Self-Guided Opportunities
Day Walking Hikes
Location Calvert Cliffs State Park
Lusby, Maryland
Off Maryland Route 24, 14 miles south of Prince Frederick
Calvert County
Trail Access Off the main parking lot
Distance Red Trail - 3.6 miles
Blue Trail - 2.2 miles
Yellow Trail - 1.5 miles
Orange Trail - 1.5 miles
White Trail - 2.6 miles
Silver Trail - 1.2 miles
Time Varied
Trail Conditions Some boardwalk but mostly cut paths through the woods. Most paths interconnect at some point. Maps are available on entering.
Skill Level Easy to moderate
Suitable For Families? Yes, taking into account the ages and experience of the children.
Hazards/Restrictions Some areas may be wet and slippery. Precaution should be taken against chiggers, spiders, ticks and also poison ivy and sumac. Absolutely NO climbing is allowed on any part of the cliffs. Beach area does not have lifeguards. Swimming is at your own risk. Be sure to carry enough water with you for the walk, especially if walking to the beach.
Potable Water Yes, but only at the public area by the parking lot. Be sure to carry enough for your walk.
Natural Features This day use park contains over 1,400 acres of woods, ponds, streams, swampy marshes and wetlands including over a mile of shoreline, part of this being a sand beach. This variety of habitat is a haven for insects and wildlife as well as a wide assortment of birds. The beach is also home to two endangered species of beetles, the puritan tiger beetle and the Northeastern beach tiger beetle.
Historic/Cultural Features The main feature of the park is the huge Miocene cliffs that dominate the waterfront. These cliffs rise over the Bay over 100 feet and are slowly eroding at the rate of almost 3 feet per year. They were created over 10 million years ago when the Chesapeake Bay was still a shallow sea. As the waters receded, the sea floor became exposed and what was to become fossils gathered at this point. The cliffs are the most extensive assemblage of Miocene fossils in the eastern United States.
Camping Youth group camping only is permitted on park grounds. Point Lookout State Park is the only nearby state facility. For information on private campgrounds in Maryland, please contact the Maryland Association of Campgrounds at 301-271-7012, via e-mail at, or on-line at:
Other Points of Interest While visitors are no longer allowed access to the cliffs themselves, they are more than welcome to walk and dig in the sand and water to look for fossils. The park also contains a small fishing pond and a playground made from recycled tires. Picnic tables and shelters are also available. A side trip to Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary or Calvert Marine Museum would tie in wonderfully before or after visiting the park.
Other Accommodations Contact Calvert County Tourism, 410-535-4583
TDD 1-800-735-2258
Fees or Permits Service charges apply
Description This park shows little evidence of human contact. Over 1,000 acres of this park are designated as wildlands allowing the landscape to return to its more natural state. While the walk to the beach is a bit longer than some might expect, it is well worth it. After following and observing a creek develop into wetland, the path all of a sudden opens to the Bay. The beach is littered with fossils that have fallen out of the cliffs and washed ashore. Many visitors visit with buckets and sieves to help them hunt for sharks teeth and fossilized shells.

Resources Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Small first aid kit
  • Water and a snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Adequate footwear
  • Compass
  • Rainwear