Fall Hikes in Maryland State Parks

It’s said that Maryland is “America in Miniature.”

These four hikes not only show off some of what the best State Park’s have to offer but also show there is a bit of truth to that statement!

West Region - Weverton Cliffs segment of the Appalachian Trail

Marylanders are fortunate to have direct access to the most renowned long-distance trail in the US - the Appalachian Trail, also known as the AT. The Annapolis Rocks section north of US-40 is probably the Maryland AT’s most popular day hike and for good reason as the view west from the outcrop is calendar-worthy. But if you want to share the trail with a few less hikers, consider checking out Weverton Cliffs instead. Rising over 500 feet above the Potomac, the rewards are amazing river views and a vista over Harpers Ferry.
Directions: Weverton Cliffs Road Parking Lot, Knoxville MD 21758, follow white-blazed AT north for 0.75 miles to spur to Weverton Cliffs

Central Region - White Banks Trail at Elk Neck State Park

What could be better than combining a backcountry hike with the Chesapeake Bay? The Bay views from the White Banks Trails are arguably some of the best in the State, but you have to earn them - the advantage being a bit of solitude vs similar views serviced by road and parking. Approaching from the north allows visitors to combine a similarly-remote beach visit to your hike as well.
Directions: Starting from Elk Neck SP’s North East River Area, follow white-blazed White Cliffs Trail south for approximately 1.0 mile to cliffs overlook

East Region - Tuckahoe Valley Trail at Tuckahoe State Park

Tuckahoe State Park provides a window to the unique coastal plain ecosystem that dominates Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Running much of the length of the park, the Tuckahoe Valley Trail is a veritable sampler, highlighting upland areas while also dipping down to the bogs and wetlands abuting Tuckahoe Creek. Consider taking a detour into Adkins Arboretum to learn more about the forest you are passing through.
Directions: The Tuckahoe Valley Trail starts opposite of the park’s Lake Day-Use Area at 13187 Crouse Mill Road, Queen Anne MD. Numerous loop opportunities are available - stop by the park office for a trail map

Critical Area Driving route at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

South Region - Critical Area Driving Tour at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary

“Driving Tour”?!I thought this was about hiking! While the route is open for driving on Sundays from 10 AM to 3 PM, the rest of the week it is the domain of hiking boots, horse hoofs, and bicycle tires. And it just so happens to offer some of the best opportunities to observe the marsh areas of Jug Bay along the Patuxent River. Highlights include the boardwalk across Mattaponi Creek and the former fire tower. Note that the CADT is closed to all use 10/1 thru 1/31 to provide a more-restful stopover for migrating waterfowl. However, Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary also offer some exceptional trails to enjoy during this seasonal closure.
Directions: Merkle is located at 11704 Fenno Road Upper Marlboro MD. The CADT heads upstream from the Frank Oslislo Visitors Center.