Hiking Maryland and Delaware  by David Edwin Lillard

Hiking Maryland & Delaware Guide Book

by David Edwin Lillard (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Maryland and Delaware  by David Edwin Lillard
Hiking Maryland and Delaware features sixty-two of the states’ finest trails—including short nature hikes and full-day treks—from the beaches and bays to the mountains. Former AHS president David Lillard provides all the information you need to get the most out of hiking these Mid-Atlantic states, which are filled with rich history, surprisingly remote woodlands, hidden marshes, and scenic vistas. Look inside to find: Hikes suited to every ability Accurate directions to the trailheads; Detailed trail descriptions; Mile-by-mile directional cues; Difficulty ratings, average hiking times, best hiking seasons, and more.

© 2006 David Edwin Lillard/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Maryland & Delaware" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 62.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 62.

This is a rare place of mixed hardwoods, bottomland swamp, and creeks making their way to the Chesapeake Bay. The land is privately owned and permanently protected by the American Chestnut Land Trust. There is indeed a mature chestnut tree on the grounds. The American Chestnut Land Trust is a moving story of community-inspired conservation. Working in partnership with the State of Maryland and The Nature Conservancy, ACLT owns or manages some 3,000 acres of public and private land in Calvert County, Maryland. In addition to preserving the ecologically important lands of the Parkers Creek watershed, the group has had a major impact in preserving cultural resources, such as old farmsteads that tell the history of Chesapeake Bay settlement. This hike and Parkers Creek Loop explore upland forests, old fields, and marshlands as the trail weaves among the remains of early homesteads. Special considerations: The landscape and hiking trails here are a real marvel of private initiative on the part of the American Chestnut Land Trust. Hikers are urged to support this nonprofit organization by sending a donation to the address shown in Appendix A.
Prince Frederick, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
This hike combines views of the open rural Baltimore County countryside with a circuit through the woods. This hike offers one of the few circuit hikes along the Northern Central Railroad Trail, allowing you to hike a little on the wide flat path of the famous NCRR through the rolling countryside, then duck into the woods for a ramble around a hilltop nature preserve. The hike’s main attraction is the varied experiences that it packs into a short hike —the NCRR, recovering forestland, the babbling of Beetree Run, and passage above a scenic stream hollow. This is a particularly enjoyable short ramble in spring, when you will see the varied blooms of flowers and trees in the woods and under the NCRR’s open skies. Special considerations: Beetree Preserve is privately owned by the Towson Presbyterian Church; please respect any trail closures related to church-sponsored events. Calling in advance of your hike is recommended.
Cockeysville, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
An easy walk through natural and managed coastal-plain woodlands in Blackbird State Forest, famous for its Delmarva bays— the small upland ponds of mysterious origin that dot the forest’s ten tracts. Like many of Delaware’s other managed woodlands, much of Blackbird State Forest has been a “forest” for less than fifty years. The trails on the Tybout Tract, for instance, pass through areas that were tilled fields until 1941, when the state acquired the land and began cultivating stands of loblolly and white pine. Along with the managed parcels, acres of natural hardwood forests border the Blackbird trails. These are lovely tracts of red oak and maple, sweet gum and poplar, with the lush understory of flowering trees and shrubs common in wild coastal-plain woodlands. Special considerations: Delaware state forests are open to hunting during fall and winter. Hiking during the state’s deer hunting season is not recommended.
Smyrna, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
A ramble through hardwood forests and over ridges of Catoctin Mountain, with views of the Blue Ridge and the Monocacy Valley. In spring, dogwoods and other flowering trees are abundant. In about two hours, you can visit a splendid waterfall, enjoy a spectacular view of the Monocacy watershed, and find an intimate cross ridge at Catoctin’s summit and South Mountain, all while wandering through a second-growth, almost-old-growth-again, hardwood forest. But what is the rush? The hike is short enough that extended stays are in order at each highlight. Special considerations: This hike is described as moderate because most of the climbing is done in two short stretches: the first 0.25 mile and the 0.3 mile approaching Blue Ridge Summit Overlook. Most of the rest of the hike is a mixture of level ground and gradual ascents and descents. This is a beautiful hike in winter, especially in snowshoes after a winter storm.
