At a Glance
- Huntington NRMA: Open 24 hours/day, daily.
- King’s Landing Park: Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day: Open daily, 9 am-8 pm. Labor Day-Memorial Day Weekend: Open daily, 9 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year’s Day.
Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ King’s Landing Park doesn’t open until 9 am, so if you’re an early birder, visit the Huntingtown NRMA first, because that’s open 24 hours. a day. ◾ Huntingtown NRMA is an active hunting area. Be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. ◾ At King’s Landing Park, there are restrooms at several locations; see trail map at link below. No restrooms or other facilities at Huntingtown NRMA.
Best Seasons: Spring and fall migration. Winter for waterfowl and sparrows.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Lower Marlboro SE, Lower Marlboro SW, Benedict NE
King’s Landing Park & Huntingtown Natural Resources Management Area
King’s Landing Park – 3255 Kings Landing Road, Huntingtown, MD 20639; (410) 535-2661
Huntingtown WMA – 2450 Smoky Road, Huntingtown, MD 20639; (301) 743-5161
King’s Landing Park and the Huntingtown Area of King’s Landing NRMA (referred to as Huntingtown NRMA for short) are two properties located on the eastern shore of the Patuxent River in Calvert County. The two properties together comprise a natural area totaling over 1,200 acres., including hardwood and softwood forests, fields, and prime freshwater marshland.
King’s Landing is a 260-acre county park bordering the Patuxent River and Cocktown Creek Marsh. King’s Landing Park has a history stretching back earlier than Captain John Smith’s exploration of the Chesapeake Bay; more recently it was an active farm and later a YMCA camp. King’s Landing Park is about half open fields and lawns and half wooded. The open areas are kept mowed but there is a small un-mowed section where sparrows may be found in winter. A gazebo overlooks the marsh; another, the Patuxent River. There are good trails throughout – see the trail map at the link at left.
A pier extending out into the Patuxent River affords a good place to look for waterfowl in winter. There is a launch area for canoes and kayaks; visitors can rent kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards on site (in season) or bring their own. The campsites, shown on the trail map, are for youth groups only. There are well-stocked bird feeders in front of Tom Wisner Hall, in a pollinator garden area.
North of King’s Landing Park, on the other side of the Cocktown Creek and marsh, lies the larger (over 1,000 acres) Huntingtown NRMA, managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources primarily for hunting. There is no official website for Huntingtown NRMA, but DNR does provide a trail map (see link at left). The NRMA is worth a visit while you are in the area, and actually boasts a larger bird list than the park. Like other hunting areas, Huntingtown NRMA offers a naturalistic setting with no visitor amenities such as restrooms. There is a dirt road that runs the length of the NRMA, providing access to woods, fields, and wetlands, but there are no other maintained trails. Remember that the NRMA is an active hunting area, so be aware of hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
Over 165 species have been reported on eBird from Kings Landing Park, and over 185 from Huntingtown NRMA. Breeding species at both locations include Bald Eagle, Osprey, Wood Duck, and Red-headed Woodpecker. There may be a small remnant population of Northern Bobwhite at the NRMA; listen for them in May. American Woodcock are present at the NRMA from November through March. The two sites are also good for wintering waterfowl and sparrows and for migrant passerines.
Numerous paved parking lots in King’s Landing Park. Two small gravel lots near the entrance of Huntingtown NRMA. See trail maps at the links at left.
King’s Landing Park is one of the sites on the Patuxent Water Trail. ◾ The Kings Landing to Cocktown Creek Water Trail runs along the Patuxent River shoreline and connects King’s Landing Park with Huntingtown NRMA. There is also a spur trail that goes up Cocktown Creek, through good marshland habitat. Kings Landing to Cocktown Creek Water Trail is described in the Calvert County Water Trails brochure. ◾ An equestrian facility at King’s Landing Park includes a riding ring, judge’s stand, restrooms, and water hydrants. It’s bring-your-own-horse. ◾ King’s Landing Park also offers fishing, a soft launch for canoes and kayaks, canoe and kayak rental, a picnic area, a swimming pool, group camping, and lot of other visitor amenities. Picnic pavilions and the indoor Tom Wisner Hall can be rented for group events. ◾ A pollinator garden at Tom Wisner Hall also has bird feeders. ◾ Education programs are offered throughout the year, sponsored by the Calvert Nature Society. ◾ King’s Landing Park is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service. ◾ There is no chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society in Calvert County, but many birders participate in MOS through the Anne Arundel Bird Club or the Patuxent Bird Club; both of these MOS chapters offer field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public. In addition, the Southern MD Audubon Society serves birders in Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Prince George’s Counties.
