Patuxent Branch Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Patuxent Branch Trail is part of a 20-mile trail system over and around the rolling hills of Howard County that follows a former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line along the Patuxent River.

The trail begins in Savage Park. Follow signs along the trail indicating the direction to Lake Elkhorn. When you reach Vollmer Hausen Road, turn left and stay on the sidewalk to find the trail where it picks up on the other side of the road at the bottom of this short hill. A crosswalk eases you across this busy road.

A little more than half of the trail is paved (from Lake Elkhorn to the Pratt Bridge), and the other half has a gravel surface, which can get muddy in wet weather. A small portion of the trail includes a bridle path. Ten bridges help keep you dry as you travel through this flood plain. The most impressive, the 1902 Guilford Pratt Truss Bridge, is a symbol of Howard County's two most important industries-the railroad and the granite quarry. Signs along the trail explain the historical significance of both industries, and the trail will take you straight through the grounds of a quarry that operated until 1928.

The rail-trail ends at Lake Elkhorn, but picnic facilities, a playground, parking, a boat slip, and a walking and biking path around the lake may keep you going. Or you can head back to the Savage Park entrance of the Patuxent Branch Trail and pick up the flatter and shorter Savage Mill Trail that begins just a few blocks away.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Savage Park entrance from Interstate 95, take State Route 32 (Patuxent Parkway) east and turn right on US 1 (Baltimore Washington Blvd.), heading south toward Laurel. Turn right on Gorman Road and right again on Foundry Street. Turn left onto Washington Street and follow it to the end, where you take a right onto Fair Street, which ends at the park. Take the road in the parking lot to the right until it ends at a smaller parking lot at the trailhead.

To access the Lake Elkhorn entrance from Interstate 95, take SR 32 (Patuxent Parkway) west then Broken Land Parkway north toward Owen Brown. The lake (and a parking lot next to the playground and boat slip) will be on your right.

Reviews

A cyclist's favorite

   December, 2013 by hummingbird12

This is an excellent trail, but like the other commenter said you do have to be alert to other cyclists, runners, and walkers. If you continue on from Little Patuxent Park past Lake Elkhorn towards the Columbia Mall, be sure to have at least one riding ...read more

Nice Ride

   October, 2013 by coughlin.mec

Nice leisurely bike ride with plenty of shade and a few good hills. The trail was in great condition. Watch your speed on the straight-aways. There are lots of pedestrians and other bicyclists that use this trail and they all seemed to be hiding just ...read more

Patuxent Branch Trail

   August, 2011 by ssiesser

I road this trail from Savage Park to Lake Elkhorn yesterday and it was a great ride. Beautiful landscape and very peaceful with enough hills and dales to make it both challenging uphill and provide fast coasting downhill. I discovered that at the far ...read more