Wye Island NRMA

Wye Island near the Cross Island Trail

Wye Island NRMA is located in the tidal recesses of the Chesapeake Bay between the Wye River and the Wye East River. Of Wye Island's 2,800 acres, 2,450 are managed by the Department of Natural Resources Maryland Park Service for resource management, recreation and agriculture. A major emphasis at Wye Island is to provide suitable habitat for wintering waterfowl populations and other native wildlife. A primary resource management objective at Wye Island is the stabilization of the 30 miles of ever-eroding shoreline. These efforts are accomplished through a partnership between DNR and numerous environmental advocacy groups, such as the Chesapeake Bay Trust, schools and scout groups. Service learning opportunities abound at Wye Island. For service learning and volunteer opportunities at Wye Island NRMA, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 410-827-7577 or nrma.wyeisland@maryland.gov


For over 300 years, Wye Island was privately owned and managed for agricultural use, including tobacco and wheat farming. Two of the most noteworthy owners were William Paca and Charles Beale Bordley. Mr. Paca, third governor of Maryland and one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, owned half of the island north of Dividing Creek. Mr. Bordley was a distinguished lawyer and jurist who owned half of the island south of Dividing Creek. In the 1770's Mr. Bordley gave up his law career to devote his life to farming and make Wye Island totally self-sufficient. Under Mr. Bordley's control, the island prospered with its own vineyards, orchards, textile production, brick yard, and even its own brewery.

Eventually the island was sold off into separate farms. The most influential owners were Glenn and Jacqueline Stewart. Ultimately they owned a majority of the land and turned Wye Island into a cattle ranch. The Stewart's built the hunting lodge (Duck House), which remains today on Granary Creek. In the mid 1970's the encroaching threat of residential development forced the State of Maryland to purchase the island to ensure its preservation.

If you would like to learn more about Wye Island, you may want to read the book "WYE ISLAND" by Boyd Gibbons which describes the history of the island.



Wildlife viewing and hiking are the most popular activities on Wye Island's six miles of trails. The School House Woods Nature Trail takes you through a mature hardwood forest while the Ferry Landing Trail leads beneath a canopy of Osage Orange Trees. Wye Island also houses a Holly Tree that is more than 290 years old. Follow the Holly Tree Trail to visit this long-time resident.

The topography of the island is relatively flat. From the novice to the advanced hiker, access to the trails is very easy from the main park road. The Maryland Park Service does not rent horses, and only provides the trails as a means of recreation.

Wye Island NRMA Trail Map

A new map of the trails at Wye Island NRMA can be downloaded for free from this website. Please make sure to read the printing instructions and information for how to download the file to cell phones. The map is in a PDF format that requires Adobe Reader. To get the free Adobe Reader go to Adobe.com.

Visitors are advised to plan ahead and bring insect repellent, sun screen and drinkable water. Visitors should watch for Poison Ivy and check for ticks and other insects while out enjoying the trails.

Wildlife Viewing

Visitors can see a variety of birds and wildlife including ducks, geese, wading birds, Bald Eagles, the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel, whitetail deer and many other species. Horseback riding and bicycling are also popular but visitors are encouraged to approach these activities with respect for the environment. Horses and bicycles may be off limits in some areas during specific times of the year due to trail conditions. Please call ahead to confirm access. Equestrian Riders are prohibited on the Schoolhouse Woods Nature Trail due to the sensitive nature of the area.


Hunting is available at Wye Island NRMA for both Canada Goose and White Tailed Deer through managed hunts and lotteries. The white tailed deer population is specially managed through a hunting program that includes limited hunting days for Shotgun and Muzzleloader through a lottery program. Archery hunting is permitted on a posted schedule with a limited number of hunters each day. These hunts help to maintain the ecological balance between the whitetail deer herd and their habitat. Goose hunting is also limited and controlled through a lottery drawing process. Individuals who are mobility impaired are encouraged to apply for the lottery as there are blinds available that accommodate wheel chairs. Raccoon hunting and Fox chasing are also available on a limited basis by permit. Trapping is not permitted for any species on Wye Island. For more information regarding hunting opportunities/lotteries contact the facility office at 410-827-7577.

Hunting Dog Field Trials

Each November Wye Island is the site of several field trial championships. Past field trial championships include the National German Shorthaired Pheasant Association Championship, the American Pointing Dog Championship and the Maryland Amateur Pointing Dog Championship. The general public is encouraged to watch or participate in these events. For more information on specific dates, contact Wye Island NRMA office at nrma.wyeisland@maryland.gov.