Two options are given: visiting Huntingtown NRMA followed by King’s Landing Park, or the reverse, and both with approaches from the north and from the south.
- To reach Huntingtown NRMA from the Annapolis area: From US Route 50, take Exit 23 for MD Route 2/Solomons Island Road southbound. You’ll pass through a couple of roundabouts – just follow the signs to stay on MD Route 2 south. MD Route 2 joins with MD Route 4 north of Huntingtown; make a right turn here and immediately get into the left lane to make a left turn onto MD Route 262/Lower Marlboro Road. Travel 2.0 miles west on Lower Marlboro Road, then turn left (south) onto Mill Branch Road. In 0.8 miles, turn right (southwest) onto Smoky Road. Smoky Road will bring you to the NRMA entrance in about 1 mile.
- To reach Kings Landing Park from Huntingtown NRMA: Exit the NRMA via Smoky Road, and turn right (southeast) onto Mill Branch Road. Travel 0.4 miles and turn right (south) onto Huntingtown Road. Go 1.5 miles and turn left (west) onto King’s Landing Road, which will bring you into the park in 2.2 miles.
- To reach Kings Landing Park directly from the Annapolis area: From US Route 50, take Exit 23 for MD Route 2/Solomons Island Road southbound. You’ll pass through a couple of roundabouts – just follow the signs to stay on MD Route 2 south. MD Route 2 joins with MD Route 4 north of Huntingtown; bear slightly to the left here to stay on MD Route 2/4 southbound. In 2.6 miles, bear right to go south on MD Route 524/Old Town Road. Travel just half a mile and then turn right (westbound) onto MD Route 521/Hunting Creek Road, which becomes Huntingtown Road and then King’s Landing Road further on. The road will bring you directly into the park in 3.5 miles.
- To reach Huntingtown NRMA from Kings Landing Park: Exit the park via King’s Landing Road and turn left (north) onto Huntingtown Road. Go 1.5 miles and turn left (northwest) onto Mill Branch Road. In 0.4 miles, turn left again onto Smoky Road, and go west for about 1 mile to the NRMA entrance.
To reach Kings Landing Park coming from the south in Calvert County: Take MD Route 2/4 north to MD Route 524/Old Town Road at Huntingtown. Make a left here to go north on MD 524. Then take the first left onto MD Route 521/Hunting Creek Road, which becomes Huntingtown Road and then King’s Landing Road further on. The road will bring you directly into King’s Landing Park in 3.5 miles. If you wish to visit Huntingtown NRMA next, follow directions above from King’s Landing Park to Huntingtown NRMA.
To reach Huntingtown NRMA coming from the south in Calvert County: Take MD Route 2/4 north to MD Route 524/Old Town Road at Huntingtown. Make a left here to go north on MD 524. Then take the first left onto MD Route 521/Hunting Creek Road, which becomes Huntingtown Road further on. At the intersection with Holland Cliffs Road on the left, turn right to continue on Huntingtown Road. Go 1.5 miles and turn left (northwest) onto Mill Branch Road. In 0.4 miles, turn left again onto Smoky Road, and go west for about 1 mile to the NRMA entrance. If you wish to visit King’s Landing Park next, follow directions above from King’s Landing Park to Huntingtown NRMA.
Calvert County: American Chestnut Land Trust – Parkers Creek Preserve, Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary / Gatewood Preserve / Biscoe Gray Heritage Farm, Calvert Cliffs State Park, Chesapeake Beach, Flag Ponds Nature Park, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, North Beach, Solomons Island
Charles County: Indian Creek Natural Resources Management Area
Bottomland DeciduousHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsHay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby MeadowsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features:Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Bird Feeding StationBoardwalkBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingHuntingNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsSwimmingVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Chesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkHunting AreasThe Rivers of the Western ShoreWater Trails