Climbing & Hiking Trails - 10 min read

15 Best Baltimore Hiking Trails (Waterfront Views & Dog-Friendly)

Kimberly Anne

Kimberly Anne, Updated October 18, 2022

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Thanks to its booming arts scene, elite sports teams, and unrivaled museums, Baltimore offers a wide range of things to do. Charm City, as it is often called, is not something that most Americans would consider a major tourist destination.

However, Baltimore is worth seeing because of its breathtaking waterfront vistas, epic trails, and fascinating past. The largest city in Maryland and the hub of a 1.5 million-person metropolitan area is Baltimore.

Located on the Chesapeake Bay, this city is a cultural melting pot with diverse neighborhoods and the well-known Inner Harbor. Baltimore is a lively, attractive city with excellent, friendly residents who embrace variety.

Baltimore is perfect for its breathtaking natural scenery and fascinating historical backdrop. Located just a few miles away from forests, woodlands, lakes, and canyons, this city is perfect for outdoor hiking adventures.

Hiking in Baltimore and the surrounding area is a wonderful opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of nature. There are plenty of trails available for every hiking level.

1. Stony Run Park Trail & Walking Path

Credit: Cara Schulte / Friends of Stony Run / Facebook

Trails, play areas, a fishing lake, and other facilities may be found in this 316-acre region. The three miles of mostly-forest, woodland track follow the Stony Run Creek’s contours. The route is rarely broken up by streets or open spaces.

This park and trail layout are exceptional, and the length of the pathways allows it to span fifteen distinct neighborhoods with multiple access points from streets, other parks, and even the backyards of some of the nearby homes.

This kind of layout connects neighborhoods in an innovative way that enables widespread use by a huge number of people from diverse backgrounds.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.5-3-miles
Elevation: 357 ft.

2. Lake Roland Park Red Trail

Credit: Karen Mallonee / Flickr

The main trail becomes the Red Trail at the first split with the Blue Trail. The Lake Roland Red Trail branches off into both the Yellow and Green trails. There are several trails you can choose from at this unique hiking location.

The Red Trail at Lake Roland Park is well-maintained, flat, and has a forested track. Lake Roland appears two-thirds of the way and remains visible throughout. Lake Roland has two pavilions and a new pedestrian bridge near the dam.

This Baltimore trail has paved paths, Acorn Hill, and a children’s playground. There’s also a dog park at Paw Point.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.0-miles
Elevation: 255 ft

3. Patapsco Valley State Park – Avalon Loop Trail


Patapsco Valley’s Avalon Loop Trail has riverfront hiking and mountain bike routes. There are also waterfalls, swimming holes, and a swinging bridge.

Miles of trails wind through these unique regions. The Avalon Loop Trail will send hikers on a tour that includes breathtaking views and historical relics.

Patapsco Valley’s trails have beautiful babbling brooks and charming waterfalls. This wilderness-like atmosphere is only a short distance from Baltimore suburbia.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 20.4-24-miles
Elevation: 433 ft.

4. Patapsco Valley State Park, Soapstone Trail


This 2.6-mile trip in Maryland Soapstone has something to offer just about everyone. The Soapstone Trail is rated as moderate. Soapstone Trail near Baltimore has a river, many wildflowers, and picturesque panoramas.

This hiking trail is one of the best in Baltimore and has plenty of opportunities to see wildlife. This hike is well-liked by locals and tourists who come here to take in Maryland’s splendor. One of the highest summits on this trail is 300ft.

Even though the terrain can be a little difficult to maneuver, you should take your time and put on the right shoes before beginning your excursion. Patapsco Valley State Park, about an hour north of Washington, D.C., is home to the Soapstone Trail Loop.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.7-miles
Elevation: 300 ft.

Related Read: 20 Best Hiking Trails in Maryland

5. Double Rock Park Loop Trail

Credit: Trip Advisor

Another great place to go hiking, even with kids is Double Rock Park. There are playgrounds, hiking, biking, and walking trails. There are also sports fields in this 102-acre county park.

The river, playground, and picnic area are ideal for your next family hike. There are plenty of trees around the area so your journey will be well shaded.

Double Rock Park Loop Trail also has a waterfall – making this one of Baltimore’s best hiking trails. It takes 39 minutes on average to finish this easy route.

You’ll probably stumble across other people while exploring because this region is quite popular for birding, hiking, and trail running. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.6-miles
Elevation: 544 ft.

6. Grist Mill Walking Bridge & Trail

Credit: Bohemian Baltimore / Wikipedia

The 5.0-mile Grist Mill route is in Patapsco Valley State Park. This trail is near Baltimore but located in Catonsville, Maryland. The paved walkway at Grist Mill Walking Bridge goes next to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Patapsco River.

Cross the river to see the old mill’s ruins from 1905. This trail is just near Bloede’s Dam which was considered to be the nation’s first subterranean power-producing plant.

