Get Out! 5 Hikes in St. Mary’s County


St. Mary’s County is home to Maryland’s first colony, and the lives of its residents are entwined with the water that surrounds and runs through the county. When you go hiking in St. Mary’s County, you can expect to encounter water or history – and sometimes both.

Greenwell State Park: Sitting on nearly 600 acres on the Patuxent River in the town of Hollywood, Greenwell State Park has 10 miles of marked trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trails are open year round. The park is managed in partnership with the state of Maryland and the Greenwell Foundation.

Websites: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/southern/greenwell.aspx and http://greenwellfoundation.org/

Myrtle Point Park: With two miles of shoreline along the Patuxent River, Myrtle Point Park in California, offers three miles of hiking trails. Some of the trails take you to the beach, and all provide a variety of flora and fauna. (Myrtle Point Park photo via Find Your Chesapeake.)

Websites: http://www.co.saint-marys.md.us/recreate/myrtlepointpark.asp and http://www.myrtlepoint.org/

Point Lookout State Park: Looking for history? You’ll find it at Point Lookout State Park. Once home to a Civil War prison camp, the land is now a state park that features a lighthouse, camping, fishing, and other activities. The one-mile Periwinkle Point Trail begins at the back entrance of the Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center. It is a self-guided nature hike.

Website: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/southern/pointlookout.aspx

St. Mary’s River State Park: St. Mary’s River State Park is at the northern end of the St. Mary’s River watershed, and the park is divided into two sites. Site 1, which lies along Route 5 between Leonardtown and Great Mills, includes the 250-acre St. Mary’s Pond. A 7.5-mile perimeter trail takes you around the pond, whether you’re on foot, bike, or horse. The park holds many types if habitats, including woodland, swamp, and streams. Site 2 is an undeveloped, managed hunting area. There are no hiking trails here.

Website: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/southern/stmarysriver.aspx

Three Notch Trail: Eventually, this asphalt trail will stretch from the St. Mary’s-Charles county line into the southern part of the county. For now, the trail stretches from Deborah Drive in far southern Charles County to John V. Baggett Park in Laurel Grove, making about 11 miles of trail. Along the way, you’ll pass the Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home, the Charlotte Hall Library, a farm market, county visitor’s center and more. Future phases include lengths of trail in the southern part of the county. The trail is 10 feet wide, and motorized vehicles are not allowed. (Three Notch Trail photo via St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks.)

Website: http://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/Threenotchtrail.asp

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