At a Glance
- St. Mary’s River State Park – Lake Area: May through September, 6 am to sunset; October through April, 7 am to sunset
- St. Mary’s River State Park – Hunting Section: daylight to sunset, daily
- Salem State Forest – daylight to dusk, daily
- St. Mary’s River State Park – Lake Area: $3 per vehicle for MD residents; $5 per vehicle non-residents; payable ONLY by credit card at automatic gate; annual or lifetime State Park passholders may obtain a swipe card that enables entry by calling 301-872-5688 or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- St. Mary’s River State Park – Hunting Section: free
- Salem State Forest – free
Best Seasons: The birds are good year-round, but the Lake Area of the State Park may be crowded on weekends and holidays during the summer. Visit on weekdays and arrive early. Crowds are not likely to be a problem at the State Park Hunting Section east of Indian Bridge Road or in the State Forest.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Hollywood SW, Hollywood SE, Piney Point NW, Piney Point NE
Local MOS Chapters: Patuxent Bird Club or Anne Arundel Bird Club
St. Mary’s River State Park & Salem State Forest
State Park Lake Area: 21250 Camp Cosoma Road, Leonardtown, MD, 20650
GPS Coordinates: 38.250796, -76.542330
State Forest Main Tract: 22384 Indian Bridge Road, California, MD 20619
GPS Coordinates: 38.281511, -76.553116
See Parking and Directions below for additional access points.
St. Mary’s River State Park and the adjacent Salem State Forest provide the opportunity to bird in over 4,400 acres of mature mixed conifer and deciduous forest, with scattered pockets of scrub-shrub, secondary growth, wetlands, and a freshwater lake. The variety of habitats is outstanding. The State Park and the State Forest are for walking: there are good trails that make for easy exploration on foot. Though there are summer crowds at the lake in the State Park, a separate Hunting Area as well as the State Forest are blissfully crowd-free. The State Park and State Forest are located near the center of St. Mary’s County, just west of Lexington Park (see map set at link at left), and are easily accessible from major roads
St. Mary’s River State Park (2,643 acres total) consists of two separate areas: the Lake Area (about 480 acres), which includes a boat ramp and modest recreational amenities, and the Hunting Area (2,200 acres), which is undeveloped and includes a state-designated Wildlands. (Note: the MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) refers to the Lake Area as Site 1 and the hunting area as Site 2.) Prior to the state’s acquisition of the State Park, the land was used for farming and logging, and there are many signs of former human habitation, with scattered ruins of homes, barns, schools, and cemeteries.
The lake in St. Mary’s River State Park was created by the state in 1975 by constructing an earthen dam on the Western Branch of the St. Mary’s River; the damming of the river was intended to control flooding in the nearby town of Great Mills. The lake is surrounded by a forest of hardwood, scrub, and pine. Wetlands are located where tributaries of Western Branch flow into the lake. Some drowned trees still remain as snags in and around the lake. The primary recreation activities in the Lake Area of the park are fishing, boating, and hiking. The southern shore of the lake has a paved parking lot, modern restroom, boat launching facilities, picnic tables, and a playground. Adjacent to the parking area is a small pollinator and rain garden with native plants.
A Loop Trail winds through the woods and encircles the St. Mary’s Lake; the total distance of the Loop Trail varies from 7.2 miles to 11.5 miles depending on the exact route followed. This is more distance than most birders usually walk, but it’s possible to make shorter out-and-back walks. Upon arrival at the parking lot for the Lake Area, pick up the Loop Trail near the restroom, and follow the Loop Trail east or west along the shore of the lake for as far as you care to walk, and then turn around and return to your car.
The Hunting Area of St. Mary’s River State Park is located east of the lake area, between Indian Bridge Road and Chancellor’s Run Road. The Hunting Area is centered on the main branch of St. Mary’s River near its headwaters south of St. Andrews Church Road. Although the land looks relatively flat when viewed from the public road, in the interior, the river and its tributaries pass through moderate to steep stream valleys. Wetland areas are situated in the lowlands immediately adjacent to the tributaries and the river. A large swamp is located in the south-central interior of the Hunting Area, flanking a stream valley formed by the main branch of the river. There are scattered upland areas that are often flat and level; some of these flat areas are former farm fields that are being reclaimed by grasses, scrub, and small trees. The woods contain mixed hardwood stands and wetland hardwood species. Some areas contain pine plantations planted during the last decades of the twentieth century. The State Wildlands in the Hunting Area of the park consist of 1,445 acres that include the swamp and wetland sections. There are no recreational facilities in the Hunting Area; it is used for passive recreation, including wildlife observation and hunting.
