Charles County’s trails will take you from beach to wetland to forest – with a historic home or two thrown in along the way. Check out these parks when you want to take a walk in Charles County.
This is the second in our series on places to hike in Southern Maryland. You’ll find part one, Calvert County, here.
Charles County Parks: If you’re just out for a quick walk or run – or you want to take little kids on a nature hike – look no further than Charles County’s publicly run parks. You’ll find shorter trails at these county parks:
- Gilbert Run
- Laurel Springs
- Mallows Bay Park
- Swann Memorial Park
Chapman State Park: From water to the historic Mt. Aventine mansion, there’s lots to see when you hike Chapman State Park in western Charles County. There are several trails in the park, which stretches from the Potomac River to Mattawoman Creek. There’s a trail for everyone – they range in length from 0.6 miles to 1.5 miles. Downloadable maps are available at the park’s website.
Friendship Farm Park: Overlooking Nanjemoy Creek, Friendship Farm Park offers more than 7 miles of recreational trails through forest and occasional agricultural fields. Interpretive signs along the route explain what you’re seeing, and there are benches and observation decks so you can check out the scenery and wildlife.
Indian Head Rail Trail: Wide and mostly flat, the Indian Head Rail Trail is perfect for walkers, runners, and bikers. The trail is 13 miles long, with trailheads in White Plains and Indian Head. Parking areas along the way let you cut the trail into smaller chunks. You’ll see wildlife and wetlands along this route.
Purse State Park: A former state park, Purse State Park is part of the Nanjemoy Wildlife Management Area. There are several unmarked trails in the wildlife area for hiking and birdwatching, and a walk to the beach brings you to a beach known for fossil hunting.
Smallwood State Park: Follow the trails surrounding the restored Smallwood’s Retreat for a view of natural and historic sites. This state park has two miles of trails through hardwood forest. A downloadable trail map and guide are available on the park’s website.
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