Let's Check Out Calverts Cliffs, Forage the Beach for Some Fossils, and Enjoy a Hike Too! An Easy 4 Mile Newbie Friendly Hike with Further Distance Options Up to 7 Miles!
"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 right is from a recent trip!
"The main feature of the park is the huge Miocene cliffs that dominate the waterfront as can be seen in the picture at the very top of this listing. 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/or something to wear in case your feet get wet. In hot weather you are welcome to cool off and take a dip in the water!
Nearby City: Solomon's Island
Length: All versions utilize the 3.6 mile red trail with additional mileage options as follows because most trails intersect. After foraging for fossils, those who want to hike further will have input for how much further we go and which trails. I have a map that describes each trail in detail.
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
Elev. Gain: Minimal
Note to hike leaders: Please be certain to use the Calvert State Park Map for this hike. The hike is hike number 17 in the book "Circuit Hikes in VA, WV, MD, and PA" with additional mileage and the entire customized hike on our Everytrail.com site. You should have received a package of state park maps, PATC maps, and several hike books/guides when you joined our leadership team as part of your perk package. Please contact Kellie if you do not have these so she can purchase them for you.
A moderate pace of about 2.5mph and the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books. (most common pace).
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 11:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Vienna is 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Savage is 9:30 a.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!
FIDO is Welcome On This Hike!