At a Glance
- Grounds: 8 am-sunset daily, except closed on Christmas Day.
- Visitor Center: Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, daily 9 am-5 pm.
- Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekends and holidays: $4/car MD residents, $6/car, non-MD residents.
- Memorial Day to Labor Day, weekdays: $3/car MD residents; $5/car non-MD residents.
- Off-season weekends (after Labor Day through Friday before Memorial Day): $3/car MD residents; $5/car non-MD residents. Honor system in effect; use pay station.
Tips: Bring a scope if looking for waterfowl or gulls. ◾ When the park fills to capacity, additional cars will be turned away. The park often fills on summer weekends and holidays. ◾ Waterfowl and managed deer hunting takes place in season; be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. ◾ No bikes allowed on the Black Marsh trail. ◾ The paved Haul Road hiker-biker trail is wheel-chair accessible. ◾ Restrooms at the Visitor Center.
Best Seasons: Spring, fall, winter. Often crowded in summer.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks (includes the Haul Road Trail): Sparrows Point NW, Sparrows Point NE, Sparrows Point CE
Local MOS Chapter: Baltimore Bird Club
North Point State Park
8400 North Point Road, Edgemere, MD 21219 (410) 592-2897
North Point State Park is a 1,310 acre park southeast of the City of Baltimore, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay near the mouth of the Patapsco River. The Defenders Trail, which passes through the park, was used by soldiers in the War of 1812, when the area was under siege by the British. From 1906 through 1947, an amusement park was located here, and remnants of the amusement park era still exist in the park. The park has a beach where swimming is allowed, but lifeguards are not provided. There are also two fishing piers that provides access to scan the Bay for gulls, terns, and ducks.
Habitats include a large freshwater marsh, deciduous woodlands, bayshore with an outstanding view of the Chesapeake Bay, meadows, and farm fields. Within the park, a 667-acre section of the Black Marsh Natural Area (667 acres) has been designated a State Wildlands, with special protections that limit uses to passive recreation. There are trails and an observation platform in the Wildlands; bicycles are prohibited in black Marsh but permitted elsewhere in the park. The Wildlands, along with the park’s other areas, provide great opportunities to observe birds and wildlife, including muskrats, beavers, foxes, and otters. Dragonflies are abundant in the warm months.
Part of the park is a long extension framing a paved hiker-biker trail known as the Haul Road (not shown on the park trail map – see instead https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maryland/edgemere-haul-road-trail), which extends 1.6 miles from the town of Edgemere to the main section of the park, joining the main entrance at North Point Road. The Haul Road is wheelchair-accessible throughout its length. The Haul Road was used in the 1800s to transport heavy materials from the steel mill at Sparrows Point to Fort Howard at the tip of North Point.
Over 240 species have been reported on eBird from North Point State Park. There are several eBird hotspots that cover North Point State Park:
- North Point State Park overall – 245+ species
- North Point SP – Black Marsh – 232+ species
- North Point SP – Visitor’s Center and Crystal Pier – 61+ species
- North Point SP – Defenders Trail – 86+ species
The Black Marsh Wildlands host many kinds of herons during summer and in fall migration; Little Blue Herons are abundant and Tricolored Heron is possible. Cattle Egrets may be found in farm fields on the way to the park. Glossy Ibis also occurs in the park. Warblers and other passerines come through during spring and fall migration. Wood Ducks nest in the wetlands.
In winter, look for diving ducks on the Bay, including Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Common Goldeneye, and Bufflehead. Both Red-throated and Common Loons can also be seen in winter. Pied-billed Grebes occur from September through May, and Horned Grebes and Red-necked Grebes may be present during a brief window in spring. Snow Buntings have become almost annual and like to hang out on the long pier that goes out to the Bay behind the Visitor Center and old Trolley Station; the buntings can be found in the sparse grass at the edges or the very end of the pier.
Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Red-Shouldered Hawks, and Red-tailed Hawks are commonly seen; Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks and Northern Harriers are less common but present. Virginia Rails and Soras may be found in the Black Marsh Wildlands. Look for gulls and terns from the fishing pier or the beach. Woodpeckers are present year-round.
Look for swallows, flycatchers, vireos, and warblers in migration; some species nest here and are present during the summer.
Paved lots as shown on Trail Map at link at left.
The Haul Road is a paved hiker-biker, wheelchair-accessible trail extending 1.6 miles from the town of Edgemere to the main park entrance. See https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maryland/edgemere-haul-road-trail. ◾ The Takos Visitor Center is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. ◾ Did you know: North Point takes its name not from geography, but from Captain Robert North, who in the late 1700s operated a commercial sailing vessel out of the area now occupied by Fort Howard, at the tip of the peninsula. Captain North named the area after himself. ◾ North Point State Park is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service; see https://www.nps.gov/chba/planyourvisit/chesapeake-gateways.htm.◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Baltimore Bird Club. The Baltimore Bird Club is the founding chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, and remains an important hub of birding activity in the state. The club offers monthly meetings with informative presentations and a full schedule of field trips and bird walks, all free and open to the public.
From the north or east side of the Baltimore Beltway/I-695: Take the Inner Loop of the Baltimore Beltway/I-695 toward Essex/Key Bridge. Follow I-695 to Exit 42 (MD Route 151/North Point Boulevard). Exit and bear right onto MD Route 151 south to first traffic light. Make left onto North Point Road. Follow through the town of Edgemere for 2 miles to North Point State Park on left.
From the south or west side of the Baltimore Beltway: Take the Outer Loop of the Baltimore Beltway/I-695 toward Glen Burnie/Key Bridge. Follow I-695 over Key Bridge (toll) to Exit 43 (MD Route 158/Bethlehem Boulevard/). Exit and make a left at first traffic light onto MD Route 158/Bethlehem Boulevard. Follow Bethlehem Boulevard east for one mile to North Point Boulevard. Cross over North Point Boulevard onto North Point Road. Follow North Point Road through the town of Edgemere for 2 miles to North Point State Park on left.
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsOld Fields, Shrubby MeadowsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)BoardwalkEntry Fee (Daily, All Year)FishingHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesHuntingObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsSwimmingVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Chesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkChesapeake Bay Western ShoreState Natural Areas & WildlandsState Parks