Trails in Maryland
Trails provide many economic benefits to local communities and create a wide range of jobs, from B&B's to bike shops. They also help tell the wonderful stories of Maryland and its rich history. And hiking and bicycle trails are for the whole family, including the physically challenged. They make us all healthier and happier while opening up the natural world around us.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is currently working closely with the National Park Service, the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration, Department of Planning, Office of Tourism, local governments, trail groups, and many volunteer citizens on a wide assortment of trails throughout the state. This is a great time to get out and walk or ride our many Maryland trails. We have something for everybody.
Southern Maryland offers two new paved bike trails, the Three Notch Trail and the Indian Head Rail Trail in Charles County, that are chock full of environmental gems and sleepy little Maryland towns filled with down-home flavor. St. Mary's County is home to the 596-acre Greenwell State Park located on the Patuxent River, providing 10 miles of equestrian, hiking, and biking trails managed by the Greenwell Foundation. Chapman State Park, stretching from the Potomac River to Mattawoman Creek in western Charles County, is a journey through time, showcasing the Mount Aventine Manor House and Southern Maryland's pastoral heritage, mature forests, rare plants, and bald eagles. Point Lookout State Park, at the mouth of the mighty Potomac River, offers a wide range of trail fun for people of all ages and abilities. And some of the best mountain biking and horse riding in the state can be found at Rosaryville State Park in Prince George’s County. Purse State Park, a wild undeveloped area that is used for hunting, bird watching, fishing and exploring for fossils, is located on the Potomac River on Wades Bay. The trails at Calvert Cliffs State Park lead you through forests, swamps, ending at spectacular beach cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay. Or follow the ancient pathways of the Piscataway Indian Tribe at Cedarville State Forest near the headwaters of the majestic Zekiah Swamp.
Trails for the whole family are part of the fun out in Western Maryland at Deep Creek Lake, New Germany, Herrington Manor, and Rocky Gap State Parks. Washington County is home to the Western Maryland Rail Trail, a 20-mile ribbon of asphalt that rambles along the upper stretches of the Potomac River. Allegany County features the spectacular Greater Allegheny Passage that runs from the historic railroad town of Cumberland all the way to Pittsburgh. The Appalachian Trail passes through Greenbrier State Park, a multi-use park, providing many kinds of recreation, including a 42-acre man-made lake where you can enjoy swimming, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, fishing and hunting. Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County, featuring 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through one of the nation’s most important battlefields during the Civil War. And if waterfalls are your thing, you can explore the forested Catoctin Trail near majestic Cunningham Falls State Park and the Presidential retreat of Camp David, or head out to Garrett County where the largest waterfalls in the state can be found along the hemlock-lined trails at Swallow Falls State Park. For those who prefer motorized trail fun, Potomac Garrett and Savage River State Forests feature some challenging ORV and snowmobile trails. And if white water is your passion, Maryland's last wild and scenic river, the Youghiogheny River, is second to none.
Central Maryland is also rich in trails. The Torrey C. Brown Trail is a must ride, starting just north of Baltimore and meandering through rolling farmlands to York, PA. For unrivaled views of nature, try walking or riding the Big and Little Gunpowder Greenways in Gunpowder State Park up in Baltimore and Harford Counties. And smack-dab in the middle of Baltimore is one of the largest urban forest watershed trail networks in America, showcasing Patapsco Valley State Park and the paved Grist Mill Trail, along with miles & miles of mountain bike trails and the Jones Fall and Gwynns Falls trails. Some of the rarest plants in the Mid-Atlantic can be viewed along the trails at Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in Baltimore County. If having large jet airplanes flying over your head sounds fun and exciting, try out the BWI Trail near Thurgood Marshall/BWI Airport. And for lovers of Colonial history, there's the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail that runs from Linthicum to the Colonial capitol of Annapolis. Montgomery County is home to a vast network of outstanding multi-use trails in Seneca Creek and Patuxent River State Parks.
If fishing and birding are some of your favorite things to do, try our trails along the Susquehanna River at Rocks and Susquehanna State Parks near the Conowingo Dam, the Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area, or the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.
Up near the Delaware and Pennsylvania line in Northern Maryland, Fairhill and Sassafras Natural Resource Management Areas feature some of the finest equestrian trails in the state, while Big Run and Elk Neck State Parks provide outstanding glimpses into the natural world, unrivaled in the entire Mid-Atlantic. And Elk Neck State Forest has trails that seem to go on forever.
You can trace the course of Maryland history along our many battlefield trails at Fort Frederick, North Point, Smallwood, Washington Monument, Gathland and South Mountain State Parks.
The Eastern Shore abounds in land and water trails. On your way to Assateague State Park along the Atlantic Ocean, take a ride on the Cross Island Trail which begins on the north side of the majestic Bay Bridge on Kent Island, just across the Chesapeake Bay from Sandy Point State Park. Wind through forested swamps by land or by sea at Tuckahoe, Martinak and Pocomoke State Parks, and our Chesapeake Forests will provide days of trail enjoyment. Marsh trails abound on the Lower Eastern Shore at Janes Island State Park, near the historic fishing village of Crisfield. And be sure to take a walk back into history on the trails at Maryland’s newest park, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is continually working with our many public and private partners to help provide new and rewarding recreational opportunities for our citizens and visitors alike. So please get outside and enjoy a Maryland trail. No matter the season, our spectacular trails are guaranteed to make your day!