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Best park: Patapsco Valley State Park

Spanning four counties, Patapsco Valley State Park encompasses more than 16,000 acres and stretches along 32 miles of the Patapsco River. The park has more than 170 miles of trails, of which 70 are maintained. Some trails are only open to hikers, while others are available to mountain bikers and equestrians. In addition to waterfalls, campsites and pavilions, the park is also home to historic bridges, aqueducts and dams.

Headquarters: 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/patapsco.aspx 

— Sarah Meehan

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Patapsco Valley State Park
Patapsco Valley State Park (Nate Pesce / Baltimore Sun Media Group)
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