There are one or two out-and back trails that emanate from each of the four parking areas on the periphery of the Hunting Area of St. Mary’s River State Park (see Parking and Directions below); the trails are not actively maintained or marked and it may require some bushwhacking to get through overgrown sections. Simply walk the obvious trail(s) that start at each parking area. At Parking Area 3 on Norris Road, there are two dirt and grass foot-trails that head south from the parking area, but as of this writing (fall 2o22), both trails are blocked a short distance from the parking area by huge deadfalls. Instead, you can walk (no vehicles) the paved Norris Road past the parking area, as it continues around a bend, and follow it northwest past an old farmstead into the woods, passing a large pine plantation. The paved road turns to gravel and dirt as it heads northwest, and in about a half-mile will bring you to the prominent power line cut that bisects the Hunting Area.
The power line cut itself provides an obvious trail that can be accessed not only from Norris Road, but also from three other points: via an old road (the old Torino road, now overgrown in part) that starts at Hunter Parking Area #2 on Indian Bridge Road; from the point where the power line cut crosses Indian Bridge Road (parking for one car on the road shoulder opposite Arthur Lane); and from Hunter Parking Area #4 at the end of Old Rolling Road. Portions of the power line cut may be overgrown. The power line cut crosses several tributaries of the St. Mary’s River; it may be impossible to traverse the streams and wetlands, so do not expect to be able to walk the entire length of the power line cut. Still, the power line cut offers a way to sample the large expanse and varied habitats of the Hunting Area.
On the east side of the Hunting Area, approximately 80 acres on Chancellors Run Road are owned by the state but leased to the St. Mary’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. This area, known as Chancellor’s Run Regional Park, was developed as a recreation center with outdoor sports fields, tennis courts, a softball hall of fame, and a community activities center/administration building. It is possible to bird around the edges of the Regional Park, but there are no trails that connect it to the Hunting Area of the State Park.
Salem State Forest adjoins the Lake Area of St. Mary’s River State Park: the Main Tract lies north of St. Mary’s Lake, and the Route 5 Tract lies west of the Lake, on the north side of MD Route 5. There are also two small tracts totaling 137 acres that are located on the north and south sides of Wilderness Run Road, south of MD Route 5/Point Lookout Road; these tracts have no trails or roads for access. The State Forest lands were previously owned by the Glatfelter Pulpwood Company and by the Walton Lumber Company and were managed primarily for Loblolly Pine production. Salem State Forest now consists of 1,773 acres and is almost entirely wooded, with opportunities for birding, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding (bring your own horse); most of the State Forest is also used for hunting.
Salem State Forest includes extensive plantings of Loblolly Pine that is more than 30-50 years old. Some areas are harvested from time to time, and then replanted with Loblollies, while other sections are left to regenerate naturally, resulting in stands of mixed pine and hardwoods. Other prominent trees in the State Forest include Virginia Pine, oaks, sweetgum, and other typical bottomland trees. Future forest management strategies will continue the Loblolly Pine management through thinning and regeneration operations. the Narrow-mouthed Toad, a state-endangered species, has been identified in the State Forest. Buffers are in place to protect the toad’s habitat.
The Main Tract of the State Forest, north of St. Mary’s Lake, contains an extensive network of old logging roads and foot-trails. The trail network in the State Forest provides access to the northern section of the Loop Trail that encircles the St. Mary’s Lake in the State Park. Below are directions for a circuit hike through the State Forest and along the north shore of the lake. This circuit hike (total distance 4.4 miles) is well-documented in the free AllTrails app: see https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maryland/salem-state-forest-loop-to-saint-mary-s-lake. Another option is to load the official State Forest Trail Map into a GPS app such as the free Avenza app, which will enable you to see where you are in real time and to track your route on the map.
- From the main parking area for Salem State Forest (see Parking and Directions below), go past the metal gate and walk south on the obvious two-track logging road, called Western Branch Road (see page 4 in the trail map set at the link at left).
- In about 1.4 miles, at a fork in the road, bear left to continue south on Cornerstone Road.
