Patapsco Valley SP: Cascade Simple & Swing Bridge

Catonsville, MD
Length: 0.50 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

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Looking to hit the iconic Cascade waterfall AND swing bridge…but the kids are teeny and you don’t have the long legs? This is the perfect semi-trail!
Park at the lot in front of the bathrooms….if it’s full there a larger lot adjacent. Head up the pathway next to the bathrooms for a quick switchback. In less than 1/4 mile you’ll be at the falls. It is a drop off along the path, and we have seen all sorts of wildlife so keep excited dashers by the hand.
When crossing the Cascades for a fun or “better” view. Make sure to hold hands and have a spare set of clothing and shoes.
If you climb the rock steps beyond the falls, do not go on the Ridge Trail, follow along Cascade (Blue) and check out the stream, cool rock formations and fungus growing on fallen trees.
To access the swing bridge, return to car. There it is!

As this area had a propensity for flooding… check park service twitter before heading there. It can also fill to capacity in the summer.

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Trail Features

Surface type Dirt
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Creek / River and Waterfall

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

Day Use Service Charges:
November-March: $2/vehicle, out-of-state residents $4/vehicle
April-October: (All areas EXCEPT Pickall)
Weekdays: $2/vehicle, out-of-state residents $4/vehicle
Weekends: $3/person, out-of-state residents $5/person
Day Use Service Charge Pickall Area: $2/person, out-of-state residents $4/person
Hours of Operations:
9 a.m. to Sunset

Trail Contributor

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Hey! I started as a BA in 2016 because I was looking for ways to not only connect with other outdoor fanatics but to also find a way to encourage new parents and caretakers the courage and support to find ways to get outside. There is no greater joy than watching a child come alive outside! I am happy to help you find the best- for you- Trails, Parks and Epic Play areas in and around Maryland….and add some fun facts in the mix.


Trail Map

Getting There

Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove/Lost Lake Areas – From the Beltway (I-695) take Rt. 1 ( Exit 12-A) toward Elkridge. Follow Rt. 1 South about 3 miles to South St. Turn right. Park entrance is on the left.

From I-95 take I-195 to Rt. 1 (Exit 3) toward Elkridge to South St. Turn right. Park entrance is on the left.

From Howard County follow Rt. 1 through Elkridge and into Baltimore County. Turn left on South St. Park entrance is on the left.

Once at toll gate, follow road under bridge until you come to a T, make a left and follow road around. It dead ends and you’re there!