army for 8 years as a combat photographer, though nowadays he’s toned down the action a little and has been photographing nature, however he still enjoys the rush of adrenaline when capturing the perfect moment. Visit Daniel’s website here to see more of his awesome work.

    He hosts a workshop called PhotoTrekkers along with Christos J. Palios that takes nature lovers on “photo” hikes where they hone their skills behind the lens. Their next event will be June June 22, 2013 at 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at Patapsco State Park, Ellicott City, MD. Learn more here.

    McKeldin Recreation Area in Carroll County, MD, just over the Patapsco River - Photo by Forsaken Fotos

    The rapids from the lower branch of the Patapsco River comes barreling over some rocks by the train tracks near the start of the hike. Photo by Daniel Hart.

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