Let's Enjoy an After Work Hike and Check Out Calverts Cliffs, Forage the Beach for Some Fossils Too! An Easy 4 Mile Newbie Friendly Hike with Post Hike Happy Hour!
" Calvert Cliffs State Park is unique among hiking opportunities in the region for its up-close views of the Calvert Cliffs from below, fossil hunting opportunities, and hiker-only access to the Chesapeake shoreline along a mile of sandy beach. The cliffs and the shores below contain more than 600 species of fossils from the Miocene epoch, more than ten million years ago. The cliffs were formed when southern Maryland was under a shallow sea.
Adding to the pleasure: Foraging for fossils on the sandy beach is permitted.The pic on the left is from a recent trip!
"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."
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 at 3.6 miles round trip, 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. The trail is dirt with some boardwalk (very sturdy) but mostly cut paths through the woods and flat.
Some time will be spent on the beech looking for fossils so you might want to bring some sandals and something to wear to cool off and take a dip in the water in the warmer seasons!
Hike Plan specifies for This Hike
It is just over 1.75 miles out to the water and about the same distance back with a 20-30 minute beach stop to search for sharks teeth. We will be taking the ORANGE trail to the water and returning back the service road for a hike in the park. The Orange trail has two low but steep hills, and is the longest trail in the park. The service road has two long steep hills, and two shorter ones on the return.
This 3.5 mile loop walk will take just over 1.25 hours with time to stop at the water for a total time of about 2 hours. If the group desires we can then retire to a group choice pub for proper beverage delight after in Solomon’s at the Ruddy Duck or Prince Frederick where the number of places is plentiful. The trail is well groomed and well marked, there are only 4 hills. It is a lovely time of year to walk the park.
We will be leaving the parking lot promptly at 4:30 p.m. and this will be a good walking clip.
Nearby City: Solomon's Island
Length: This hike will be about 3.6 miles
Elev. Gain: Minimal
Trail Notes for Leaders
This hike will be led at a moderate pace of about 2.5mph. This is the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books.
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station . Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
Northern Virginia Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Northern Virginia area, meet at Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Station in the north side parking lot. Get directions to the Vienna/Fairfax metro Use the comment section to discuss carpooling with other members.
If you can drive or want to carpool from an additional location, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click here for directions to where we meet for this hike
Hike is at 4:30 p.m.
Carpool meetup time at Vienna is 2:00 p.m.
Carpool meetup time at Savage is 2:30 p.m.
There is an entrance fee of $5 per car.
Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then find another group!
A Leashed FIDO is Welcome On This Hike!