Please check our main Recreation & Parks webpage for all updates.


South Branch Park

Address: 350 West Friendship Rd, Sykesville Md. 21784

Phone: 410-313-4700

Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, or as posted

Directions: Google Maps | PDF

This 7.5 acre Park is located across the Patapsco River from the town of Sykesville. The first phase is now complete and open. It includes two age-specific playgrounds, a picnic pavilion and ADA parking lot. Phase two, which includes a new skate park, will begin construction in the spring of 2015. The existing skate park will remain open until construction begins.

South Branch Park Plan

Get up to date information about Park development and other construction projects across the county

Click HERE

Park Information

Rules and Regulations

To Report a Park Concern

To report damage or park concerns, leave a message on the Department's hot-line, 410-313-DIRT (3478). For emergencies dial 911.

Park Rules

The purpose of these regulations is to provide a safe and peaceful use of County parks and park land; for recreational and educational benefit and enjoyment; and for the protection and preservation of the property, facilities and natural resources of the County. Park land and recreation programs conducted on park land are open for use by all members of the public regardless of race, religion, creed, color, sex, national origin, or disability. Click on the links below for more information about our regulations.

Howard County Code

Title 19 - Recreation and Parks

Things to Remember  

  • Help to keep your parks beautiful -- please take your trash and recyclable items home. Take only pictures and leave only footprints. 
  • Dogs are prohibited on all Department of Recreation & Parks athletic fields.
  • Dogs must be secured by a leash or lead and under control of a responsible person capable of immediate and effective restraint of the animal.
  • Dog droppings may attract disease-harboring pests, and even a friendly dog can scare the birds, wildlife and park visitors. Clean up after your dog and keep it leashed; it's the law. 
  • All of our parks are inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife such as deer, snakes, fish, rabbits, insects and birds. Please do not disturb them; remember, this is their home.

Howard County Bans Smoking in All County Parks

In a continued effort to be a model public health community and preserve its rank as Maryland’s Healthiest County, Howard County was the first jurisdiction in Maryland with a total ban on smoking and tobacco products of any kind in all the 57 County-owned parks and recreational areas. Enforcement will take the form of requesting voluntary compliance. However, if a smoker does not extinguish a smoking product, park staff will remind them of the new policy and could request exiting the property if they choose to continue smoking.

For more information about the ban, to read the Executive Order or to learn more about smoking cessation programs, click here.

Amenities/Natural History

  • Playground 
  • Picnic pavilion
  • ADA parking lot
  • Skate park

Park Map

Park Map coming soon

Contact/ Inclement Weather

Howard County Recreation & Parks 

7120 Oakland Mills Road 

Columbia, MD 21046 


410-313-4700 General Information (M-F, 8 AM-5 PM) 

410-313-4660 FAX 

410-313-4665 TTY (for the hearing impaired) 

410-313-PARK (7275) Registration (M-F, 8 AM-4:30 PM)


Inclement Weather/Program Status Information: 410-313-4451



Planning & Development

Construction is complete on the First Phase of improvements for the 7.5 acre South Branch Park, located across the Patapsco River from the town of Sykesville. New facilities include a playground and a picnic shelter, connected by a paved accessible walkway to two handicap parking spaces. The old water-tower, which had become a hazard, has already been taken down. The project is being done in conjunction with the Town of Sykesville, which has been renting and maintaining the property for the past several years under an agreement with the County. Construction has begun on the new skate park area.

In the spring, a charrette was held in the Town Hall to gather ideas from the public for the use of the historic warehouse known as the “Apple Butter Factory.” Future plans will include renovations to enable the re-use of the building, as well as provide additional parking. An existing concrete slab that is currently used for skateboarding, will also undergo future improvements as a skate-park. New amenities, such as benches and historic interpretive signage for the historic structures on the site, will also be added.

The park serves as a gateway to both Howard and Carroll Counties, and has been enjoyed for limited passive recreation since its acquisition by the County in 1994, and the addition of a small parking area, fencing and landscaping. The site is the location of several historic structures, including the Sykes House, and a Weigh Station for farm produce that was canned at the Apple Butter Factory. 

That section of the park will be closed to visitors for the duration of the construction, which will last several weeks.