Hundreds of bird sightings have been recorded in Southern Maryland including blackbirds, buntings, bald eagles, chickadees, gulls, rails, vireos, thrushes, owls, geese, swans, ducks and vultures. Many sites offer a checklist.
The Indian Head Rail Trail (IHRT) is located just 18 miles south of our Nation’s Capital in Southern Maryland. The trail has a gentle grade that is perfect for trail users of all skill levels. From the town of Indian Head, the trail quickly transitions into a very unique natural outdoor experience with surroundings of mature forests, natural wetlands, and farmland. The trail continues for 13 miles ending on Theodore Green Boulevard in White Plains.
Along the IHRT there are interpretive signs that highlight various natural habitat areas and wildlife species, giving visitors the opportunity to view beaver dames, bald eagles, wild turkey, white tail deer, and herons. This multi-use trail provides walkers, runners and cyclists a serene place to enjoy recreation away from the congestion of traffic.
A paved 13 mile long, ten foot wide path
Wildlife viewing areas
Pavilions and benches
Drinking fountains at trail heads
Keep to the right of the trail except when passing
Move off the trail when stopped
Cyclists (should give an audible “on your left” warning when passing
Ride/walk single file during busy periods
Dogs must be kept of 6 foot non-retractable leash
Familiarize yourself with all trail rules
Respect wildlife by keeping a distance and limiting your stay
Obey all traffic signs, stop at all road crossings and yield to oncoming traffic
Be aware of your surroundings, know your location on the trail and carry a cell phone
Respect the rights and privacy of adjacent property owners
Indian Head (Trail Head) – Follow Route 210 south to Indian Head. Parking is located at the Village Green Town Park. T he trail starts at Mattingly Ave about ½ mile from parking area, follow signs.
Route 224 – Follow Route 301 to La Plata and turn onto route 225 west. Travel approximately 9.3 miles and turn right onto Route 224. Parking is about ½ mile on the left. Follow Route 201 to Bryans Road and turn onto route 224 south. Travel approximately 3.8 miles and parking will be on your right. Parking for about 20 cars.
Middletown Road – From Route 301 turn onto Route 227 (Marshalls Corner Road). Travel 1.7 miles and turn right onto Middletown Road. Trail parking is approximately ¼ mile on right. Parking for about 16 cars.
Theodore Green Boulevard (Trail Head) – Follow Route 301 to White Plains, located just south of Waldorf. Turn onto Theodore Green Blvd and trail parking will be located about 3/10 of a mile on the right. Parking for 75+ cars.
Situated at the north end of the St. Mary’s River watershed, in the center of the county, the park consists of approximately 2,000 acres of land with a 250-acre fishing lake. The relatively flat landscape of St. Mary’s County is not usually thought of as mountain biking terrain; however, the nine-mile course encircling the 250-acre lake at St. Mary’s River State Park is a little known treasure. This course is also available for hiking.
Located at the tip of St. Mary’s County at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay, Point Lookout served as a watch post during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. During the Civil War, it served as a Union hospital and a prison camp for captured confederate soldiers. There are 143 wooded campsites available; 26 of these have full hook-ups. 31 of these have electric. One campsite for youth groups is also available; reservations are required for the youth group site by calling the park. The park features three fishing areas available 24 hours, including a 710 foot pier (24 hour operation May 1-November 30). A valid Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing license and appropriate stamps are required. Swimming is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Lifeguards are on duty. The beach area has grills, picnic tables, and a playground. Facilities include showers and restrooms. A boat launch facility and fish-cleaning station are available for boaters. Boat rentals and supplies are also available at the camp store. The Civil War Museum/Nature Center is open seasonally. Park open daily dawn to dusk April – October and 10AM to 4PM, November – March. Call for museum hours. Point Lookout occasionally fills to capacity on summer weekends and holiday weekends. During these times you will not be able to enter the park, nor will you be able to drive through the park. You may call 301-872-5688 to check on our visitation volume, however we can make no guarantees that we will not be filled to capacity by the time you arrive.
Cradled by Breton Bay, the Potomac River and St. Clements Bay, this 776-acre property of woodlands, wetlands and agricultural fields recently purchased by the State of Maryland offers low impact recreational opportunities such as biking, walking, birding and fishing. Capt. John Smith explored the waters surrounding the property in 1608. Newtowne was the first settlement in the Maryland province after St. Mary’s City. Its geographic location places it within view of St. Clement’s Island where the English colonists first landed in 1634. Prior to its settlement by the colonists, the Piscataway Indians and their forebears had occupied the site for many centuries. The park is open daily dawn to dusk. Check website for park opening dates.
Located on a Potomac River tributary, the 628-acre park features a marina, boat launch, camping, tournament level bass fishing, the Mattawoman Creek Art Center and Smallwood’s Retreat, home of Revolutionary War General William Smallwood.
Open seasonally. Within this scenic wooded parkland are hiking and nature trails, picnic areas (grills and tables), picnic pavilions, playground areas, fishing piers, and a boat ramp (electric motors only, please). The main attraction is a 60 acre fresh water lake which affords fishing, pedal boating, rowboating and canoeing. Fishermen are able to catch bass, bluegill, trout and catfish. Fishing supplies, fishing licenses and concessions are available. Gilbert Run Park is located 8 miles east of La Plata on Route 6.
Tucked about midway on the Nanjemoy Creek, four miles from the main stem of the Potomac River, this ramp is ideal for power boaters seeking a sheltered launch site. It offers easy access to the river or the great fishing in a wonderful tidal creek where bass, white perch, yellow perch, and catfish abound. For the kayaker, canoeist or small boater this creek offers miles of scenic marshes which abound with wildlife. The winding creek has many high banks offering protection from strong winds and nesting sites for Bald Eagles. The ramp is adjacent to deep water and has a pier to aid in boarding. No launch fee, and the ramp and dock are also designed as a free fishing zone. No fishing license is required by shoreline and pier anglers. The paved parking area accommodates 14 vehicles and trailers, including handicap access. Because of the limited facilities, fishing tournaments of any kind are prohibited at this ramp. This is a trash free park, take out what you bring. Route 6 West from La Plata to Ironside. Turn left onto Route 425, to a left onto Friendship Landing Road. The road ends at the ramp.
4020 11th Street, North Beach
Phone: 410-357-9618 • 301-855-6681
The new Wetlands Overlook Park is a small nature park that will serve as an attraction for those interested in observing the wildlife inhabitants of the wetlands and the migratory fowl which rest there during the flights up and down the Atlantic Seaboard. The park includes a pier and two gazebos for visitors to sit and relax while viewing and photographing the wildlife and wetlands. The area has public restrooms and vending machine refreshments. This park was made possible by funding from the Town of North Beach and Program Open Space (Parks and Playground Grant).
Featured Image: Wetlands Overlook Park North Beach - Credit Clark Vandergrift, OTD
North Side Trail Head/Double Oak Farm: 676 Double Oak Rd, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Mailing Address: PO Box 2363, Prince Frederick 20678
Phone: 410-414-3400 • Fax: 410-414-3402
Fifteen miles of self-guided serene public hiking trails in two locations. Guided hikes are available from spring through fall. Guided canoe trips are offered from spring through fall on beautiful Parkers Creek. Check the online calendar of events for annual family events. Limited access for wheelchairs – must be arranged prior to visit.