Hike the Ice Cream Trail

Hiker taking a selfie on a trail with ice cream cones along the path  

​​​The Office of Outdoor Recreation has partnered with Maryland’s Best to churn up a delicious challenge for families this summer – hiking the Maryland Ice Cream Trail​!

Now in its 12th year, the state’s official Ice Cream Trail features 12 dairies that produce and serve farm-fresh ice cream. Visitors can win prizes by submitting selfies taken at the various locations, with the chance to win a grand prize if they hit all of them.

To encourage families to extend their trip and get outside, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has identified corresponding hiking trails. If you visit all 11 (Moo Cow Creamery is a bonus location), you will be entered to win an annual Maryland Park Service Passport, valued at $75 or a free one-year subscription to AllTrails.

Use AllTrails to navigate your hike and easily share your adventure on social! AllTrails helps people discover and navigate trails in their neighborhoods and around the world while staying prepared, informed, and ready for the trails.

How to Win

Weekly drawings for Ice Cream Squishy or​​​​ free one-month subscription to AllTrails+

Two ways to enter​

To be entered to win an ice cream cone squishy or free subscription, visit one of the 12 creameries and check-in online via Instagram or Facebook by posting a picture and tagging Maryland’s Best (Instagram @mdsbest, Facebook @mdsbestag). For an additional entry in the weekly drawing, visit one of the designated trails, take a photo of your hike, and post it tagging Maryland’s Best and @MarylandDNR.

All Trails Logo  

$50 Creamery Gift Card

Visit every location on the trail, and take a photo at each stop. When you have visited all 11 (Moo Cow Creamery is a bonus location!), email the photos to icecream.trail1@maryland.gov​ by September 10. You will be entered to win a $50 gift card to a creamery of your choice. The winner will also receive a copy of the children’s book “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” and the 2024 Maryland’s Best Ice Cream Champion Trailblazer trophy.

Maryland Park Service Passport

​ Visit all 11 trails (since Moo Cow Creamery is a bonus, Gambrill State Park is considered a bonus trail as well), and take a photo at each stop. When you have visited them all, email the photos to ​icecream.trail1@maryland.gov, by September 10. You will be entered to win an annual Maryland Park Service Passport, which grants you entry to all state parks.

Maryland Ice Cream Trail Stops


Central


  1. Ice Cream Trail site: Broom’s Bloom Dairy
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Palmer State Park, Iron Works Trail ​(Yellow Trail Loop), 2.5-mile loop, moderate

    From the parking lot, start on the Hornbeam Trail (white blazes). This trail loops partly through the open fields and into the forest. Follow the Hornbeam until you reach the intersection with the Iron Works trail (yellow blazes). If you want to see a tributary to Deer Creek and add some length to your hike (total will be 3.7 miles), take the Iron Works Trail to the Flint Mill Trail (red blazes).​

  2. ​​ Ice Cream Trail site: Prigel Family Creamery
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Gunpowder Falls State Park (Pleasantville Area), Ma & Pa to Pleasantville Loop Trail 4.7-mile loop, moderate

    The Ma & Pa Trail follows the former route of the MD & PA Railroad where it ran along the Little Gunpowder. It is found uphill & upstream of the Bottom Rd parking area. More adventurous visitors can make it a loop by crossing the river at Pleasantville Road and returning downstream on the opposite bank.

  3. waterfall at Rock Run
    Susquehanna State Park 
  4. Ice Cream Trail site: Keyes Creamery
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Susquehanna State Park, Rock Run and Land Of Promise Trail Loop, 1.7-mile loop, moderate

    The river area of Susquehanna State Park is one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution in Maryland. Visitors can catch a glimpse of this history in the park's Rock Run Area. The Rock Run and Land of Promise Loop takes visitors past key features while also highlighting the natural beauty of the stream and bluffs​.


  5. Eastern


  6. Ice Cream Trail site: Chesapeake Bay Farms - Berlin or Chesapeake Bay Farms - Pocomoke
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Assateague Island State Park, Rackliffe House Trail Loop, 1.1-mile loop, easy OR Pocomoke River State Park, Milburn Landing or Algonquin Cross County Trail, up to 19 miles, easy.

    Assateague Island Rackliffe House Trail Loop: Located close to the Chesapeake Bay Farms location in Berlin, the trail loop via historic Rackliffe House shows off what shore living may have been before the beach became the domain of summer vacations. The 18th-century manor house is surrounded by tidal wetlands and an emerging forest. Of course, after walking through history you must cross the Verrazano Bridge and visit the ocean before having a cone.
    OR​
    Pocomoke River Algonquin Trail: Located close to the Chesapeake Bay Farms location in Pocomoke, Milburn Landing anchors the Algonquin Trail - a cross-couny route through the forests of the south shore. Go as long or short as you want on this out-and-back loop. Note you may get wet feet in winter or after a heavy rain. Want to conquer the whole thing? Consider participating in the annual Algonquin 50k foot race held each February.

