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 http://www.dnr.state.md.us 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