Fishing & Boating

Fishing is also permitted from the shoreline at Wye Island NRMA. All anglers 16 years of age and older must have a Maryland Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing License and any other applicable permits required. Anglers are reminded to follow Leave No Trace (LNT) practices and reduce their personal impact on the sensitive vegetation along the shoreline.

The Wye River is a very popular destination for boaters looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy fishing and crabbing. Kayaking and canoeing are excellent ways to explore the beautiful, ever-changing shoreline. A soft launch is located at the Granary Creek Picnic Area for non-motorized vessels only. There is limited parking at the site, with some additional parking at a small lot approximately 1/4-quarter mile away. Please note - parking is prohibited along the road.

Other nearby public launch facilities, including those that accommodate motorized boats, can be found at Queen Anne's and Talbot County parks. Information on access to these sites can be found by contacting the Queen Anne County Parks Department at 410-758-0835 (www.qac.org), or Talbot County Parks and Recreation Office at 410-770-8050 (www.talbotparks.org).

The coves found around Wye Island provide excellent anchorage for the night or weekend. Consult local navigational charts for details. The most popular spots are Granary Creek and Dividing Creek, located off the Wye East River and anchorages near Drum Point on the Wye River. Boaters are permitted to come ashore and explore Wye Island NRMA. When coming ashore boaters are urged to use good judgement, and pick a spot where the shoreline is gently sloped to minimize any ecological damage.

Camping and Lodge Accommodations


Wye Lodge

Wye Island hosts the DNR Conference Lodge (Duck House). The lodge and grounds are available to rent for your meetings, retreats, company picnics, family reunions, weddings and receptions. The conference lodge is located on Granary Creek just off the Wye East River. For recreation, we provide horseshoes and a large field for other recreational activities. Guests are welcome to hike or bring bicycles to utilize the many miles of trails and shoreline. The lodge can accomodate 25 to 30 people per day for an indoor meeting or event. There are overnight accommodations for 12 people in a dormitory setting within the lodge and adjoining bunkhouse. Outdoors, groups of 50 to 200 people can be accommodated as well using the lodge and nearby pavilion. A self-service kitchen and an outdoor grill are available to users. Pets are permitted in the area but for sanitary reasons are prohibited from being in the Conference Lodge.

Rental charge for the lodge is $250 per day plus a $50 reservation charge. Overnight accommodations in the bunkhouse cost an additional service charge of $50 per night. During certain times of the year, the pavilion can be reserved for a service charge of $175 per day. The lodge and pavilion can be rented as a package for $375 per day. Reservations are accepted one year in advance of your stay and can be made by contacting the Wye Island Office at 410-827-7577 or via e-mail at nrma.wyeisland@maryland.gov.

Youth group camping is permitted at three primitive group campsites. Service charges for use of these areas include a $20 reservation charge, and $3 charge per camper per night for qualified groups. The overnight service charge is waived for youth groups that possess a valid Maryland Park Service youth group pass. Potable water is available at the park office. Group camping is by reservation only. Reservations must be made 30 days in advance by contacting the Wye Island Office at 410-827-7577. All campers must be part of a recognized organization.

Primitive restroom facilities (pit toilets) are available for public access at the Canada Goose Management Area parking lot, the Dividing Creek group campsite, the Equestrian Parking Lot and Ferry Landing Trail.

Campers should be aware that due to the possible transport of parasitic emerald ash borer in firewood, the Department of Natural Resources has a policy restricting the transportation of firewood onto public lands. We ask that visitors utilize only local sources of firewood. For more information, see www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/infocus/emerald_ash_borer.asp.

Pets are welcome at Wye Island NRMA, but they must be under the owner's control and leashed at all times. Pets are not permitted at the DNR Conference Lodge or the Group Camping Areas.


Wye Island NRMA is managed by the Department of Natural Resources Maryland Park Service. Area regulations are posted. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited at all times with the exception of Duck Lodge guests Camping and fires are permitted only in designated areas with appropriate reservations. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on trails, fields, field edges, buffer strips, and grass waterways. All pets must be under the owner's control and leashed at all times, except while participating in an authorized hunt or chase.

Hikers, cyclists and equestrians are asked to avoid traveling on agricultural fields to reduce damage to crops. Trail users should stay on the trails or established grass filter strips. Equestrian Riders are prohibited on the Schoolhouse Woods Nature Trail due to the sensitive nature of the area. Please obey all signs. Areas may be closed to access due to weather or hazardous conditions.


Online Services

Contact the Park Service

  • To Report Violations of Park Rules: 1-800-825-7275 (Park Watch) or 1-410-260-8888 (Communications Center)
  • General Information: 1-800-830-3974 (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Email Us
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