At a Glance
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.
Tips: Bring a compass and good map if you plan to do off-road exploring. ◾ Black bears occur in the area; exercise caution. ◾ This is an active hunting area. Be aware of hunting seasons and visit accordingly. ◾ Restrooms are located in the Headquarters area.
Best Seasons: Spring and fall migration.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Cherry Run NE, Cherry Run CE, Clear Spring NW, Clear Spring NE, Clear Spring CW, Clear Spring CE, Clear Spring SW
Local MOS Chapter: Washington County Bird Club
Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area
14038 Blairs Valley Road, Clear Spring, MD 21722
Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Washington County is a 6,400-acre tract of state-owned hunting land managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The WMA abuts the Pennsylvania state line to the north. Indian Springs is a wonderful birding destination for spring and fall migrants. Most of the habitat is upland deciduous woodlands of oak and maple, with numerous streams and a 30-acre man-made lake stocked for fishing. There are wetland areas upstream from the lake and below the dam. Agricultural fields at Indian Springs are planted to provide habitat and winter food for game and non-game species.
The area around the lake just north of the intersection of Blair’s Valley Road and Hanging Rock Road contains the headquarters for Indian Springs WMA. A trail circumnavigates the lake, and there are several other trail heads here. Wandering around the roads and trails within the WMA can be very rewarding for the avid birder and naturalist. There are vast areas of intact upland hardwoods and fields to explore. The lake area also has a campgr0und, boat launch, and restrooms.
There are numerous other parking areas and access points for Indian Springs (see Trail Map at link at left). Turning north onto AT&T Road from Hanging Rock Road takes you into a bird-rich valley with a stream along the western edge of the road. Farther to the west along Hanging Rock Road will bring you to Catholic Church Road, with numerous “birdy” spots along the road and the side roads off of it.
Over 135 species have been reported on eBird for Indian Springs WMA. A great starting point are the lands on either side of Blair’s Valley Road just south of the Pennsylvania state line. To the east, a small parking area allows access to overgrown fields that are well into secondary successional growth, supporting White-eyed Vireo and Gray Catbird as well as Whip-poor-will and Chipping Sparrow.
The west side of Blair’s Valley Road contains a large wetland/field and wooded swamp where American Woodcock display in late winter. Breeding birds include Blue-winged Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-breasted Chat, and others. Following the trail to the west takes you up the east face of Bear Pond Mountain. Listen for Common Ravens that nest in the rock outcroppings along the ridge. Wood Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and many others breed in the rich woods of this mountain, along with Pileated, Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Northern Flicker.
You should also visit Blair’s Valley Lake, where the WMA headquarters are located, and bird the lake and the trails near the lake, which offer a mix of field and woodland habitats. Along AT&T Road, there are Louisiana Waterthrush as well as other breeding songbirds. DO NOT go beyond the gate on AT&T Road! It is private property; you will not make it very far and you may be arrested! In addition, there are other private property sections within the WMA, so be alert to not trespass without permission from the landowner.
Paved and unpaved roadside lots, as indicated on the Trail Map at the link at left.
Indian Springs WMA is the core of the Indian Springs Important Bird Area (IBA), as designated by the National Audubon Society. ◾ Hunting dog field trials are held near Blair’s Valley Road several times a year. Consult local newspapers for schedules; the field trials can be noisy with barking dogs and it may be best to pick another time to visit. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Washington County Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with information presentations, all free and open to the public.
From I-70 at exit 18, go north on MD Route 68 through the town of Clear Spring to Broadfording Road. Turn right and continue 0.6 miles and turn left onto Blair’s Valley Road. Continue 4.2 miles, staying on Blair’s Valley Road to reach the eastern parking lot at the north end of the WMA, near the Pennsylvania state line. At 2.6 miles from Broadfording Road, you may want to stop at the headquarters building near the lake to get a map of the area and trails, unless you have printed a Trail Map from the link at left. The lake area is also a good place to start your birding visit to Indian Springs.
Antietam National Battlefield, Fort Frederick State Park – Big Pool, Sideling Hill WMA & Environs, Greenbrier State Park.
ConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Lawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsOld Fields, Shrubby Meadows Freshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirRivers & Streams
Features:Birding By CarBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchCampingFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsHuntingParkingRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible Features
Type:Audubon Important Bird AreasHunting AreasPonds, Lakes, and Reservoirs