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Best Place to Hike

Patapsco Valley State Park

8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, (410) 462-5005,

Posted 9/19/2007

The scenery is not terribly dramatic and the terrain is not super-technical, but we love Patapsco Valley State Park just the same. It's a large park (32 miles of trails over more than 14,000 acres) but user-friendly, with well-marked trails and plenty of picnic and parking areas and without being completely dumbed down for the urbanites and suburbanites it attracts in droves. Scramble up rocky slopes and cross knee-deep creeks if you're adventurous and looking for a challenge; stroll along lazy paths winding along the banks of the Patapsco River and do a little wading if you just want to relax and take in the scenery; explore the Avalon area's Thomas Viaduct, swinging bridge, and the ruins of the Avalon Iron and Nail works if you're into the history thing. There's a lot to love about this park--but perhaps the thing we love most of all is that it's so close to home: We can leave the city and in less than half an hour be in the middle of the woods, staring at the river.

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Other Awards for Best Place to Hike:

Robert E. Lee Park, 9/17/2008

Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, 9/20/2006

Rocks State Park, 9/21/2005

Oregon Ridge Park, 9/22/2004

All Awards for Patapsco Valley State Park:

Best Hiking, 9/16/2009

Best Park, 9/19/2001

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