- From here you will reach the State Park’s Loop Trail around St. Mary’s Lake in another half-mile. (If you don’t wish to do the full circuit hike, you can turn around when you reach the Loop Trail and return to your car.)
- Turn left on the Loop Trail and walk about 0.8 miles to the east, which will bring you to the head of a cove on the lake.
- Here, the Loop Trail joins the New Trail, which heads almost due north. Go 0.25 miles north on the New Trail, walk across Crosscut Road, and then continue north on Shortcut Trail. (Note: on the State Park Trail Map on page 2 of the map set linked at left, the New Trail and Shortcut Trail are labeled as the Pine Trail).
- In another quarter-mile, Shortcut (Pine) Trail will bring you to Forest Road.
- Turn left on Forest Road and walk north for 1 mile to return to Indian Bridge Road; at Indian Bridge Road, turn left to return to the parking area by walking the shoulder of the road for 0.2 miles. (There used to be a foot-trail connecting Forest Road to the parking area, but the foot-trail is overgrown and walking the shoulder is now easier.)
As you walk the route above, or by perusing the trail map at the link at left, you will see that there are numerous side trails and alternate routes to explore in the State Forest. The rich habitats make it worth your while to return and explore additional trails.
St. Mary’s River State Park and Salem State Forest are little known among Maryland birders and deserve more attention. The two sections of St. Mary’s River State Park plus Salem State Forest have an aggregate species list of 158+ species, according to eBird.
There are five established eBird hotspots:
- St. Mary’s River SP–St. Mary’s Lake – 147+ species
- St. Mary’s River SP–Hunting Section – 109+ species
- St. Mary’s River SP–Wildlands Section – 89+ species.
- Salem State Forest North – 74+ species (This is the Main Tract.)
- Salem State Forest South – 28+ species (This is the Route 5 Tract of the State Forest; the hotspot is relatively new, with three checklists starting in summer 2022.)
A smattering of waterfowl can be found in the lake within St. Mary’s River State Park;:Canada Goose, Wood Duck, and Mallard are breeders, while other species such as American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Greater or Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, and Ruddy Duck may drop in during migration or during the winter months. Other water birds include Pied-billed, Horned Grebes, and Double-crested Cormorants.
Wild Turkey breeds here. Mourning Doves are abundant. In the summer months, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Chuck-wills-Widows, and Eastern Whip-poor-wills may be found. Chimney Swifts and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are also common in spring and summer.
Along the lake edges, especially when water levels are low, or in some of the wetland areas or wet woods, one can find a modest selection of shorebirds, mostly in low numbers; these include Killdeer American Woodcock, Wilson’s Snipe, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, and Greater Yellowlegs.
Gulls occur primarily in the winter months and include Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed, plus a few Laughing Gulls in summer. Wading birds include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and Green Heron.
There is a good selection of raptors, with year-round residents including Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk. There are also Osprey in spring and summer. Owls include Great Horned, Eastern Screech-Owl, and Barred. American Kestrels, Merlins, and Peregine Falcons are sometimes seen, but are generally rare.
Belted Kingfishers are easy to see and hear, year-round. These extensive woods hold a complete assortment of our local woodpeckers: Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Northern Flicker, plus Yellow-bellied Sapsucker from fall through spring.
There is a good selection of breeding flycatchers: Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested, and Eastern Kingbird; Alder and Least Flycatchers may occur during migration. There are five species of vireo: White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Yellow-throated are breeders, and Blue-headed and Warbling occur during migration.
Corvids include the usual Blue Jays, American Crows, and Fish Crows. Common Ravens are extending their range into southern Maryland, but as of this writing (November 2022), have not yet been observed here.
The lake and wetland areas attract swallows, including Northern Rough-winged, Purple Martin, Tree, Bank, Barn, and maybe, rarely, a Cliff.
Small woodland birds include Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice (both year-round) as well as Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets fall through spring. A nuthatch tri-fecta is possible: White-breasteds are here year-round, Red-breasted drop in from fall through spring, and Brown-headed occurs sporadically. Brown Creepers are another winter resident. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are abundant from April to September.
Wrens include House (summer), Winter (in winter – duh), and Carolina (year-round). European Starlings are present, mostly in the summer. All three mimids breed here: Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, and Brown Thrasher.
