At a Glance
Hours: Grounds open 7 days a week, 7 am to dusk. Visitor Center: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm.
Cost: Daily fee: $6/vehicle; Bring cash; credit cards are not accepted for the entrance fee. Annual and senior citizen lifetime passes available from County Recreation & Parks Department.
Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ Try to avoid visiting on busy summer weekends. ◾ Restrooms are located near all the main parking areas; see trail map at link at left.
Best Seasons: Winter for waterfowl; spring and fall for migrating songbirds.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: South River CE, Annapolis CW
Quiet Waters Park
600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, Md 21403
Quiet Waters is a 340-acre county park located south of Annapolis on the South River in Anne Arundel County. Habitats include mature deciduous forest, wood edges, mowed fields, wetlands, and a native plant garden, along with sweeping views of the open waters of the South River and Harness Creek. The land here was once part of a farm and estate that dates back to the early colonial times.
Bikes and wheelchairs easily navigate the six miles of paved trails. Unpaved trails lead through forested areas and along the shoreline of Harness Creek’s coves. Upon arrival, drive past the gate house and park at any of the pavilions on the right, to access woodland trails (see trail map at link at left). Or park by the Blue Heron Center and walk the loop to the composting center to access woodland trails and wood margins. From the same parking lot, you can walk the woodland trail to the boat rental pier, for good views of Harness Creek. By car or on foot, continue on Quiet Waters Park Road to the last parking lot and then walk the paved trail to the South River overlook.
Outstanding visitor amenities include a Visitor Center with an art gallery; the Blue Heron Center (indoor meeting and event space); seasonal concessionaire rentals of pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes; car-top boat launch; a dog beach; seasonal ice skating; pavilions for rent; picnic areas; and a playground.
Over 180 species have been reported on eBird from Quiet Waters Park.
Breeding: Populations of Bald Eagle, Osprey, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks.
Winter: 20 species of waterfowl, including dabbling and diving ducks; Pied-billed and Horned Grebes; Common Loon; gulls; Winter Wren; Swamp Sparrow; Hermit Thrush; small woodland songbirds such as kinglets.
Spring and fall migration: Northern Gannet; Red-throated Loon; Red-necked Grebe; flycatchers; vireos; thrushes; warblers.
Summer: Herons and egrets, swallows, orioles.
The paved trails in the park are wheelchair-accessible, although some have gentle grades. There is good unobstructed viewing at the South River overlook and at Harness Creek.
The Friends of Quiet Waters Park sponsors a number of events throughout the year, including nature education programs and a long-term study of Eastern Box Turtles. ◾ The Visitor Center Art Gallery is often the venue for nature-related arts shows, sponsored through the Friends. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Anne Arundel Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public. Quiet Waters Park is a partner of the Anne Arundel Bird Club; the club holds some of its monthly meetings there and offers regularly scheduled bird walks.
Anne Arundel County has a short video tour of Quiet Waters Park on YouTube.
Ample paved parking lots throughout; see trail map at the link at left.
From the Annapolis area or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge: From US Route 50, take Exit 22 for MD Route 665/Aris T. Allen Boulevard south. In about 2.6 miles, MD Route 665 will continue south on Forest Drive at a right curve in the road; stay on Forest Drive. In 2.4 miles, turn right (south) onto Hillesmere Drive. In just 450 feet, turn right into the park entrance on Quiet Waters Farm Road.
Anne Arundel County: Davidsonville Park ◾ Downs Memorial Park ◾ Fort Smallwood Park ◾ Greenbury Point◾ Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary ◾ Kinder Farm Park ◾ Lake Waterford Park ◾ Mandares Creek MOS Sanctuary ◾ Oxbow Natural Area ◾ Patuxent Research Refuge – North Tract ◾ Piney Orchard Nature Preserve ◾ Sandy Point State Park ◾ Smithsonian Environmental Research Center ◾ Swan Creek Wetlands | Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility
Prince George’s County: Governor Bridge Natural Area ◾ Patuxent River Park – Jug Bay Natural Area ◾ Patuxent River Park – Mount Calvert Historical & Archaeological Park ◾ Schoolhouse Pond
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseStormwater Retention PondSuburban Neighborhood Hay Meadows, Pasture, Grass Field Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Boat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchBoat RentalsHiking/Walking TrailsNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Chesapeake Bay Western ShoreCommunity and Urban ParksThe Rivers of the Western Shore