100 Days of Maryland Summer: Hiking at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary


merkleTake your kids hiking to enjoy the beautiful Maryland scenery, great physical activity, and a fun family experience!

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is the only wildlife sanctuary operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. There are four hiking trails at Merkle that explore the upland forests and marshes of the Patuxent. The sanctuary also offers habitats for a variety of birds and mammals. The trails are open to hikers only but each trail has its unique characteristics. Check the out the following below.

• Paw Paw Trail: This is a flat, family friendly trail that weaves past streams and ponds and through forests and fields. Look out for Paw Paw trees along the trail that grow oval shaped, green fruits. This trail is 1.2 miles long and is rated easy.
• Poplar Springs Trail: This is a flat, wide trail that connects the forested areas on either side of Merkle Road. Named for the native poplar tree, this trail passes Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary’s champion Yellow Poplar which measures 154 feet tall and over 15 feet in circumference. Poplar Springs is 3.0 miles long and is rated easy to moderate.
• Mounds Trail: This is a hilly trail that follows along the top of a ravine and offers views of Lookout Creek. It’s most unique features are the large, manmade mounds of dirt known as “ha-has” that give the trail its name. This trail is 2.3 miles long and rated moderate.
• Lookout Creek Trail: This flat, figure-eight shaped trail winds through forests and wetlands. Named for Lookout Creek, which feeds into the Patuxent River, hikers will get a beautiful view of the water and encounter various species of waterfowl and wetland vegetation. This trail is .72 miles and can only be accessed from the Critical Area Driving Tour.

Sanctuary Grounds: Open 7 a.m. to Sunset.

Visit their website for more information.


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Photo by TrailVoice