In the thrush family, we find Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins year-round; Wood Thrushes are abundant breeders and are present in the warm months; Hermit Thrushes spend the winter; and Veery, Gray-cheeked, and Swainson’s can be relatively easy to find during spring migration. Cedar Waxwings are often found in mixed flocks with the bluebirds and robins, feeding on berry-laden trees and shrubs.
House Sparrows are present but not numerous. House Finches and American Goldfinches occur year-round. There is good habitat for Purple Finches but surprisingly, they have not been reported.
There is a good selection of breeding sparrows in the warm months: Chipping, Field, Song, and Eastern Towhee; plus some fall and winter residents: Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Savannah, and Swamp.
Yellow-breasted Chat is loud and easy to find in the brushy areas – check the power line cuts in the State Forest or the State Park Hunting Area. Several icterids are found in the warm months: Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Red-winged Blackbirds (may be year-round), Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Common Grackles.
The extensive woods of the State Park and State Forest are great for warblers, with 26 species reported. Breeders include Ovenbird, Worm-eating, Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-white, Kentucky, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Pine (year-round!), Yellow-throated, and Prairie. Migrants include Northern Waterthrush, Blue-winged, Cape May, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Black-throated Blue, Palm, Black-throated Green, and Canada; plus there are abundant Yellow-rumpeds from fall through spring.
An iconic bird of these southern woods is the Summer Tanager, and they are everywhere from May to September, along with Scarlet Tanagers. Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings are also numerous in the breeding season. Northern Cardinals, present year-round, are abundant, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks come through in numbers during spring migration.
Cars are not allowed on the old logging roads in either the State Park or the State Forest. There is limited birding possible from or near the car in the parking areas of the State Park or the State Forest. The Lake Area of the State Park is better in that regard in that it has a large parking lot with varied habitat on the periphery. It is possible to drive down to the boat launch area to get a view of the lake. The trails in the State Park are not wheelchair-accessible, but the restroom is handicap-accessible. It might be possible to take a fat-tired wheelchair on part of the main double-track old logging road (Western Branch Road) that extends south from the parking area at Salem State Forest; the entry gate provides a wide passage that allows a chair to get through, but the trail conditions are variable, from smooth sand and gravel to deeply rutted with large puddles and mud.
Pets are allowed on leash; pick up after your pet.
St. Mary’s River State Park (both the Lake Area and the Hunting Section) as well as Salem State Forest lie within the St. Mary’s River Important Bird Area (IBA), as designated by the National Audubon Society. The entire IBA encompasses 13,936 acres, covering the heart of the St. Mary’s River upper watershed in a triangle between California, MD, Lexington Park, and Breton Bay.
The majority of the Hunting Area of St. Mary’s River State Park has been designated as a State Wildlands by the Maryland legislature, constituting 1,445 acres of the 2,200 acres in the Hunting Area. Maryland State Wildlands are areas of state-owned land that have retained their wilderness character or contain rare or vanishing species of plant or animal life or similar features worthy of preservation. There are 38 sites that have been designated as Wildlands by the Maryland General Assembly. Wildlands may include unique ecological, geological, scenic, and contemplative recreational areas. These sites are Maryland’s equivalent to the federal Wilderness Preservation System. State-designated Wildlands are managed for passive recreation only, including hiking, hunting, fishing, bird watching, horseback riding and nature interpretation. See the interactive Wildlands Map.
In addition to birding, recreational activities available in St. Mary’s River State Park and Salem State Forest include hiking, fishing, boating, bicycling (mountain biking only – no paved trails), hunting, and horseback riding (bring your own horse). There are modern restrooms, picnic areas, and a playground in the Lake Area of St. Mary’s River State Park. Not all activities are permitted in all areas – in particular, there are restrictions for the State Wildlands in the Hunting Area of the State Park. The Wildlands are open to passive recreation only. The Hunting Area of St. Mary’s River State Park and Salem State Forest are undeveloped and do not have visitor amenities.
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 Maryland Audubon Society serves birders in Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Prince George’s Counties.
