7 Maryland hikes with amazing views

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Hikes with bay views

From the Chesapeake Bay to the Patapsco River, several easy to moderate hikes follow or lead to the water. Whether looking for a lighthouse, shark's teeth or a suspension foot bridge, you'll find much to explore in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Cross Island Trail, Kent IslandHikes view Elk NeckWThe view from the Lighthouse Trail in Elk Neck State Park.
For a relaxed, paved hike, Randi Hogan, outings chair for Anne Arundel County Sierra Club, recommends Kent Island's Cross Island Trail.

The Cross Island Trail terminates at the Terrapin Beach Park with a great view of the Bay Bridge and Chesapeake Bay, Hogan says. The 6.5-mile trail, which runs parallel to Route 50, links Kent Narrows' Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center with Terrapin Nature Park. It passes through Old Love Point Park, which has athletic fields and a playground.

Difficulty: Easy
Fee: Free
Distance: 15 minutes from Annapolis
191 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville (Terrapin Nature Park)
425 Piney Narrows Rd., Chester (Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center)
410-758-0835, parksnrec.org/hiker-biker-trails/parks-and-maps/

Lighthouse Trail, Elk Neck State Park
For an easy loop with a view of the Chesapeake Bay, try the 0.8-mile Lighthouse Trail at Elk Neck State Park. The trail leads to the Turkey Point Lighthouse, which sits at the end of a peninsula on a 100-foot cliff overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. For a moderate hike, take the White Banks Trail (3 miles) to the White Clay Cliffs above the bay. The park has additional trails that take hikers through a variety of terrain, including beaches, ponds and forests.

Difficulty: Easy
Fee: No charge to access Turkey Point area
Distance: 1.5 hours from Annapolis
4395 Turkey Point Rd., North East
410-287-5333, http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/central/elknecklighthouse.aspx

Red Trail, Calvert Cliffs State Park
HIke view Calvert CliffsWCalvert Cliffs State Park.Calvert Cliffs' 1.8-mile Red Trail traverses marshlands and forests, across boardwalks and dirt paths, culminating in an expansive water view where the massive cliffs meet the Chesapeake Bay. An added motivator for kids, the beach near the cliffs is a popular fossil-hunting location. Use sieves, shovels, or your hands to search for shark teeth and other fossils. The trail is 1.8 miles each way, for a total of 3.6 miles along an easy, flat route.

Difficulty: Easy
Fee: $5/vehicle; $7 for out-of-state residents
Distance: 1 hour from Annapolis
10540 H. G. Trueman Rd., Lusby
​301-743-7613​, dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/southern/calvertcliffs.aspx

Grist Mill Trail, Patapsco Valley State ParkHike view Grist MillWThe Swinging Bridge off the Grist Mill Trail.
Just outside Baltimore, Patapsco Valley State Park encompasses 32 miles of the Patapsco River. With 170 miles of trails, it boasts a wide range of hiking opportunities. The handicap accessible Grist Mill Trail in the Avalon section of the park begins at the Lost Lake parking lot and follows the river and railroad bed for 2.3 miles. The trail passes a suspension footbridge that crosses over the river and continues to Bleode Dam. Hikers can pick up additional trails along Grist Mill, such as the Valley View Trail (.9 miles) or Cascade Falls Trail (2.2-mile loop) with views of the river and rapids.

Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Fee: Weekdays, $2/vehicle; Weekends and holidays, $3/vehicle. Additional $2 for out-of-state residents
Distance: 40 minutes from Annapolis.
5120 South St., Halethorpe
​410-461-5005​, dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/patapsco.aspx

By Hannah Anderson

Photo credits:

Maryland Heights - Photo courtesy of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Modern Photo Collection.
Grist Mill Trail - Swinging Bridge: Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program.
Calvert Cliffs - Photo courtesy of Maryland DNR.
Elk Neck State Park - Photo courtesy of Maryland DNR.
Annapolis Rock - Photo by Annie Myers, Creative Commons.

Updated June 2017

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