Quick Look at Patuxent River Park
Address: 16000 Croom Airport Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Pets: On a leash but not allowed in the Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area
Patuxent River Park, located off of 301 in Upper Marlboro, gives visitors a look at the woodlands and marsh feeding into the Chesapeake Bay. From 40 feet up in the air on the Observation Tower, the Patuxent River is a stunning, silver ribbon winding through native grasses, bordered by towering trees and guarded by screeching osprey. Even though the park compromises over 7,800 acres a visitor never feels far from the river.
Exploring the Park
The Visitors Center is a good place to park. You’ll find restrooms, drinking water and the Observation Tower within steps of the Visitors Center. You should also grab a map if you plan to go hiking on the trails.
Take a quick walk down a wooded gravel drive to see the Patuxent Rural Life Museums. The six buildings are open for touring on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m., but even when they aren’t open inside it’s worth taking a look at the homes and style of buildings that used to dot the Patuxent. Tobacco was the economic engine of Southern Maryland until 1998 when 86% of farmers took the state buyout if they agreed to take tobacco out of production on their farms. The Tobacco Museum contains tools and history that have been an essential part of Maryland’s culture. Leaning precariously, the Duckett Cabin will make kids appreciate their bedrooms.
Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at Jackson’s Landing on weekends. It’s easy to get them into the water and there are miles of paddling available without going far from the landing. There are over 100 species of fish native to the Patuxent including bass, catfish, chain pickerel, and bluefish. You may also spot evidence of beavers as you come across their dams.
Patuxent River Park has miles of trails through the woods and along Jug Bay. Dogs are allowed on lease except in the Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area which has some spectacular views. While the trails are marked with blazes on trees, at times it is a little hard to tell which way a trail is headed. Leaving from the Visitors Center we took the red/purple trail which looped through old growth trees for about 3.5 miles. It is very quiet and peaceful on the trails with few people on them. An all-terrain stroller will probably be able to pass through the trails.
Enjoy the natural beauty of the Patuxent with a visit to Patuxent River Park.