At a Glance
Hours: The trails and shoreline on the Talbot County side are open from sunrise to sunset daily; Fishing Pier on Talbot County side is open 7 am – sunset from April 1 – November 11; closed November 12 – March 31. The Dorchester side of the fishing pier is open from 7 am – sunset everyday except Christmas.
Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ Leashed pets are allowed only on trails in the undeveloped areas. Pets are prohibited on the fishing piers for sanitary and safety reasons. ◾ The consumption of alcohol is prohibited. ◾ Restrooms (including a wheelchair-accessible restroom) are on the Fishing Pier.
Best Seasons: Winter; also fall and spring migration.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Cambridge NE
Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park – Talbot County Side
29761 Bolingbroke Point Drive, Trappe, MD 21673
Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park on the Talbot County side of the Choptank River consists of approximately 25 acres of park property, including about one mile of trails through scrub-shrub along the north shoreline of the River. There is another section of the Bill Burton Fishing Pier across the river in Cambridge (Dorchester County) – see the related entry under Dorchester County. The Bill Burton Fishing Piers are the former US Route 50 bridge over the Choptank River between Dorchester and Talbot Counties. After the new Route 50 bridge was built, the old bridge was kept for fishing access and other recreation, but the middle portion of the bridge was removed to accommodate boat traffic, so the two sides are now disjunct. The Talbot side of the pier is one mile in length and the Dorchester side of the pier is ½ mile in length.
The piers are quite popular with fishermen because of the variety of fish that can be caught, and just as popular with birders because of the variety of waterfowl and other water-related birds that can be found. In addition, everything from deer to muskrats can be seen from the walking paths at different times throughout the year. The piers on both sides of the river are wheelchair-accessible.
The state park’s name honors Bill Burton, a reporter, writer and fisherman who has for more than 50 years chronicled outdoor opportunities for Maryland citizens. Mr. Burton was instrumental in preserving the bridge as a fishing pier when the new Route 50 bridge was constructed.
Over 140 bird species have been reported on eBird for the Bill Burton Fishing Pier on the Talbot County side. Note that the name of the eBird hotspot is “Choptank River–Rte. 50 Bridge (Talbot Co.).”
The pier is an excellent observation spot for Osprey, Canada Geese, and a large variety of waterfowl and shorebirds. The area is especially good for viewing Common Goldeneye, Common Loon, and Horned Grebe, often in breeding plumage before they depart in spring. A pair of Peregrine Falcons nest on the Choptank River Bridge (probably most reliably seen from the Cambridge side at Sailwinds Park). A network of paths goes through scrub habitat and along the beach on the north (Talbot County) side of the river (see trail map at link at left). In winter, the scrub hosts a variety of sparrows and other wintering passerines. There are excellent water viewpoints from the beach as well as from the pier, and there are stone jetties off the beach that provide a resting place for gulls and cormorants.
Fishing (tidal fishing license required), crabbing (recreational crabbing license may be required), biking, and picnicking are all permitted.◾ See links at https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/ChoptankPier/Fishing-Crabbing.aspx for details about fishing and crabbing licenses. ◾ There are picnic tables in the meadow on the Talbot County side of the park. ◾ The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Maryland Historic Trust have produced a series of water trail maps for the Choptank River and Tuckahoe Creek, available as a free download. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Talbot Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
A Voice for the Rivers is a special episode of Outdoors Maryland from Maryland Public Television that focuses on the work of the riverkeepers in safeguarding and working to improve the health of the major rivers of the Upper Eastern Shore: the Sassafras, the Wye, the Miles, the Chester, and the Choptank. There is beautiful footage of the open waters, marshlands, and shoreline forests, as well as discussion of the challenges of pollution and sea level rise.
Paved lot at the entrance.
To reach the Talbot County side of the Fishing Pier from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Take US-50 east and south toward Cambridge. Within sight of the US Route 50 bridge over the Choptank River, turn left onto Bolingbroke Point Road. Where the road bends to make a sharp curve to the left, continue straight ahead to the parking area. See trail map at link at left.
From points north on the Eastern Shore: Take US Route 301 south to MD Route 213, then follow Route 213 south to its intersection with US Route 50. Follow signs to Route 50 south, and continue toward Cambridge. Within sight of the US Route 50 bridge over the Choptank River, turn left onto Bolingbroke Point Road. Where the road bends to make a sharp curve to the left, continue straight ahead to the parking area. See trail map at link at left.
From Vienna or points south: Take US Route 50 north and west toward Cambridge. Go over the Route 50 bridge over the Choptank River and then immediately turn right onto Bolingbroke Point Road. Where the road bends to make a sharp curve to the left, continue straight ahead to the parking area. See trail map at link at left.
Caroline County: Adkins Arboretum ◾ Choptank Marina ◾ Daniel Crouse Memorial Park ◾ Idylwild Wildlife Management Area ◾ Martinak State Park ◾ Skeleton Creek Road & Bethlehem Road ◾ Tuckahoe State Park (Caroline County)
Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Cambridge – Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Dorchester County Side) ◾ Cambridge – Great Marsh Park ◾ Cambridge – Oakley Street ◾ Cambridge – Sailwinds Park & Visitor Center ◾ Chesapeake Forest – North Tara Road ◾ Elliott Island Road / Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area (Eastern Section) ◾ Hooper’s Island ◾ Taylor’s Island
Queen Anne’s County: Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center – Horsehead ◾ Conquest Preserve ◾ Ferry Point Park ◾ Matapeake Clubhouse & Beach / Matapeake Fishing Pier & Boat Ramp ◾ Terrapin Nature Park ◾ Tuckahoe State Park (Queen Anne’s County) ◾ Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)BoardwalkBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Chesapeake Bay Eastern ShoreCommunity and Urban ParksState ParksThe Rivers of the Eastern ShoreWater Trails