At a Glance
Hours: 7 am – sunset, 7 days a week
- Payable by credit card only at automated gate: $3/vehicle for MD residents; $5/vehicle out-of-state residents. No honor box, no cash.
- May use annual state park pass or Golden Age pass or military/veteran ID; however, a swipe card is necessary for those with a pass to enter via the automated gate. To obtain a swipe card (no additional fee), email a photo of your existing park pass or military/veteran ID to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Duty Ranger at 667-500-2417 for more information.
Tips: Bring a scope if you want to stop near the Bohemia River bridge to scan for gulls, terns, or waterfowl. A scope is not needed if walking the woodlands and fields. ■ Trails may be wet or muddy. Wear sturdy waterproof hiking boots or shoes. ■ This park is used for deer hunting. Be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. Consider visiting only on Sundays during deer seasons. ■ Portable restrooms at the parking area.
Best Seasons: Fall through early summer. The park may be busy during the summer and fall. Parking is limited. Visit on weekdays and arrive early.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Cecilton NW
Local MOS Chapter: Cecil Bird Club
Bohemia River State Park
4030 Augustine Herman Highway (MD Route 213), Chesapeake City, MD 21915
Park Entrance GPS Coordinates: 39.470564, -75.854376
On-site Duty Ranger: (667) 500-2417
Headquarters: (410) 398-1246
Bohemia River State Park is one of the newest parks in the state park system, having opened in April 2022. The debut of this park has been greatly anticipated by local birders and the community in general ever since the MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acquired the land from the Bayard family in 2017. Bohemia River State Park is being managed by DNR as a Natural Resources Management Area, with a focus on passive recreation, including hiking, birding, paddling, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding.
The park consists of 460 acres with significant frontage on the shores of the Bohemia River, Great Bohemia Creek, and Burkalow Creek in southern Cecil County, below the C&D Canal. There are numerous small streams and wetlands in the park, some of which contain rare, threatened, or endangered plants species.
The land was previously farmed and contains great bird habitat, including 225 acres of upland forest, 40 acres of emergent wetlands, and 112 acres in agricultural fields. Some acreage has been set aside for conservation projects and habitat restoration. In 2020, over 2,400 native hardwood trees were planted on 8 acres to reforest areas that had been in agricultural production. A pollinator meadow called South Meadow is a featured part of DNR’s Project Butterfly and Bumblebee. The pollinator meadow has been seeded with native wildflowers and contains some areas in grass and clover in transition between conventional agricultural fields and native meadow plants.
The color-blazed trail system (see trail map at link at left) makes use of farm roads and hunting foot-trails left over from the property’s years as a working farm. Currently about 5 miles of natural surface trails are available, with more planned for the future. The trails circle the pollinator meadow and some of the agricultural fields, and others traverse the woodlands, including a trail to Oak Point on the Great Bohemia Creek and another to a scenic overlook at Greenbrier Point, where the Great Bohemia Creek joins the wide Bohemia River. You will find that there are many unmarked, unofficial trails throughout the park, giving you many options for exploration.
Note that the State Park Trail Map linked at left is GPS-enabled, which means that you can load it into a GPS smartphone app such as Avenza and the map within the app will show your actual location as you move around the trail system. This is a good way to avoid misplacing yourself in the large landscape of the park, and will also help you plan your walking route and distances.
The approximate lengths of the main trails are:
- Access Trail (unblazed gravel lane from parking area to Oak Point) – 0.5 miles (one-way distance)
- Oak Point Trail (yellow-blazed), from parking area to Oak Point (where the canoe/kayak launch will be) – 0.6 miles (one-way distance)
- Greenbrier Trail (red-blazed) –from the parking area via the black Access Trail south to a right onto the red-blazed Greenbrier Trail, then on to Greenbrier Point – 1.6 miles (one-way distance)
- South Meadow Trail Loop (gray-blazed), accessed from the Greenbrier Trail – 0.3 miles (this is just the U-shaped South Meadow trail; distance does not include any part of the Greenbrier Trail)
- Watercress Trail (blue-blazed), from the parking area via a portion of the Oak Point Trail, then east to a loop around a large agricultural field, then return to parking area – 3.0 miles (round-trip)
- Burkalow Creek Trail, the park’s newest, having opened in January 2023. Located on the north side of the park, and accessed from two points on the Watercress Trail. The trail meanders through a wooded area, offering views of the water along the way. The Burkalow Creek Trail is open for hiking, equestrian, and bike use but is not yet shown on the park’s trail map. We’ll provide a link to the updated map when it becomes available. – 0.25 miles long (one-way from/to the Watercress Trail).
