At a Glance
Hours: Grounds open daily from 8 am – 4:30 pm, except January 1, Thanksgiving Day, & December 25. The Visitor Barn Bookstore is open daily from 9 am – 3:45 pm.
Tips: Bring a scope. ■ If you plan to hike the Woodlot Nature Trail, sturdy waterproof hiking boots are recommended. ■ The park and farm can be crowded with families on nice weekends spring through fall. Try to visit in early morning or on weekdays for a quieter experience. ■ Restrooms are located near the Visitor Barn Bookstore.
Best Seasons: Year-round.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Alexandria CE
Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm
6411 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, MD 20745
Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm is a 512-acre park in Prince George’s County, managed by the National Park Service. The park is nestled on the eastern shore of the Potomac River, just outside the Washington, DC line, and just inside the Capital Beltway. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway runs by the park’s western edge, and just to the south is the eastern end of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, which carries the DC Beltway over the Potomac to Alexandria, VA.
Oxon Hill Farm and the natural areas of Oxon Cove Park comprise a rich, diverse ecosystem that supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. The park contains woodlands, hedgerows, large open fields, and views of the marshes along the Potomac River. Oxon Hill Farm is a historic working farm within the park that has live farm animals and exhibits and demonstrations related to historic farming practices.
The topography of the park consists of two general zones: an area of broad Potomac River floodplain and a high upward terrace. The upland terrace is cut and divided by several small intermittent streams that descend to the floodplain. The floodplain is crossed by Oxon Run, a stream that broadens into a shallow estuary of Oxon Cove before joining the Potomac River. At low tide, mudflats are exposed along the shore of Oxon Cove and along Oxon Run.
Oxon Cove Park offers two trails that allow visitors to walk at their own pace to explore some of the natural features of the park. These trails are the 0.3 mile Woodlot Trail and the 1.6 mile Hiker-Biker Trail, which descends down a gentle slope from the Oxon Farm area and makes a wide curve to eventually follow the Oxon Cove shoreline. The Hiker-Biker Trail passes through beautiful broad grassy fields. At its north end, the Hiker-Biker Trail connects the park to the residential neighborhoods of Forest Hills, MD, and Blue Plains, DC.
Over 205 species have been reported on eBird from Oxon Cove Park/Oxon Hill Farm.
The waters of Oxon Cove and the Potomac River are good for waterfowl and gulls in winter and for terns in summer. There are breeding Bald Eagles and Ospreys. At the farm field, there may be breeding Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows; Bobolinks in migration; and winter sparrows (Savannah, Vesper, White-crowned, American Tree).
Up-slope from Oxon Run is a former landfill that may harbor Lincoln’s Sparrows or other sparrows in migration. Oxon Cove is a good spot for migrating shorebirds. The hedgerows are good for spring migrant warblers, and the woodland is a good place to find migrant thrushes as well as breeding Wood Thrush and winter-resident Hermit Thrushes. The farm area attracts swallows in the warm months.
The paved Hiker-Biker Trail is wheel-chair accessible, offering great views and a wide variety of habitats to those who are mobility-impaired. The foot-trails at Oxon Cove Park are not wheelchair-accessible. The National Park Service website says: “Most of the roads and paths at Oxon Hill Farm are gravel or dirt. If you or someone in your group is in a wheelchair or has other mobility or special needs, please call the park before your visit at 301-839-1176 so that we can make sure to accommodate these needs as best as possible. Braille park brochures are at the visitor center.”
Pets are allowed on leash; pick up after your pet.
Oxon Hill Farm has interesting exhibits of farm animals, making this an excellent place for families with children. ■ The Visitor Barn houses a bookstore operated by a concessioner. A wide variety of educational merchandise can be purchased, many of which are geared towards children. A percentage of the purchase amount is returned to the park for development of interpretive programs. ■ A self-guided walking tour features all the historic buildings that lie within the farm area, illustrating the evolving history of the park and farm over the years. ■ There is a small picnic area near the parking lot. ■ The park offers free daily wagon rides, a good way to see the park if you prefer not to walk. ■ The park emphasizes nature education for children. A variety of children’s activities sheets are provided on the park’s website. In addition, the website has educational materials for teachers and offers field trips for schools. ■ The park hosts a “Be a Junior Ranger” program for children 6 years and older.
