Sykesville/River Road

Patapsco Valley State Park

River Road, Sykesville Maryland 21784
  • Size: The Sykesville/River Road section of the 14,000-acre Patapsco Valley State Park (PVSP) gives access to two areas: a mile long section of River Road along the Patapsco River and a several hundred acre upland scrub section.
  • Habitat: Floodplain and mature deciduous forest adjacent to the Patapsco River. Farther up River Road former farmland is now overgrown with shrubs and grasses creating a successional scrubland habitat.
  • Best Months: April and May; September and early October. Because some Neotropical species breed here, it can also be worth a late spring or early summer visit. The river section is very popular on warm weekends. Check with the Department of Natural Resources at for seasonal hunting dates along the river south of River Road and in the scrubland.
  • Coverage Time: Several hours to a half day.
  • Trails/Paths: The section adjacent to the river is mostly roadside birding with a short trail up a stream valley. The scrubland habitat higher on the slope has a network of several miles of trails.
  • Notable Birds: Wild Turkey, American Woodcock, nesting Cliff Swallows, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged-warbler, Yellow Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lincoln's Sparrow.
  • Amenities: None. Sykesville, across the river, has a visitor center with facilities, as well as several restaurants
  • Handicapped Access: There is roadside birding at the river from the small parking lot at the stream 0. 6 miles south of the MD 32 bridge and several shoulder pullouts. A generally level dirt trail leads up a stream valley. The scrubland grassy trails are generally level to moderate slopes with occasional muddy areas.
  • Operation and Hours: State park hours are 8:00 a.m. till dusk or as posted. No fee area.
  • Special Attractions: Easy access to the Patapsco River, plus a Cliff Swallow colony under the MD 32 bridge. Scrubland habitat with species unusual for the PVSP.
  • Bow Hunting: See deer hunting guide.
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Compilers: Scott Berglund and Felicia Lovelett

© 2008