Thurmont, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
A circuit hike on the dirt roads of a Delaware Bay wildlife refuge. This is an especially rewarding hike for those interested in watching migrating shorebirds and waterfowl, nesting bald eagles, and resident woodland mammals, such as deer, fox, woodchucks, and raccoons. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, on the shores of the Delaware Bay, is one of the best birding sites in the region, rivaling New Jersey’s Cape May and Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge. It's extensive salt marsh —at 13,000 acres one of the largest undisturbed tracts on the East Coast —along with its 3,000 acres of freshwater pools, wooded marshes, upland forests, and cultivated fields, provides diverse habitat for more than 260 species of nesting and migrating birds. And the birds are not alone; 34 species of mammals and a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, and fish also make the refuge their home. The dikes, dirt roads, and short walking trails that circle and cross the refuge pass through all the area’s landscapes and provide great opportunities for watching wildlife. Special considerations: The wildlife is abundant on the refuge year-round. In summer bring insect repellent. Pets must be kept on a leash.
Dover, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.3
An easy, interpretive hike on boardwalks, sand, and soft upland soil through salt marsh and coastal forest. With good facilities near the trailhead and interesting options, a walk on the nature trail at Burton’s Island makes a great family outing. Burton’s Island is the largest island in an archipelago of small islands that separates Rehoboth Bay from Indian River Bay, just behind the barrier beach of Delaware Seashore State Park. This easy 1.5-mile walk around the island affords great views of inland bays and close-up observations of the creatures of the salt marsh and upland forest. From boardwalks over tidal creeks, you will see wading shorebirds, muskrat tracks, and skittering fiddler crabs as well as ospreys, great blue herons, and egrets gliding over the wetland grasses. A shady picnic table on the Indian River Bay shoreline is a perfect place for lunch. Bring the kids! Special considerations: Bring binoculars for birding and insect repellent during summer.
Rehoboth Beach, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
A walk along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath through a tunnel more than half a mile long, followed by a scenic walk near a remote stretch of the Potomac. The return hike is over a shoulder of the mountain on the Potomac side, offering stunning views of the West Virginia mountain landscape. You could take longer getting to the trailhead than hiking this delightful section of the C&O Canal Towpath, but you will find you want to savor every moment out there. Take a flashlight along to better explore the tunnel walls and the several places where brick courses have been removed back to stone. Special considerations: Bring a flashlight for walking through the tunnel.
Cumberland, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
A hike through forest and bog down to the Chesapeake Bay where fossils are abundant below the sandstone cliffs. Calvert Cliffs State Park is unique among hiking opportunities in the region for its up-close views of the Calvert Cliffs from below, fossil hunting opportunities, and hiker-only access to the Chesapeake shoreline along a mile of sandy beach. The cliffs and the shores below contain more than 600 species of fossils from the Miocene epoch, more than ten million years ago. The cliffs were formed when southern Maryland was under a shallow sea. Adding to the pleasure: Foraging for fossils on the sandy beach is permitted —but no digging. Kids love it. Pair the trip to Calvert Cliffs with a visit to St. Michael’s or Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, and you have a great day of wandering. Special considerations: About half the park is open to hunting in various seasons, including spring turkey season. Check at the kiosk for schedule. There is no hunting along the red trail to the beach.
Prince Frederick, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
The 217-acre park’s main attraction is its equestrian center and pond. A nice place to introduce children to the outdoors or to get outside with visitors who are not outdoor types. Kids love horses, and in this corner of New Castle County there are not many public places to watch them trotting, walking the trails, or grazing on the meadow. Carousel Park does its level best to please a range of interests, from picnicking to trail riding and hiking to special events. This is not the place for hikers seeking solitude in the deep woods; it’s just a nice county park combining open, grassy fields with narrow, wooded groves. Somehow, along busy Limestone Road, Carousel evokes pastoral calm.