  7. view of the dark colored Pocomoke River with bald cypress trees in the foreground
    Pocomoke River State Park 
  8. ​​ Ice Cream Trail site: Lockbriar Farms
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area, Tidal Pond Loop, 3.9-mile loop, easy

    Some say the best Bay view from a State Park is the one found from the bluffs at the end of this trail. Double-bonus, you can add in the spur and descend to the Sassafras River to comb through sand and get your feet wet. If you're also a paddler, consider visiting in mid-summer with your canoe to row through the American Lotus which blooms in the river close by the Turners Creek put-in.

  9. Western


  10. Ice Cream Trail site: Deliteful Dairy
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Fort Frederick​ State Park, Beaver Pond Loop, 1.5-mile loop, easy.

    The signature feature of the park is its namesake fort. But if you drive past you'll also find the C&O Canal, numerous ponds, and the Potomac River. The Beaver Pond Loop starts by one of the ponds and extends into a field being transitioned to forest before returning to the trailhead via a route along the river.

  11. Ice Cream Trail site: Misty Meadow Farm Creamery
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Cunningham Falls State Park (William Houck Area), Lower Trail and Cliff Trail Loop, 1.2 miles (out & back or loop), lower trail (red blaze) is easy, cliff trail (yellow blaze) is hard​.

    There are two trails you can take to access the Falls from the lake. The Lower Trail (red blaze) is the shortest and easiest access to the Falls, with interpretive signs and benches along the way. The Cliff Trail (yellow blaze) is more challenging with rough terrain and strenuous hiking past rock outcrops that lead to the falls. You can choose one of the trails as an out & back, or combine the trails to make a loop.

  12. Ice Cream Trail site: Rocky Point Creamery
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Monocacy Natural Resource Management Area, Furnace Branch Trail, 2.6 miles out & back, easy.

    This trail follows an old wagon road along Furnace Branch. The stream and the trail are named for the Johnson Iron Furnace, a pioneering ironworks that was located alongside the creek about 1/4 mile along the trail, just beyond a large plank deck bridge. The trail has four stream crossings, so make sure to bring shoes that can get wet. In the mid-summer, consider also visiting the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area to check out the sunflower fields!

  13. Ice Cream Trail site: South Mountain Creamery OR South Mountain Ice Cream Shop
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Gathland State Park, Lamb’s Knoll via Appalachian Trail, 7.4 miles out & back, hard. OR Carroll Creek Linear Park Loop, in Downtown Frederick, 1.8 loop through downtown.

    Gathland State Park Lamb’s Knoll Trail: A large stone monument dedicated to the memory of Civil War correspondents is the outstanding attraction of this day-use park. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses the park and passes the monument base. You can simply visit the monument or head out on a 7.4-mile out-and-back hike along the AT.

  14. Ice Cream Trail site: Woodbourne Creamery at Rockhill Orchard
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Patuxent River State Park, Scott Branch Loop, 2.5-mile loop, easy.

    Find the Scott Branch Loop trailhead on the opposite side (Montgomery County) of the river from the trailhead/parking. The 2.5-mile loop provides a good snapshot of the park, with upland forests, creekside trails, and high bluffs over the river. Doing the loop counter-clockwise saves the best river views for your big finish!

  15. Ice Cream Trail site: Happy Cow Creamery
    Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area, Morgan Run Loop, 3.4-mile loop, easy.

    Located in Carroll County, the Morgan Run Natural Environment Area is comprised of approximately 2,000 acres of natural area. Hiking and equestrian trails are popular. The Morgan Run is a catch-and-release trout stream. This is a great place to walk and around explore but the trails are not as clearly marked as in other State Parks, if you want to try the 3.4-mile loop, we recommend using the AllTrails map.

  16. view of Morgan Run from the accessible fishing platform
    Morgan Run​ 
  17. BONUS!*
    Ice Cream Trail site: Moo Cow Creamery

    *You do NOT have to visit this creamery to qualify for the grand prize​ ​
    ​Hike the Ice Cream Trail site: Gambrill State Park, Yellow Poplar Trail, (yellow blaze), 6.2-mile loop, hard​.

    The longest of the Gambrill trails, this trail is only moderately difficult. Visitors who have several hours can hike up the mountain and out into the far reaches of the park. Enjoy the view from North Frederick Overlook as you continue north along a moderately sloped ridgeline walk.






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