At a Glance

Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Lake Artemesia is almost always busy with walkers, bikers, fishermen, etc and is generally safe. However, other part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System have been prone to crime; if you explore, stick to daylight hours & take a friend or a dog.

Best Seasons: Year round.

Local MOS Chapters: Patuxent Bird Club

Lake Artemesia Natural Area

55th Street and Berwyn Road, Berwyn Heights, MD 20740
(301) 627-7755

Lake Artemesia Natural Area is located in the community of Berwyn Heights, just outside College Park in Prince George’s County. It is a large (by suburban standards) 38-acre lake created on the site of a former maze of fish ponds, excavated by the DC Metro for gravel for its rail line. In mitigation, the Metro constructed the lake and surrounding paved trails and facilities. The Natural Area is now managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation of Prince George’s County.

This is one of the best inland aquatic habitats in the DC suburban area. The park contains the Luther Goldman Birding Trail, named in memory of a very influential wildlife biologist who lived in  College Park during the latter years of his life. Luther Goldman (1909–2005) was best known for his photographs of endangered species of birds, taken during his service as chief photographer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In later years, he led many natural history tours and field trips, both in the National Capitol area as well as abroad.  He was a member of both the Maryland Ornithological Society and the Prince George’s Audubon Society, and received honors from both in recognition of his many contributions to the organizations and to the cause of wildlife preservation in general. Local birder Dave Mozurkewich has written a site guide for the Luther Goldman Birding Trail, available to download from http://www.pgaudubon.org/LGBTrail_Site_Guide.pdf. 

The paved and wheelchair-accessible Luther Goldman Birding Trail circumnavigates the lake; a branch passes across a grassy meadow, and a side trail leads up and down adjacent Indian Creek.  Cross the bridge at the south end of the lake and walk back along Indian Creek or continue south to the College Park Airport, checking creek-side vegetation during migration.

As can be seen on the trail map at the link below, the trails around Lake Artemesia (inset at upper right on the map) are part of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System, a huge hiker-biker trail network that permeates the entire northern section of Prince George’s County.  The Anacostia Tributary Trail System connects numerous commmunity parks and greenways in the suburban areas of the county near College Park and the northern boundary of Washington, DC.

Bird walks are offered twice a month by Prince George’s Audubon Society and Patuxent Bird Club. See the calendar at https://patuxentbirdclub.org/calendar-3/ for details.

Birdlife:

Over 205 species have been reported on eBird from Lake Artemesia. In winter, the lake may have a good collection of ducks including Redheads, mergansers, and other diving species; loons; and grebes. The meadow, if un-mowed, is good for sparrows and other wintering birds. In spring the surrounding woods are a magnet for warblers and other passerines. The pond is good for gulls and terns and swallows, in season. In summer, egrets and herons may stop by. In fall, migration is also good, with Rusty Blackbirds and Bobolinks possible. Gallinules and even rails have shown up when the vegetation on the lakeside is allowed to grow. Breeding birds include Wood Duck, Green Heron, Purple Martin, Warbling Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, and both orioles.

Parking:

Paved lot at intersection of Berwyn Rd. and Ballew Ave. in Berwyn Heights.

Special Features:

The entire trail around Lake Artemesia is paved and can be navigated in a wheelchair. Handicapped-accessible side-trails can be accessed at the 5200 block of Calvert Road in College Park, or Osage Street and Swathmore Court in Berwyn Heights. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Patuxent Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.

Directions:

From the Capital Beltway (I-495), take Exit 23 South (Kenilworth Avenue). Make a right onto Greenbelt Avenue (Route 193). Make a right on Branchville Road. Branchville Road becomes Ballew Avenue after passing under a bridge. Follow Ballew Avenue until you get to the intersection of 55th Avenue and Berwyn Road. Parking is in a paved lot on the left side. Walk south on the blacktop trail along 55th Avenue to reach the main gate into Lake Artemesia Natural Area.

Nearby Sites:

Patuxent Research Refuge – South Tract; Greenbelt Lake Municipal Park (Buddy Attick Lake Park); Greenbelt National Park; Fran Uhler Natural Area; Governor Bridge Natural Area.

Habitats:

Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ParkLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseReclaimed Industrial SiteUrban or Small Town Landscape Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirRivers & Streams

Features:

BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)FishingFree - No Entry FeeHabitat Restoration ProjectHiking/Walking TrailsLake, Pond, Bay, River, OceanNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedRestroomsWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Community and Urban ParksHiker-Biker Trails (Paved)Ponds, Lakes, and Reservoirs