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

Park Information

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

Subtitle 19 (PDF) 

Things to Remember  

  • Help to keep your parks beautiful -- please take your trash and recyclable items home. Take only pictures and leave only footprints. 
  • 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.


  • Playground 
  • Picnic pavilion
  • ADA parking lot
  • Skate park
Flora and Fauna - We are grateful to the years of service and the countless hours that Jo and Bob Solem have contributed to the Howard County Bird Club. Their contribution has been a valuable asset in the gathering of data and documenting the numerous species of flora and fauna found in our county.

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

 

We strive to operate our programs regardless of weather - canceling is a last resort. However:  

  • While most programs will be held despite the weather, schedules and drop-off points may change. 
  • Should lightning be a factor, outdoor activities may be moved indoors. 
  • If a snow emergency is declared in Howard County, programs may be closed early or canceled. 
  • If a snow emergency is declared in Howard County, all parks are closed. 
  • If schools are closed, delayed or dismissed early due to inclement weather or if the Board of Education suspends after-school activities, Recreation and Parks programs in schools may be affected. 
  • In the event of inclement weather, call the Inclement Weather/Program Status numbers below for up-to-date information. 
  • You should check with your instructor about make-up dates for canceled sessions.

 

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.