Newark, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.6
A walk through pine forests and near marshy lakes in an area that is arguably the wildest place within 75 miles of Washington, D.C. Follow the wide path through pine and hardwoods dominated by beech and red oak. The odd-looking cuts in the forest you pass are remnants of research on the regeneration of forest species. Special considerations: Because the area is managed for wildlife research, Zero Impact Hiking is especially important. No picnicking is allowed along the trail. Bring some water, but leave the food at home. Spring rains and heavy rains sometimes make the south section of Cash Lake impassable. When this is the case, after visiting the fishing pier, retrace your steps to continue your hike via the northern section. Also, the south side of Cash Lake Trail is closed mid-October to mid-June to provide undisturbed lakeshore for wintering and nesting waterfowl.
Laurel, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.7
An easy walk through deep, shady forest along the banks of meandering creeks. On a hot summer day, there is a drowsy, languid feel to the creeks that run through Cedarville State Forest. They are known to rise up and wash out bridges, and if their steeply cut banks are any measure, they have done so often. But there is little babble to these sandy-bottomed brooks. Walking by them through stands of hardwood and meadows of lush ferns, you are more likely to hear a breeze in the trees than a wild torrent. It is a good setting for a tranquil afternoon stroll. Special considerations: During hunting season, check with forest managers to see which trails are open and safe.
Saint Charles, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.1
Alternating long views and close contact with Brandywine Creek along Creek Road Trail, which here aligns with the Northern Delaware Greenway, the hike includes an interlude above the scenic Rocky Run gorge. A 1.5-mile option creates a circuit through and above the gorge. Special considerations: Pets are permitted but must be kept on a leash.
Wilmington, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
The trail climbs to the flattop ridge of Meadow Mountain for a stunning view of Deep Creek Lake. On the way down, stop at an abandoned mine site for an insight into mountain cultural history. Most of the people who hike in the park never get a good view of Deep Creek Lake; they content themselves with a terribly obstructed peep from the fire tower. Too bad. The view from the wooden platform specially constructed for the purpose is the main objective of this hike. Special considerations: For those seeking quiet enjoyment of the natural setting, this hike should be avoided Memorial Day to Labor Day. The continuous sounds of outboard motors on the lake may be a distraction.
Swanton, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.9
One of Maryland’s best hikes for getting away from it all, this is a circuit hike in and above the remote canyon of Fifteenmile Creek. Fifteenmile Creek slices a 200-foot gorge between Green Ridge and Town Hill on its way to the Potomac River. The 45,000-acre Green Ridge State Forest provides a sense of the wild backcountry, only two-and-a-half hours from Washington, D.C. Considering the hike begins only a few hundred yards from the interstate and then spends the first 0. 3 mile in proximity to it, this ramble offers surprising solitude. It also presents a nice opportunity to combine hiking with fly fishing in one of several shaded holes down in the gorge. The hike travels south on Green Ridge Hiking Trail, spending about 3.0 miles within sight and sound of tumbling water. Special considerations: The forest is open to hunting November through February; check with the state forest headquarters for details. The trail is well maintained for foot travel and is passable by hikers of most abilities, with two minor exceptions on the circuit hike: In two places the trail follows a narrow ledge that requires careful going with young children or novice hikers.
Flintstone, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
An easy walk through a young forest in an area that was previously logged. A good hike for children on a family outing to the park or for a field study of forest succession. Because it is very short and not entirely pristine, Fort Frederick State Park Nature Trail is not a “destination hike. ”Nevertheless, a walk on the 1.2-mile loop could be a nice part of a family outing to the park or a field study of forest succession. In addition to the nature trail, the park boasts Fort Frederick, the national historic monument that played a role in the French and Indian, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars. The historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath passes through the park, as does, of course, the Potomac River. With the picnic area by the trailhead, it is a great place to spend a day exploring the human and natural history of the area. Special considerations: Pets are not permitted at Fort Frederick State Park.
