When spring arrives in Southern Maryland, there’s no excuse to stay inside! There are dozens of state and local parks in the region, and many offer hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties. No matter what your hiking ability is, there’s a trail here for you to see and enjoy local flora, fauna, and waterways.
This is the first in a series of articles on places to hike in Southern Maryland. Here are eight places to hike in Calvert County, sometimes learning a little history along the way.
American Chestnut Land Trust: Nineteen miles of maintained trails wind through this protected land trust, which includes more than 3,000 acres of wetlands, forests, and farmland. Start your journey at one of three trailheads.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary: The sanctuary is home to one of the northernmost stands of bald cypress trees in the United States. A wetland boardwalk, exhibits, and a nature center make the sanctuary a good day trip for all ages.
Briscoe Bay Heritage Farm: Rich in natural and cultural resources, this county-run park is dedicated to learning more about the history of agricultural practices and lifestyle in Calvert County. Walking and equestrian trails take you through the landscape of the farm, which includes marshland, open water creek, wooded slopes, and more.
Calvert Cliffs State Park: Here you’ll find 13 miles of hiking trails, and if you take the 1.8-mile hike to the beach, you’ll get an amazing payoff: Towering cliffs, the sparkling Chesapeake Bay, and some of the best fossil hunting in the area.
Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail: Walk along the abandoned Chesapeake Beach Railway, this paved rail trail takes you along Fishing Creek, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay. You’ll get scenic views of the creek and marsh and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife.
Flag Ponds Nature Park: Just up the road from the Calvert Cliffs, the half-mile trail at this park leads to a beach with a fishing pier and great sand for fossil hunting. Longer trails also lead to the beach but take you through the forest and by ponds.
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum: Explore local history and archaeology along the trails at this historic park and museum. The trails are of varying lengths and include interpretive signs along the way. You’ll see gorgeous scenery and learn something about Calvert County and Maryland history, too.
Kings Landing Park: This county-run park includes hiking trails and equestrian trails as well as other outdoor activities like kayak and canoeing, bird watching, and a fishing pier.