Local MOS Chapter:
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.
Oxon Cove Park has its own YouTube channel, with a large collection of videos. The video “Hiking and Biking at Oxon Cove Park” will take you on a four-minute tour of the different habitats at the park, in scenes shot in the winter. Most of the other videos feature the historic aspects of the park as well as the present-day farm and activities for children.
Paved lot near the park entrance.
Since a major widening of the DC Beltway and its interchanges with I-295 and MD Route 210, Oxon Cove Park has become more hemmed in and challenging to access. Follow these directions carefully and see the detailed map of the park entrance area.
From the Capital Beltway (I-495/I-95) in Maryland: Stay in the local lanes and take Exit 3 (MD-210/Indian Head Highway). At the light, go straight, over all the lanes of traffic on Route 210. This puts you on Bald Eagle Road. Just before you come to the bridge over the beltway, you will see the entrance to the parking lot on the right.
From the Capital Beltway (I-495/I-95) in Virginia: Stay in the local lanes and take Exit 3B (MD-210/Indian Head Highway north) toward Forest Heights. Make a right at the stop light onto Oxon Hill Road westbound. Immediately get in the middle lane so you do NOT take the exit for MD-210/Indian Head Highway northbound. At the second stop light, make a right onto Bald Eagle Road. Drive across the bridge and the entrance to the parking lot will be on your left.
From I-295 near Washington, D.C.: Take I-295 south until it ends at I-495/I-95 and MD-210 Indian Head Highway. Take the exit for I-495/I-95 toward Baltimore. Take exit 3B (MD-210 Indian Highway north) towards Forest Heights. Take a right at the stop light onto Oxon Hill Road west. Immediately get in the middle lane so you do not take the exit for MD-210 Indian Head Highway north. At the second stop light make a right onto Bald Eagle Road. Drive across the bridge and the entrance to our parking lot will be on your left.
From South Capitol St/Indian Head Highway (MD-210) from Washington, D.C.: South Capitol Street will turn into Indian Head Highway (MD-210) at the DC/MD border. Continue on Indian Head Highway (MD-210) through Forest Heights. At the top of the hill leaving Forest Heights, make a right at the stoplight onto Bald Eagle Road. Just before you come to the bridge over the beltway, you will see the entrance to the parking lot on the right.
From Indian Head Highway (MD-210) from Southern Maryland: Take the MD-414/Oxon Hill Rd exit. At the stoplight, turn left onto Oxon Hill Road. Then make a right at the light at Bald Eagle Road. Drive across the bridge and the entrance to the parking lot will be on your left.
Prince George’s County: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (restricted access) ■ Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Colmar Manor Community Park & Anacostia River Trail ■ Cedarville State Forest ■ Fort Foote Park ■ Fort Washington (National) Park ■ Fran Uhler Natural Area ■ Governor Bridge Natural Area ■ Greenbelt (National) Park ■ Greenbelt Lake Municipal Park (Buddy Attick Lake Park) ■ Lake Artemesia Natural Area ■ Merkle Natural Resources Management Area ■ Milltown Landing Natural Resources Management Area ■ Patuxent Research Refuge – South Tract (National Wildlife Visitor Center) ■ Patuxent River Park – Jug Bay Natural Area ■ Patuxent River Park – Mount Calvert Historical & Archaeological Park ■ Piscataway MOS Sanctuary ■Piscataway (National) Park: National Colonial Farm, Boardwalk, Wharf Road/Farmington Landing & Marshall Hall ■ Rocky Gorge Reservoir – Supplee Lane Recreation Area & Duckett Dam ■ Rosaryville State Park ■ Schoolhouse Pond
Charles County: Chapman State Park & Chapman Residual Wildlife Management Area ■ Indian Head Rail Trail ■ Mattawoman Natural Environmental Area ■ Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area ■ Smallwood State Park
Bottomland DeciduousHedgerowsUpland Deciduous FarmyardLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseReclaimed Industrial Site Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsHay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Free - No Entry Fee at Any TimeGift Shop or BookstoreHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsNature Education ProgramsParkingPets AllowedRestroomsVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Community and Urban ParksHistorical SitesNature CentersThe Rivers of the Western Shore