Hancock, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
This walk weaves around a mile-long tidal pond and ends at the ocean, offering arm’s-length views of more than a dozen species of shorebirds. Crouching near the great tidal pool known as Gordons Pond, you watch from behind the rushes as a great blue heron prepares to strike a fish at its feet. When it does, the commotion sets a dozen plovers into flight. As you follow them, you notice a small plane in the distance. It will be flying beyond the sand dunes, out over the ocean. This is your only clue that you’re just a couple of beach miles from busy Rehoboth Beach. Otherwise, it’s you and the shorebirds —and the foxes that hope to feast on them. Special considerations: Some areas of the preserve are subject to closure during nesting season. Check the trailhead kiosk. For much of the hike, there is no shade —a hat is advisable.
Rehoboth, DE - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
A pleasant, sometimes challenging hike featuring more than a dozen stream crossings, a few rugged ascents through pine forest, and mountain views. This is a fine hike for introducing a young person (or someone not so young) to backpacking. Or you can enjoy it all in a day. The hike offers a blend of streamside rambling, rock-hop creek crossings, and deep woods walking. Although there are several ascents that will get even a fit hiker heaving, none are sustained for more than a few hundred yards. Nor do they climb more than a couple hundred feet. At about 45,000 acres, Green Ridge State Forest is Maryland’s largest contiguous public land area. It is also a land of incredible biodiverisity: There are more species of trees and shrubs in this forest than in all of Europe. Special considerations: During spring, be prepared for muddy conditions along Pine Lick. The area is managed for hunting; check with rangers for season dates.
Cumberland, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
Take a swim in the river after a walk along the western shore of Maryland’s Patuxent River. The trail travels through fields, meadows and woods, and offers dramatic views of the river, with visits to two historic barns. The Patuxent River is the star of this hike. Here the river is wide and the views it offers are downright dramatic. The hike visits three coves, one with a sandy beach. Greenwell’s trails take you through a variety of settings typical of traditional rural St. Mary’s County. In a nod to local recreational preferences, the land is managed primarily for game wildlife and hunting. Open fields separated by hedgerows and stream valley woodlands predominate. These open fields offer hikers a welcome change of view, a chance to see many birds you miss on a forest hike. The delightful surprises include two historic barns left alone far from anywhere for hikers to discover. Special considerations: Some trails are closed to hikers during hunting season; check with the park office.
Leonardtown, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
A walk through mixed hardwood and conifer woodlands along and above scenic Gunpowder Falls. You can make a day of hiking in the wooded stream valley of Gunpowder Falls and the ridges above it, or you can take one of several shorter loop hikes. Raven Rock Falls, the stone ruins along Panther Branch, and views of hemlocks clinging to the canyon above Mingo Branch are just a few of the sights along the way. You might also encounter red fox, beaver, and wild turkey. Special considerations: Gunpowder Falls is a stocked trout stream; licenses are required. Check at the trailhead in the fall for information on hunting season. If you stay on the trail, you will not enter hunting lands.
Hereford, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.6
A fine walk through surprisingly deep woods in a county park. There are views of Pars Ridge, the principal geologic feature of Carroll County, and passages through open meadows and cultivated fields. Watch for blue herons and other waterfowl from the boardwalk across tiny Lake Hashawha. Carroll County is not known as a hiking destination. But the quiet woods, the opportunity to see a fox or hawk hunting in a cornfield or beaver plying the stream, and the extensive variety of wildflowers in the stream bottomland all combine to make this an outing worth traveling for —especially when combined with a visit to Westminster’s Main Street or other Carroll County attractions. Special considerations: When the nature center is closed, no water is available.
Westminster, MD - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5