Baltimore County Parks

Kids playing at Patapsco State Park

Itching to get out of the house but want to stay socially distanced? Thankfully there are plenty of Baltimore County Parks that you can go explore! Here are some of my favorites, what I love about them and links to trail maps!

Loch Raven Reservoir

My #1 favorite Baltimore county park would have to be Loch Raven. There are so many fun things to do here, you could come back several times and always do something different! Some of my favorite activities are:

  • Loch Raven Beach- this is the perfect place to pack a picnic and watch the sunset over the water. There are TONS of geese that are always hanging around which is entertaining to see. This is a large area which makes it easy to spread out and there is plenty of parking along the road
  • Go fishing- Loch raven boat rentals make it easy to rent a boat for a few hours and throw a line in. They offer 14ft Jon boats ($30-$57 per day), rowboats ($19 per day), and kayak ($19 per day) rentals. There are also plenty of spots to walk down to the water and fish off shore. View boat rental information here.
  • Hiking- There are over 50 miles of trails here that lead you to gorgeous views of the water and are accessible throughout different areas of Loch Raven Reservoir. View trail maps here.

Cromwell Valley

My #2 favorite Baltimore County park is Cromwell Valley just outside of Towson. Cromwell Valley offers the following:

  • Hiking trails- these trails are pretty easy and will lead you through woods, fields and to the stream. View trail map here
  • Explore in the stream- For easy access to the stream, head down the blue Minebank trail which starts at the parking lot. Walk maybe 5 minutes down the flat, gravel trail and you will start to find entrance points to the stream. The stream is calm enough that you can go in and splash around easily.
  • Attend an event- Each month Cromwell Valley holds events such as Bird watching walks, insect safaris, art classes, night walks and more. Check out their events page here.

Oregon Ridge

Oregon Ridge

My #3 favorite Baltimore County park is Oregon Ridge in Hunt Valley. Check out these fun things to do there:

  • Visit the nature center- Living classroom with live native animals, nature library, outdoor animal enclosures, nature observation area and more. Find out more about the nature center here.
  • Hiking trails- the trails here are more moderate I would say but take you through fields, woods, a stream and around the pond. View trail maps here. Bring a lunch to enjoy under one of the pavilions.
  • Events- Each month Oregon Ridge holds fun events such as story time, bird walks, crafts and more. Check out their event schedule here.
  • Playgrounds- there are a few playgrounds throughout the park.

Stroller Friendly Baltimore County Parks

Maybe you are in the mood for a little more casual outing where you can just get some fresh air without hiking. These are my two favorite Baltimore County Parks that are stroller friendly.

The NCR trail

  • This compacted gravel trail starts at Paper Mill Rd in Hunt Valley and goes all the way up to York, PA. There are about 20 different access points along the way you can park at and hop on the trail. The beginning portion of the trail runs along the Gunpowder river. View trail access points here.
  • I personally have done the lower parts of the trail (Paper Mill-Blue Mt.) and they are very shaded which is great for staying cool.
  • You can access the river at certain points however to get down to these points can be pretty steep and rugged. Not advisable with a little one.

Patapsco State Park

  • Check out the Orange Grove area where there is a paved trail (Grist Mill trail) after you cross the swinging bridge. There are many different access points to Patapsco but this trail is one of my favorites. It is a wide, paved trail that is flat and easy to walk. View the different areas of the park and maps here.
  • Throughout the Grist Mill trail there are many access points to walk down into the river.
  • There is a fee to enter the park which is $2 to $3 depending on the time of year and weekend/week day.

Want more information on great hikes and parks to explore? Check out Hike It Baby Baltimore. Prior to Covid they would host hiking meet ups in various counties in Maryland. Now they feature different parks with “virtual hikes” so you can still get an idea of different areas to explore. Find out more about Hike It Baby Baltimore here.

Once you go and visit these Baltimore County parks you will see why they are also some of my favorite places as a Baltimore family photographer!

Happy hiking!

View my blog post about Fun things to do with kids in Maryland

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