A total of seven parking area and access points for the State Park and State Forest:
St. Mary’s River State Park – Lake Area
- One paved parking area:
- 21250 Camp Cosoma Road, Leonardtown, MD, 20650
- GPS Coordinates: 38.250796, -76.542330
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/CDzLxrjrc3BYa84LA
St. Mary’s River State Park – Hunting Area
Four gravel or dirt parking areas on the periphery of the Hunting Area:
Hunter Parking Area 1
- 21444 Indian Bridge Rd, California, MD 20619
- GPS Coordinates: 38.256793, -76.516974
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/GPFTxxQ3XMA2qeNPA
Hunter Parking Area 2
- 21920 Indian Bridge Rd, California, MD 20619
- GPS Coordinates: 38.268321, -76.528068
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/rJGXFFcbj7Um3J1JA
Hunter Parking Area 3
- East of bend in road and farmstead at 44994 Norris Rd, Great Mills, MD 20634
- GPS Coordinates: 38.272928, -76.505836
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/dmhMQA4hNJdtNF9GA
Hunter Parking Area 4
- South of 22453 Old Rolling Rd, California, MD 20619
- GPS Coordinates: 38.283303, -76.512113
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/pUwK9cqhXUDq67158
Salem State Forest
Two gravel parking areas:
Salem State Forest Main Tract parking area
- 22384 Indian Bridge Rd, California, MD 20619
- GPS Coordinates: 38.281441, -76.553044
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/fyBUKkXB2FGmbHDy7
Salem State Forest Route 5 Tract
- 22389 Point Lookout Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650
- GPS Coordinates: 38.243537, -76.571261
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/zznqCJtg7sYkxh15A
St. Mary’s River State Park and Salem State Forest are located in central St. Mary’s County, near the towns of California, Lexington Park, and Great Mills. The directions immediately below will take you to the parking lot for the St. Mary’s River State Park Lake Area. Scroll further down for directions from the Lake Area to parking and access points for the Hunting Area and to Salem State Forest. Or use the Google Map links given in the Parking section above to generate custom directions to the parking area of your choice.
From the Baltimore area: From the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), take either Exit 11 for I-95 southbound, or Exit 7 for MD 295/Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound. Follow I-95 or MD 295 to the DC Beltway/I-495. At the DC Beltway, follow signs to enter the Beltway traveling clockwise, heading south on I-95/I-495 toward the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Alexandria (you won’t be going that far). From I-95/I-495, take Exit 7 to go south on MD Route 5/Branch Avenue toward Waldorf. Follow signs to continue on MD Route 5 where it joins with US Route 301 south, and then, still following signs, make a left where MD Route 5 splits from US Route 301, to follow Mattawoman-Beantown Road. In 3.2 miles, MD Route 5 makes another left to go south on Leonardtown Road. Follow Route 5/Leonardtown Road for 17.5 miles. Turn right at Point Lookout Road to continue following MD Route 5 southbound. In 18.6 miles, turn left to go north on Camp Cosoma Road, which ends at the entrance to St/ Mary’s River State Park in less than a mile.
From the Washington, DC area: From the DC Beltway/I-495, take Exit 7 to go south on MD Route 5/Branch Avenue toward Waldorf. Follow signs to continue on MD Route 5 where it joins with US Route 301 south, and then, still following signs, make a left where MD Route 5 splits from US Route 301, to follow Mattawoman-Beantown Road. In 3.2 miles, MD Route 5 makes another left to go south on Leonardtown Road. Follow Route 5/Leonardtown Road for 17.5 miles. Turn right at Point Lookout Road to continue following MD Route 5 southbound. In 18.6 miles, turn left to go north on Camp Cosoma Road, which ends at the entrance to St. Mary’s River State Park in less than a mile.
From Western Maryland: Use I-70 eastbound and then I-270 southbound to reach the DC Beltway/I-495. Then follow directions as given above for the Washington, DC area.
From the Eastern Shore: Follow US 301 or US Route 50 to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and continue west on US Route 50 to Annapolis. Take Exit 23 to go south on MD Route 2, and then follow directions as given below for Anne Arundel County.
From points north in Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, or Calvert Counties: As needed, use US Route 301 or US Route 50 to reach MD Route 4, or pick up Route 4 at a point further south. Follow MD Route 4 south to Solomon’s Island. Continue on MD Route 4 on the Solomon’s Island Bridge over the Patuxent River. At the intersection with MD Route 235/Three Notch Road, continue straight on MD Route 4/St. Andrews Church Road. In 2.5 miles, turn left to go south on MD Route 471/Indian Bridge Road. In 4.7 miles, make a hard right onto MD Route 5/Point Lookout Road. In 2.3 miles, turn right to go north on Camp Cosoma Road, which ends at the entrance to St. Mary’s River State Park in less than a mile.