A very nice starter loop hike would be to take the gravel Access Trail from the parking area to Oak Point, then return to the parking area via the yellow-blazed Oak Point Trail, a round-trip distance of about 1.1 miles. This relatively short hike will give you a sense of the distances and habitats in the park.
The park plans to extend the entrance road to provide vehicle access to a future canoe/kayak launch at Oak Point. This access will presumably follow the current Access Trail gravel lane.
While in the area, if you would like to check for birds on the water near the Route 213 bridge over the Bohemia River, a good access point is on the west side of Route 213 on the north shore of the river. There, a small paved parking lot provides public access to foot-trails leading to views over the river at the bridge. This area is used by fishermen and used to be a popular kayak launch spot, but the sandy beach is now gone and there is no good launch area. Still, it’s a good vantage point from which to look for birds on the waters near the bridge.
The historical name “Bohemia” comes from one of the area’s original European settlers, Augustine Herman, who was a native of Bohemia, an area that is now part of the Czech Republic. In the mid-1600s, Augustine Herman was commissioned by Lord Baltimore to map the upper Eastern Shore region. As payment, Herman received a land grant of 4,000 acres that he named Bohemia Manor in honor of his homeland. The land that is now Bohemia River State Park was part of that original land grant. The park includes a manor house and Pennsylvania bank barn that date back to the 1800s. These structures are now being used by DNR as office space and a maintenance hub.
An eBird hotspot for Bohemia River State Park was set up in April 2022, and as of this writing (May 2022), contains 4 checklists totaling 39 species. Based on the available habitat and on previous bird surveys that were conducted for Christmas Bird Counts and Spring Migration Counts during the years that the land was in private ownership, we expect the bird list for the park to grow quickly and significantly.
Species to look for include forest interior dwelling birds such as flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, and warblers. The fields and meadows should host sparrows and perhaps goodies such as Eastern Meadowlarks, Horned Larks, or Black-bellied Plovers, with some variation on what crops are planted in the agricultural fields. The marshes along the Bohemia River and Great Bohemia Creek have historically been good for Wilson’s Snipe, and this includes an extensive marsh at the south end of the park adjacent to Route 213, parallel to the approach to the Bohemia River bridge.
You can expect to find an assortment of herons and egrets in the wetland areas. The Bohemia River normally features terns in spring and summer and an assortment of waterfowl in winter. A Brown Pelican made headlines as a rarity for Cecil County when it appeared near the Bohemia River bridge in November 2018.
We urge Maryland birders to come to the park and submit their eBird lists to help build our knowledge of the birds using this significant area.
The natural surface trails are not wheelchair-accessible. However, when the vehicle road to the canoe/kayak launch is in place, it will provide wheelchair access to a productive strip of woodlands.
Pets are allowed on leash; be prepared to pick up after your pet.
Much of Bohemia River State Park lies within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area; special laws regulate what kind of development can take place within the Critical Area.
Portions of Bohemia River State Park adjacent to the waterfront are classified by the State of Maryland as a Sensitive Species Project Review Area, which means that any planned disturbance to the natural habitat undergoes special scrutiny to ensure that rare, threatened, or endangered species will not be impacted by the project. Most of the woodland within the park is considered important for Forest Interior Dwelling Birds.
Bohemia River State Park’s South Meadow is part of MD DNR’s Project Butterfly & Bumblebee, featuring pollinator plantings at key state-owned parks.
The park is being managed for passive recreation to preserve its natural resources. In addition to birding and hiking, the park allows paddling, fishing, deer hunting, horseback riding, and biking. The park will eventually have a paddling launch site on Great Bohemia Creek at Oak Point.
Local MOS Chapter:
The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Cecil Bird Club, offering field trips and bird walks, all free and open to the public.
Enter the park from MD Route 213 via the main entrance (look for signs). Pay or use your State Park pass at the automatic gate*, then follow the entrance road south to a small paved parking area. The lot may fill to capacity on weekends during nice weather, so plan to arrive early or visit on weekdays.
* Visitors may use annual state park pass or Golden Age pass or military/veteran ID; however, a swipe card is necessary for those with a pass to enter via the automated gate. To obtain a swipe card (no additional fee), email a photo of your existing park pass or military ID to email@example.com or contact the on-site Duty Ranger at 667-500-2417 for more information.
