Self-Guided Opportunities
 
Charles County
Start/End At Dr. Mudd's house, turn right on Dr. Mudd Road and go 1.5 miles.
Bryantown Road on right, turn right. Go 2.9 miles.
Road changes name at Route 5 to Oliver's Shop Road. Continue on for 5.8 miles.
At Route 6 turn right and continue for 4.3 miles.
At Bel Alton-Newtown Road, turn left and continue 4.3 miles.
At Route 301 turn left and continue 1.4 miles.
At Pope's Creek Road turn right and continue for 3.2 miles.
END OF HISTORIC TRAIL
Continue on Pope Creek, turning left on Edge Hill Road. Continue for 2.8 miles. At Route 301 turn left and continue for .3 miles. At Budds Creek Road turn right and continue for 1.7 miles.
At Penns Hill Road, turn left and continue 5.3 miles. At Route 6, turn right and begin to retrace your steps.
Trail Access Limited to Dr. Mudd House. Recommend you drive this first.
Distance 23.4 miles from Dr. Mudd's house on Pope's Creek
45 miles round trip
Time Varies with number of stops and condition of cyclist.
Trail Country roads with some rolling hills. Most roads have no shoulders. Please reference the Southen Maryland Bicycle Map. All roads are listed and rated, however this specific trail is not marked.
Skill Level Moderate
Suitable For Families? Yes, taking into account the ages and experience of the children
Hazards/Restrictions Traffic along the roads. Shoulder-less roads with some blind hills and curves.
Potable Water There are limited numbers of commercial establishments along this route.
Natural Features Rolling hills
Zekiah Swamp
Potomac River
Allen's Fresh
Historic/Cultural Features Follows the escape route of John Wilkes Booth after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. Various historic markers along route denotes significance of specific locations. Dr. Mudd's home is open only on Wednesdays and weekends. Call for hours. The return trip offers spectacular views of the Potomac River, Allen's Fresh and Zekiah Swamp.
Bike Rentals/Services Available in Waldorf
Camping Smallwood State Park
Aqua Land
Goose Bay
Other Points of Interest The small towns along the route as well as the forests.
Pope's Creek and its variety of eating places.
Other Accommodations There are hotels and motels in the area in Indian Head, La Plata and Waldorf.
Fees or Permits Admission is charged at the Dr. Mudd House.
Description "After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods and last night being chased by gunboats till I was forced to return wet, cold and starving...I am here in despair." -- dairy of John Wilkes Booth, April 21, 1865


This trail winds its way through farm fields, woods and swampy areas. Many of these farms date back to the Civil War period. By the time you reach Pope's Creek, one can almost empathize with Booth's despair. The 21st of April marked a week since the shooting, during which Booth had been consistently running and hiding with a broken leg. Virginia, the place he believed would offer sanctuary for him, was in his very sight but still unattainable. The frustrution is reflected in his very words. The return trip offers exceptional views of the Potomac River, Allen's Fresh and marsh as well as the Zekiah Swamp.


Resources
  • Southern Maryland Bicycle Map, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Boards of County Commissioners
  • The Washington Post, "Tracking an Assassin," Sarah Mark, April 14, 1995
  • ADC street map of Charles County
  • The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House, 301-645-6870
Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Since route can be driven, cyclists are encouraged to take a windshield tour before making final selection
  • Bug repellent and sunscreen
  • Be aware of your skill level and make safety your constant companion
  • Tire repair kit or tube
  • Helmet
  • Bike pump