From points west in Charles County: Use MD Route 301 to reach MD Route 5 southbound, or pick up Route 5 at a point further south. Follow signs to continue on MD Route 5 to Leonardtown. Continue following MD Route 5/Point Lookout Road south past Leonardtown. After passing the junction with MD Route 4/St. Andrews Church Road, go another 5.8 miles, and then turn left to go north on Camp Cosoma Road, which ends at the entrance to St. Mary’s River State Park in less than a mile.
Directions to other parking areas from the Lake Area of St. Mary’s River State Park:
To Salem State Forest Rte. 5 Tract: From the parking lot at St. Mary’s River State Park Lake Area, take Camp Cosoma Road south; turn right to go west on Route 5/Point Lookout Road. The State Forest Parking Area will be on your right in 1.6 miles, opposite Chestnut Ridge Drive. From the parking area, there is a wide cut for an old gas line that extends northwest, and a smaller foot-trail that extends northeast.
To Main Tract of Salem State Forest: From the parking lot at St. Mary’s River State Park Lake Area, take Camp Cosoma Road south; turn left to go east on Route 5/Point Lookout Road. In 2.3 miles, make a sharp left to go northwest on MD Route 471/Indian Bridge Road. The parking area for the Main Tract of Salem State Forest will be on your left in 4.4 miles.
To St. Mary’s River State Park, Hunter Parking #1 and #2: From the parking lot at St. Mary’s River State Park Lake Area, take Camp Cosoma Road south; turn left to go east on Route 5/Point Lookout Road. In 2.3 miles, make a sharp left to go northwest on MD Route 471/Indian Bridge Road. Hunter Parking Area #1 will be on your right in 1.6 miles, just past a small mobile home park on the left. Continue on northwest on Indian Bridge Road for another 1.0 mile to reach Hunter Parking Area #2, on your right opposite Bean Farm Lane. Each of the two parking areas has a trailhead for a foot-trail that extends into the Hunting Area; the foot-trail from Parking Area #2 follows the Old Torino Road and extends (with overgrowth in some areas) to the power line cut. The foot-path from Parking Area #1 is shorter.
To St. Mary’s River State Park, Hunter Parking #3 and #4: From the parking lot at St. Mary’s River State Park Lake Area, take Camp Cosoma Road south; turn left to go east on Route 5/Point Lookout Road. In 2.6 miles, make a left to go north on MD Route 246/Great Mills Road. In just under a mile, bear left onto MD Route 237/Chancellors Run Road. Turn left in 1.9 miles to go west on Norris Road. You will pass through a residential neighborhood. Hunter Parking Area #3 will be on your left in about 0.6 miles, just before a bend in the road and a sign proclaiming “No Vehicles Beyond This Point.” From the parking area, there are two foot-trails that head south in the woods; one can also walk the paved road around the bend and northwest into the woods. To reach Hunter Parking Area #4, go back on Norris Road to MD Route 237/Chancellors Run Road and turn left to go north. In 0.8 miles, turn left to go west on FDR Boulevard. In just under one mile, turn left to go south on Old Rolling Road. The paved road will end in about a half-mile, past a house on the right at #22453; continue in your car into the woods on a dirt and gravel road, until you come to a metal gate that marks the boundary of the State Park Hunting Area Park. There is parking on the shoulder of the dirt lane for 2 or 3 cars; be careful not to block the gate. Walk past the gate to go south on an old road that will take you to the power line cut, and explore to the south as far as you like.
St. Mary’s County: Beauvue Ponds & Abell’s Wharf ■ Greenwell State Park ■ Myrtle Point Park ■ Newtowne Neck State Park ■ Point Lookout State Park ■ Historic Sotterley
Calvert County: American Chestnut Land Trust – Parkers Creek Preserve ■ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary / Gatewood Preserve / Biscoe Gray Heritage Farm ■ Calvert Cliffs State Park ■ Flag Ponds Nature Park ■ Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum ■ Solomons Island
Charles County: Allen’s Fresh Natural Area / Zekiah Swamp Natural Environmental Area ■ Indian Creek Natural Resources Management Area ■ Maxwell Hall Park ■ Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features and Amenities:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Boat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchEntry Fee (for Some Areas, Other Areas Free)FishingHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingHuntingNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Audubon Important Bird AreasPonds, Lakes, and ReservoirsState ForestsState Natural Areas & WildlandsState ParksThe Rivers of the Western Shore