Bohemia River State Park is located in southern Cecil County, on MD Route 213/Augustine Herman Highway, between Chesapeake City to the north and Cecilton to the south.
GPS coordinates for the entrance: 39.470564, -75.854376
From Elkton: Take Take MD Route 213 south to Chesapeake City and cross the tall bridge over the C&D Canal at Chesapeake City. After the bridge, go south on Route 213 for another 4.4 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the left, south of the intersection with MD Route 310/Cayots Corner Road, where there is a gift shop on the left. The road in this section has many curves so stay alert – the sign for the park entrance comes up fast.
From points south on the Eastern Shore: From the Ocean City, Salisbury, Cambridge or Easton areas, use US 50 north to reach US 301 north. Follow Route 301 north for approximately 32 miles, counting from the 301/50 split. At Massey, take the exit for MD Route 313 north. Follow Route 313 north for 2.5 miles, to the town of Galena. At Galena, stay straight at the traffic light to continue onto Route 213 north. Follow Route 213 north to the park entrance in about 9.8 miles. The park entrance will be on the right, just 1 mile north of the bridge over the Bohemia River. Note: along Route 213, the little towns of Galena, Fredericktown, and Cecilton all have very strict low speed limits and vigorous enforcement. Mind the speed limit signs to avoid a ticket.
From Baltimore and points west: If traveling from western MD, use I-70 to reach I-695, the Baltimore Beltway. From the Beltway, take Exit 33 to I-95 north. Follow I-95 north to Exit 109 for Elkton; at the exit, follow signs for MD Route 279 south. In 2.6 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 213/North Bridge Street. Follow Route 213 for 11.5 miles, passing through the town of Elkton and over the tall C&D Canal bridge at Chesapeake City. The entrance to the park will be on the left, south of the intersection with MD Route 310/Cayots Corner Road, where there is a gift shop on the left. The road in this section has many curves so stay alert – the sign for the park entrance comes up fast.
From the Washington, DC area or the Annapolis area: Use US Route 50 eastbound to reach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. After the bridge, at the split between US Route 301 and US Route 50, bear to the left to follow Route 301 north toward Wilmington (do not take US Route 50 to Ocean City). Follow Route 301 north for approximately 32 miles, counting from the 301/50 split. At Massey, take the exit for MD Route 313 north. Follow Route 313 north for 2.5 miles, to the town of Galena. At Galena, stay straight at the traffic light to continue onto Route 213 north. Follow Route 213 north to the park entrance in about 9.8 miles. The park entrance will be on the right, just 1 mile north of the bridge over the Bohemia River. Note: along Route 213, the little towns of Galena, Fredericktown, and Cecilton all have very strict low speed limits and vigorous enforcement. Mind the speed limit signs to avoid a ticket.
From Southern MD (Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s): In Calvert or St. Mary’s County, use MD Routes 2 or 4 northbound to reach US Route 50 near Annapolis. Then follow directions from Annapolis as above. If starting in Charles County, use MD Route 5 to reach US Route 301, then follow 301 to US Route 50 and the Bay Bridge as described for Annapolis above.
Cecil County: Bethel Managed Hunting Area ■ Courthouse Point Managed Hunting Area ■ Elk Neck State Forest ■ Elk Neck State Park – Turkey Point ■ Elk River Park & Elkton Marsh ■ Elkton – Meadow Park, Eder Park, Hatchery Park, & Howard’s Pond ■ Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area ■ Funk’s Pond Recreation Area & Old Conowingo Area ■ North East Community Park ■ Octoraro Creek Trail at Conowingo Park ■ Perryville Community Park ■ Port Deposit & Susquehanna River Road Driving Tour ■ Woodlawn Wildlife Area / New Beginnings
Kent County: Buckingham Public Landing & Morgnec Road Public Landing ■ Chesapeake Farms & St. Paul’s Millpond ■ Chestertown: Wilmer Park, Wayne Gilchrest Trail, & Chestertown WWTP ■ Cypress Branch State Park ■Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge ■ Millington Wildlife Management Area ■ Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area & Turner’s Creek Park
Bottomland DeciduousHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsHay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby MeadowsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features and Amenities:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Entry Fee (Daily, All Year)FishingHabitat Restoration ProjectHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingHuntingNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsParkingPets AllowedRestroomsWater ViewYoung People / Families