Patapsco Valley State Park - Hilton Area

The Hilton Area is located off of Hilton Avenue in Catonsville. This area is within walking distance of many residents in Catonsville. A popular spot for afternoon walks and morning workouts, the trails are active with local residents and far away visitors. The Hilton Area is a cool place for families. There is a recycled tire playground for children 5-12 years of age and our nature center is located in this area, too. Though small in size our nature center is the hub for exploration. Our seasonal interpretive programs meet at the nature center offering activities for our young park visitors. Programs like Junior Rangers and Little Sprouts are available to peak a future Ranger’s curiosity. (Check out the Patapsco program schedule for the current schedule of interpretive programs in the park.)

You can also gain access to theThe tire playground at the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park River by traveling down into the river valley along the Forest Glen Trail. This trail follows the Saw Mill Branch Stream and can connect with several trails to make for very interesting hiking adventures. One of the most unique features in this area can be found along the Sawmill Branch Trail – the trail actually takes you boulder hopping in the stream. Many of the trails in Patapsco have stream crossings that are just stepping stones, no bridges, so the hiker might get some wet feet on occasion. This area also has a small campground with six mini-cabins and 12 basic campsites.

Mountain Bikers will enjoy the challenges presented along the Santee Branch Trail as it connects with more challenging trails in this section of the park and in the Glen Artney, Avalon, and Orange Grove areas of the park. Hilton is a place for kids of all ages to play and explore.

Pet Policy

  • Pets are allowed in the day-use area of the Hilton Area of Patapsco Valley State Park.
  • Pets are prohibited in the Hilton Area campground.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the park.

Hilton Amenities

Shelters & Picnicking

Picnic tables are located near the Nature Center and Playground areas.

Shelters are available for use by reservation and carry additional charges for use. There are six rental shelters in the Hilton Area. Make shelter reservations.

Inflatable play equipment and trampolines are prohibited in this area.  Please read the Inflatable Play Equipment Notice.

  • Shelter 201 - Can accommodate a maximum of 100 guests. Alcohol permits available in advance through the reservation service.
  • Shelter 217 - Can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests. Alcohol permits not available.
  • Shelter 220 - Can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests. Alcohol permits not available.
  • Shelter 223 - Can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests. Alcohol permits not available.
  • Shelter 231 - Can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests. Alcohol permits not available.
  • Shelter 245 - Can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests. Alcohol permits not available.

Recycled Tire Playground

A two-acre tire playground is available for 5-12 year olds.


  • Forest Glen Trail - (0.6 miles) This foot-use-only trail has several very steep grades, and connects the end of the Grist Mill Trail to the Hilton Area complex near the recycled tire playground.
  • Santee Branch Trail - (2.4 miles) The Santee is a long trail connecting the Hilton and Glen Artney Areas. The trail follows a power line several times and can be connected with the Vineyard Springs, Grist Mill and Sawmill Branch trails to make a great 4.5 mile loop.
  • Pigs Run Trail - (0.2 miles) This relatively flat trail is nicely wooded and connects the Forest Glen and Santee Branch trails.
  • Saw Mill Branch Trail - (0.9 miles) This trail starts at the end of the Grist Mill trail or off the Buzzards Rock trail. The trail's moderate grade meanders downstream, allowing hikers to view several scenic pools and glades.
  • Charcoal Trail - (0.7 miles) This wide-open trail, which follows the power line, connects the Sawmill Branch and Santee Branch trails.

Trail use can be a wonderful way to enjoy this area. Tips for trail users:

  • Wear appropriate foot wear.
  • Know your route and be prepared for emergencies.
  • Carry water and a snack.
  • First aid kit and safety equipment reccommended.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Let someone know your itinerary and route – cell phones are not reliable in the valley.
  • Help us sustain our trails. Avoid trail use in wet conditions. We recommend you wait at least 24 hours after a rain event before venturing out along the trails again.

Nature Center

A small nature center at Hilton geared towards children. The Nature Center serves as a meeting point for interpretive programs. For current hours call the park office at 410-461-5005.

Family Camping
Campsites – The Hilton Area has 12 tent camping only sites with no electricity.

Read the Hilton Campground Rules and Regulations.

Camper Cabins – Six single room camper cabins offer a fullsize bed and a set of bunk beds, baseboard heat, electric outlets and a single overhead light. No air conditioning is provided.

Youth Group Camping
The Hilton area has four youth group campsites. These are tent camping only sites. Youth Group campers have access to the restroom near Shelter 201.

Youth Group Entry
Youth Groups arriving after Sunset, must call the park headquarters the day prior to your reservation at 410-461-5005, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to obtain additional information for entry into the park. Park gates lock at Sunset.

Camp Hosts are there to assist you during your stay. They can provide information on the park, assist you with emergencies, and provide you with guidance on campground rules and regulations. Camp Hosts are Volunteers. They may spend the entire season or at minimum one month with us. Check out our Volunteer opportunities for more information on the camp host program.

Hilton Service Charges

April through October
Monday through Friday: $2 per vehicle in-state; $4 per vehicle out-of-state
Buses: $10 per bus (a bus is a vehicle that holds more than 9 passengers)
Weekends and Holidays
$3 per person in-state, $5 per person out-of-state
Buses: per person 
November through March
Honor System in effect: $2 per vehicle in-state; $4 per vehicle out-of-state
Buses: $10 (a bus is a vehicle that holds more than 9 passengers)

Admitted Free: Children buckled in safety seats, senior citizens 62 & older with the Golden Age Pass (requires one-time $10 administrative fee), people with the Universal Disability Pass for persons with disabilities, members of the Maryland National Guard & all active duty military personnel who display their active military identification card (complimentary access is permitted for card holder only).

Entry service charges are not included in pavilion/shelter rental costs; they are in addition to those costs. Those wanting to prepay the service charges need to contact the park office before the reservation date.

Hilton Area Directions

Patapsco Valley State Park - Hilton Area
1101 Hilton Avenue
Catonsville MD 21228
GPS N 39-14'44.0 W 076-44'39.0
Link to Google Maps

From I-695 (Baltimore Beltway), take Exit 13, Frederick Road west. follow for two miles and turn left on South Rolling Road. At first intersection, bear right in Hilton Avenue. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right into park.
From I-95, take exit 47 (keep left on exit ramp), heading north (Route 166) to South Rolling Road. Follow 1.8 miles and make a sharp left on Hilton Avenue. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right into park.​​​