Patapsco Valley State Park (XII) – Old Court rd. – 8.3 miles

11/22/2020 Paved trailhead – Thru Trail (white) – lower Thru Trail following Patapsco River towards North – Chevrolet Trail – Quarry Trail – Church Trail – Joe’s Trail – Quarry Trail – Paved trailhead

Elevation gain: 554ft

Approximate address: 10968-10992 Old Court rd. Woodstock, MD 21163

Latitude 39.331897 / Longitude -76.869958


We are back on Old Court Rd. to follow Thru Trail towards North this time. Even tho it’s early and only a few cars are parked on the side of the road, I park our car far away from the entrance. I feel like accidental crashes here are less possible.

After approaching the paved trailhead – and letting about 10 bikers go ahead – we yet again take the first opportunity on our left to leave it. I like natural trails more, even though both would lead us to the split of Quarry and Thru trails.

Entering the trails

After splashing through a small creek we keep to the left and….

….almost immediately hit the “beach”.

The Old Court Rd. bridge in the distance

Following the shore for a minute leads us to a pretty cool discovery. Thousands of tiny crawfish packed against each other trying to find their way to their next chapter in life.

After getting back on the trail, within a few hundred feet it splits again even tho it does not show on AllTrails. We keep left again climbing a slight hill up onto an overlook above the river bend.

The lookout

The elevation continues beyond the cliff than while downhill, the scenery turns into more of a pulp fiction setting. The path changing between just a foot to a wide double path, scattered with fallen trees and slippery rock formations. Crawling under limbs and pushing Mag up on vertical boulders makes this portion somewhat challenging.

It only lasts for a short while, until we come across a clearing through the forest. We have been on the other side before and my mind wonders…. “If only I could take a picture of ourselves when we were there, I would wave to my future self.” (5/31/2020 Hoco Thru Trail).

Crossing the clearing reunites is with the main character of this chapter, Thru Trail so we hop back on it to continue our tale.

By the way….following the clearing to the East could be used as a cut through connecting to Quarry Trail. This move would cut our hike more than a mile short. That’s a no go for us! See! We would have missed this beaver chomp if not staying long this path….

Beaver marks

In a short while we come across Horse Hockey Up and Down Trail on our right which is a loop coming back to Thru Trail within 0.3 mile ahead of us. We stay close to the water to enjoy it as much as possible. Faster than a rocket ship we find ourselves at the joining of North Branch Patapsco to Patapsco River and another wonderful, long beachy area.

Across there is another past hike we have done back on 4/4/2020, the McKeldin Switchback Trail. Highly recommend it!

North Patapsco is super low, we could cross it at several different locations. At one point we are in the middle of the riverbed and I recognize a boulder we’ve sat on photographing Canada Geese lazily swimming towards us, back in April.

By the time we return to the trail we have reached the forth and final bend of the river on this hike. This is our Northern most point and we slowly start heading back towards South and away from Patapsco. Before the woods swallow us again I hear a Kingfisher then for a split second I also get a glimpse of it fly over the river. What a day!

We meet our first “caravan” of people on this portion before we hike up to a plateau bordering private property just before Chevrolet Trail.

This is when I notice the small pond aka Quarry on the map and decide to head that way. We come across this haunted Chevy while in the forest.

I could only guess that the theme changes

The view from above the quarry is absolutely wonderful. We almost end up circling the small body of water.

Water level

I chose Church Trail to finish the last leg of our hike. This makes our loop a bit longer than just following Quarry Trail straight back down. Even though it seems like we are in the middle of the woods nearby traffic from Old Court Rd. is already seeping through the forest unfortunately. It also seems like we are below BWI’s or Dullas’s flight path.

Idyllic Church Trail

At a tiny bridge across a tiny creek we attempt a cut through trail which within 30 feet disappears and even though I try to follow it, we end up turning back when I spot hunter’s crow’s nests settled across a field. Better be safe than sorry….we are turning back.

It’s funny how a bird – a Bluejay maybe – can sound like a crying baby in the middle of the woods.

By the time we catch up with Quarry trail again, two water towers peek through the forest. They belong to Woodstock Job Corp Center, according to the map.

While looping around this facility – way below – we come across this beautiful waterfall, cascading over a possibly hundred year old broken retaining wall.

Passing by this little beauty, our next view is anything but sight for sore eyes. Barrels, tires, rusted cars, metal objects, appliances…. It’s a disgrace.

How no one is accountable for any of this for decades?

By the time I get over my tirade we are back to the river, splashing through yet again the tiny creek at Thru Trail, “racing” other people to the finish line. Funny enough the bike squad that passed us when getting on the trailhead when we started is back as well.

We climb back to the car avoiding the road, staying inside of the guardrail. After cleaning Mag and taking off my boots I take a map screen shot, then we had back home.

Wonderful hike as always! Minus the trash….

So, remember….

Thank you for reading. Hope to see you on one of the trails….

Published by magzilla44

Magzilla, our AMSTAFF has rescued us in 2017 on a rainy day in May. It was a rough start because we didn’t know anything about him after him walking up on our property. But he has showed us what an amazing person he is and things became happily ever after pretty quick. He is very social, both with people and other pets. He loves his cat sisters and brothers and off course walking.

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