Self-Guided Opportunities
Location Point Lookout State Park Trails
Point Lookout State Park, 301-872-5688
St. Mary's County
Trail Access Hikers can start their hike from any open parking lot. The park's administrative headquarters or Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center are popular starting points. Maps can be obtained at any office. There is a map box on the open porch of the ranger station if all offices are closed.
Distance Varies with the route selected. A basic loop around the park is about five miles.
Time Varies with number of stops made and route selected.
Trail Conditions Park roads and trails are flat asphalt, gravel and dirt construction depending on route option selected. An interesting and challenging route is to walk the perimeter of the park south of the causeway. This route follows the shores of Lake Conoy, the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. If bush wacking, wet marshy areas will be encountered.
Skill Level Novice to moderate. Some sections are on sandy beach or involve walking short distances over rip-rap.
Suitable For Families? Yes, taking into account the ages and experience of the children. The network of route options allow for shortcuts back to starting point if the need arises. Short routes can be selected where rollerbladers, and individuals in wheelchairs or on bikes with training wheels can accompany hikers.
Hazards/Restrictions Traffic on the main public road and the absence of shoulders in some areas should be considered when planning your route. Mosquitoes are likely to be found on back trails. Trails are shared with bike traffic. Watch for poison ivy, ticks and chiggers along the trails.
Potable Water Water and restrooms are available, although many restrooms are closed in the winter.
Natural Features The Chesapeake Bay, Lake Conoy and the Potomac River are nearby. This is also a favorite place to watch the birds, especially during the spring/fall migrations. Migrating monarch butterflies can be found in August and September.
Historic/Cultural Features Before you get to the park office, you will pass the Confederate Monuments and cemetery. It is worth the stop. Other historical interest sites along the hike include: The Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center which records the history of Point Lookout during the Civil War; and the site of the Confederate POW Camp and Fort Lincoln are south of the causeway. The Point Lookout Lighthouse can be viewed at the southern tip of the park. The Lighthouse is open to the public the first Saturday of each month from April - November (except July and September when it is the second Saturday).
Camping 1-888-432-CAMP
Other Points of Interest The Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center
Many roads and trail side interpretive signs offer interesting stopping points.
Other Accommodations Hotels and motels are located in Lexington Park. A bed and breakfast is located near the park.
Fees or Permits May-September, Weekends and Holidays $5/person; weekdays May-September $3/vehicle; weekdays and weekends October-April $3/vehicle. Out-of-state residents add $1 to all day use service charges
Description This is not a challenging hike. The park offers a variety of route options to fit the hikers' abilities and interests. Smooth flat asphalt roads take you through the campground. The Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center are interesting stops. Just outside the Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center there is a short dock leading across a narrow salt marsh and out into Lake Conoy. Behind the Civil War Museum/Marshland Nature Center, is a short trail (Periwinkle Pt.) on the bed of a proposed 19th century Washington, D.C. to Point Lookout railroad. Continuing to meander through the campground, three route options return hikers to Route 5 and across the Causeway. To the east is the Chesapeake Bay, at its widest point. To the west is Lake Conoy. After you cross the Causeway, you can explore the site of the Civil War POW Camp for Confederates and Fort Lincoln. This is the widest spot of the peninsula and has lots of loblolly pine and smaller, dense vegetation. White tail deer and fox are often seen whe rounding bends in the trail. Continue to hike and you will pass the swimming beach and picnic area. Continue to the extreme end to the Point Lookout Lighthouse.

Resources Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Small first aid kit
  • Water and a snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Adequate footwear
  • Compass
  • Rainwear
  • Road traffic is heaviest on weekends