Tag Archives: hiking

Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail

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The Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail runs alongside Fishing Creek in the small town of Chesapeake Beach, in Northern Calvert County, partially on the right of way of the long abandoned Chesapeake Beach Railway.  The creek is a significant watershed that empties directly into the Chesapeake Bay.  The entire trail project lies within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and offers scenic views of the creek itself, hundreds of acres of surrounding marsh and forest, and includes two bridges across the creek and several timber walkways either over the creek or marshland.  Wildlife is abundant, and visitors to the trail are quite often treated to sightings of bald eagles.

Three Notch Trail

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The Three Notch Trail is a ten ft. wide, asphalt multi use trail is being constructed along the 28-mile County railroad right of way which runs south from Hughesville (in Charles County) to Lexington Park (to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station).  The trail, in northern St. Mary’s County, provides recreational, tourism and transportation opportunities and will promote the health and wellness benefits of hiking and biking.

Phase one begins at Route 236 in New Market and proceeds north to just beyond the County line, for a distance of about 2.25 miles.  Also, Phase five of the trail is now open, running from John Baggett Park in Laurel Grove to MD 5 in Mechanicsville.

Other phases of the trail are planned for construction and opening in the near future.

Indian Head Rail Trail

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10390 Theodore Green Boulevard, White Plains, MD 20695
Phone: 301-932-3470 • http://www.charlescountyparks.com

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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.

Trail Amenities

  • A paved 13 mile long, ten foot wide path
  • Wildlife viewing areas
  • Restroom facilities
  • Pavilions and benches
  • Interpretive signs
  • Mile markers
  • Drinking fountains at trail heads

Trail Etiquette

  • 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

Printable Trail Map

Directions to Trail Access Points

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.

St. Mary’s River State Park

21250 Camp Cosoma Road, Callaway, MD 20620
Phone: 301-872-5688
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/stmarysriver.asp

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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.

Newtowne Neck State Park

Newtown Neck Road, Compton, MD 20627
Phone: 301-872-5688
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/newtowne.asp

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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.

Greenwell State Park

25420 Rosedale Manor Lane, Hollywood, MD 20636
Phone: 301-872-5688 or 301-872-5389
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/greenwell.asp
http://greenwellfoundation.org

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Greenwell offers nearly 600 acres, 10 miles of trails, and 2 miles of waterfront along the Patuxent with an accessible 50 foot pier.  Kayak/canoe launch sites, beach and picnic areas throughout.  Wheelchair accessible facilities include the Pavilion and Knott Lodge (an overnight facility for up to 16 guests).  Historic Rosedale Manor, the Chapel and gardens can be reserved for weddings and special events.  Horseback riding programs, summer camps and special events are offered.

Historic St. Mary’s City

18751 Hogaboom Lane, St. Mary’s City, MD 20686
Phone: 240-895-4990  •  http://www.hsmcdigshistory.org

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Historic St. Mary’s City is an outdoor museum located on the site of Maryland’s first colony and first capital.  The museum protects one of the nation’s finest colonial archaeology sites.  Decades of research are the foundation of living history exhibits assembled across the landscape.  Highlights include the Town Center, where visitors may tour Smith’s Ordinary, a 17th-century forbearer of the modern hotel, and the Print House, where they will hear the story of the first printer south of Boston.  Nearby, the Woodland Indian Hamlet details the lives of the Yaocomaco Indians who assisted the first colonists.  The Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation is a working farm with first-person interpreters and heirloom livestock.  The Maryland Dove, a working representation of the square-rigged vessel that carried Lord Baltimore’s original expedition to Maryland is moored on the St. Mary’s River, which appears much as it was 375 years ago.  Discover Maryland’s legacy of liberty at the Brick Chapel, a symbol of the colony’s early practice of religious toleration, and the St. John’s Site Museum, which encloses the excavation of the house where the state’s first legislators met.  There is also a Visitor Center with exhibits, a museum shop, and a network of trails.  Accessible by water, call for information.

Smallwood State Park

2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, MD 20658
Phone: 301-743-7613  •  www.dnr.state.md.us
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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.

Gilbert Run Park

Playground at Gilbertt Run Park

13140 Charles Street, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622
Phone: 301-932-1083 • 301-932-3470
www.charlescountyparks.com

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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.

Friendship Landing

4705 Friendship Landing Rd, Nanjemoy, 20662
Phone: 301-932-3470>www.charlescountyparks.com
 

Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway
Religious Freedom National Scenic Byway

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.