Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Quest -
Full in the Summer, Bare in the Fall, Habitat For All

Introduction to Quest

Merkle Wildlife SanctuaryThis self-guided hike starts on the Paw Paw Trail and allows teams to identify native trees in the area.

Quest Information

Teams can walk to the trail head from the Visitor’s Center parking lot. Each stop on the trail will describe the different ways that trees are used as habitat and shelter for different animals and allow participants to see examples throughout the trail. They can end the quest at the end of the Paw Paw trail or they can continue down the Poplar Springs trail to learn how to identify the native trees in our forest using different methods for the different seasons and pass by our award-winning Yellow Poplar tree.

Parts of the trails go through open fields and forested areas to participants should bring sunscreen, bug spray and water. Participants must cross Merkle Road while walking the Poplar Springs Trail.

Families will need to stop at the visitor center before starting their quest to pick up a copy of the worksheet, or find a copy in a box directly outside the visitor center. The visitor center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 1st through November 1st.


Park Information

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is a 1,670 acre Canada Goose sanctuary on the Patuxent River. It provides farm field and forest habitat for many different species including deer, fox, and geese. Visitors are welcome to visit any one of our five ponds for fishing, wildlife observation or photographing. Merkle offers four hiking trails, a Critical Area Driving Tour, and our Visitor’s Center with interpretive displays and activities. There are also live animals displayed in our Visitor’s Center including turtles, snakes, and an Eastern Screech Owl. The park also provides a great environment for bird-watching from large birds or prey like eagles and osprey to small songbirds like bluebirds and orioles.

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary
11705 Fenno Road
Upper Marlboro MD 20772
443-510-9920

Directions to Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

From Annapolis: 32 miles
Follow Route 50 West to Route 301 South. Continue on Route 301 South to Croom Road (Route 382). Turn left on Croom Road. Continue on Croom Road and turn left on St. Thomas Church Road, which will turn onto Fenno Road. Continue until you see Sanctuary signs on your left at Merkle Road.

From Baltimore: 38 miles
Exit Beltway (I-695) at Route 97 South. Follow to Route 3 South and then to Route 301 (joins at the junction with Route 50). Continue on Route 301 South to Croom Road (Route 382). Turn left on Croom Road. Continue on Croom Road and turn left on St. Thomas Church Road, which will turn into Fenno Road. Continue until you see sanctuary signs on your left at Merkle Road.

From Washington, D.C.: 11.7 miles
From Beltway (I-495/95) follow to Exit 11 at Route 4 East (Pennsylvania Avenue) toward Upper Marlboro. Continue on Route 4 to Route 301 South. Continue on Route 301 South to Croom Road (Route 382). Turn left on Croom Road. Continue on Croom Road and turn left on St. Thomas Church Road, which will turn into Fenno Road. Continue until you see sanctuary signs on your left at Merkle Road.​

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