The 1930s-era dam was demolished in September 2017 to rehabilitate the upstream river habitat. This means you’ll be sure to see some wildlife on your hike. Patapsco Valley State Park is one of Maryland’s oldest and this hike is one of the easiest.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.5-5-miles
Elevation: 128 ft.

Related Read: 15 Top Treehouses in Maryland

7. Gwynns Falls


The 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail has nine trailheads to choose from. The Gwynns Falls route follows a stream from Leakin Park to the Middle Branch and Inner Harbor routes.

These prime hiking locations are near the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. Epic and natural trails travel up and down Gwynns Falls and Leakin Park’s 1200 acres, making it perfect for hiking in Baltimore.

The Gwynns Falls Trail is a continuous recreational corridor that connects over 30 neighborhoods in west and southwest Baltimore. Locals and visitors can bike, hike, and rollerblade at Gwynns Falls.

Fishing in the stream, having a picnic after your hike, and bird watching are all options for your outing. This trail is one of the most popular among locals in Baltimore.

Gwynns Falls lets tourists and residents participate in environmental education activities, find tranquility in nature, and hold community festivals.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 15-miles
Elevation: 288 ft.

8. Baltimore Inner Harbor


You get a comprehensive view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on this fantastic hike. Both the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center, which has a planetarium and observatory, are near Inner Harbor, a popular tourist spot.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor hike is a 2.9-mile out-and-back trail. This is a typical easy route that takes a little less than an hour to finish. This unique and historic walk is paved with cobblestones making it different from other hiking areas in Baltimore.

There are numerous places to get a drink or use the restroom at the Inner Harbor. Despite being a popular trail, you might enjoy peace and quiet occasionally. Leashed dogs are allowed.

T&T Tip:  Visit early in the day or late at night because it may get very busy, especially during the summer.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.9-miles
Elevation: 36 ft.

Related Read: 27 BEST Black Owned Restaurants in Baltimore

9. Canton Waterfront Park


You won’t want to miss Canton Waterfront Park, which is a beautiful location for the Korean War Memorial. Canton Waterfront Park is not only a great place to hike but offers overlooks of Fort McHenry.

Discover this 4.4-mile out-and-back trail that is close to Baltimore, Maryland. It usually takes 1 hour and 18 minutes to complete this trail, which we’ve rated as easy.

Canton Waterfront Park route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.4-miles
Elevation: 955 ft.

10. Cylburn Arboretum Loop Trail


Cylburn Arboretum is a city park containing beautiful gardens and trees. This Baltimore hiking trail is magical. It has three and a half miles of wooded pathways. Plus, there’s Victorian and Renaissance-style architecture.

You can take nature hikes here and watch the butterflies and birds. On the trails, you can stroll, hike, or run. On average, it takes 35 minutes to finish the loop trail. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year.

Difficulty: Easy to Challenging
Distance: 1.4-miles
Elevation: 180 ft.

11. Lake Montebello


Lake Montebello is surrounded by a 1.4-mile bike and walking path that serves as a recreational space for the neighborhood. This lake is one of the easy hikes on our list. It takes an average of 27 minutes to complete.

Baltimore’s Lake Montebello trail is an easy hike with beautiful scenery. Biking, trail running, and walking are all common activities on this trail.

The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.4-miles
Elevation: 26.2 ft.

12. Cascade Falls Loop Trail


Discover the 2.3-mile circular route that is close to Catonsville & Baltimore, Maryland. It requires an average of 59 minutes to finish. This hike is quite moderate.

Since mountain biking, trail running, and hiking are all fairly popular activities here, you can stumble into other individuals while exploring.

Cascade Falls Loop route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.3-miles
Elevation: 318 ft.

13. Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Credit: Baltimore Heritage / Flickr

This National Historic Trail is indeed named after the Star-Spangled Banner. This trail honors the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. The United States’ national anthem inspired the 560-mile trail’s moniker.

This trail passes through multiple states. Numerous locations connected to the War of 1812 in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., are marked on this hiking trail.

The military operation that resulted in the creation of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is marked and explained by the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 290-560 miles
Elevation: N/A

Related Read: 25 Best Washington DC Hikes

14. Jones Falls Trail


Jones Falls Trail is in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland. It largely follows Jones Falls, a prominent north-south stream in and north of the city that has historically served as a transit corridor.

Jones Falls Trail is a great outdoor day trip in the Baltimore-Washington area. The best time to visit this Baltimore trail is from spring through fall for epic wildflowers and scenery.

This trail is one of the easiest and most historic in Baltimore. Overall, this trail is great and you can bring your dog.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 11.1-miles
Elevation: 216 ft.

15. Druid Hill Park


Druid Hill Park is one of America’s earliest significant public parks and subsequently Baltimore’s first. Susquehannock tribes frequented this park long before the arrival of the colonies.

Its connection to the Jones Falls stream and other springs made it an ideal place for Indigenous Americans. This trail generally takes 1 hour and 39 minutes.

This 4.9-mile loop trail is easy – making this one of the best hikes in Baltimore. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.9-mile
Elevation: 255 ft.

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