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Enjoy Nature on the Patapsco Heritage Greenway

The Patapsco River Valley is one of the earliest parts of our country that was explored and settled. Captain John Smith himself explored the Patapsco River in 1608, and settlers started calling it home in the 1690s. The Patapsco Heritage Greenway is a project dedicated to two aims: protecting the valley and telling its story. Patapsco Heritage Greenway

The Ellicott family, the namesake of Wayside’s own Ellicott City, was responsible for making the region a grain producer. You can learn more about the area’s fascinating story on the Patapsco Heritage Greenway website.

Part of preserving the Patapsco Heritage Greenway comes from people enjoying the natural heritage the place offers. From hiking to biking, rock climbing to bird watching, the Patapsco Heritage Greenway makes the river valley one of our favorite places to enjoy.

Hiking and Biking

The Patapsco Heritage Greenway Trail map shows the many hikes and biking routes you might enjoy. The regional trails even cross paths with two national trails: the East Coast Greenway and the American Discovery Trail.

Note: the trail within the Patapsco Heritage Greenway is the only portion currently suitable for inexperienced bikers.

Two Patapsco Heritage Greenway trails worth exploring are the Grist Mill Trail and the Grist Mill Trail Extension.

The Grist Mill Trail, near Avalon, which includes a horse path. At just 1.4 miles and ADA accessible, there are plenty of fine views and historical sites to enjoy . The Grist Mill Trail Extension includes a suspension bridge accessible for pedestrians and bikes.

Bird Watching

Bird watchers rejoice: The Patapsco Heritage Greenway offers sights of shore birds and forest birds, and even birds found near urban development. Check out the Great Backyard Bird Count to learn more about Patapsco feathered friends.

Rock Climbing

In the watershed of Pataspco Heritage Greenway, several opportunities for rock climbing in granite quarries and outcroppings are available. A popular spot for climbers is the Illchester Rocks near Bloede Dam. For more information about this climb, click here.

Mountain Biking and Horseback Riding

According to the Patapsco Heritage Greenway website, all of the trails within the Park are mapped and designated as to the type of activities (hiking, biking, horseback riding ) permitted on each trail section.

Maps showing specific trails for horse riding can be picked up in the Hollofield Headquarters at the Avalon History Visitor Center. You can also download trail maps here.


The Patapsco Heritage Greenway offers a wonderful mix of history, heritage and nature for anyone, from casual hikers to conservationists. However you choose to enjoy the Greenway, we’d love to offer you accommodations at the Wayside Inn. Whether you’re looking for a charming historical hideaway or a comfortable, inviting place to rest weary legs after a long day of hiking or biking, Wayside Inn can make it happen.

Our convenience not just to the Patapsco Heritage Greenway but to any number of historical and natural Americana sites makes Wayside Inn the perfect choice.

To learn more about the area, check out our vacation guide. To book accommodations, click here.


Photo Credit: Patapsco River under Route 40 / Michelle Carrass / Flickr