Easy and Newbie Friendly 5 Mile Hike to Enjoy the Carnivorous Plants in Cedarville State Forest with Optional Post Hike Meal!
This hike is 24 miles from D.C. and about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore!
The headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp are located in Cedarville. The Swamp is one mile wide, and serves as a major haven for wildlife.Cedarville State Forest is home to several unique features in nature. The Cedarville Bog is considered the headwaters of the largest freshwater bog in Maryland, the Zekiah Swamp.
Of special interest in this bog are several species of insect-eating plants, including the roundleaf sundew (pictured below eating an insect) and the northern pitcher plant (one of these is known as the Venus flytrap which is pictured right). Throughout the SUMMER MONTHS, spy the leaves of these carnivorous plants, which attract insects with their reddish color and entrap them with sticky or bristly hairs.Showy wildflowers also dot the open meadow next to the bog. Look for the pink blooms of Maryland meadow-beauty and milkwort and the purple flowers of Hyssop skullcap. Most of Cedarville is forested with over 50 species of trees, including white and loblolly pine plantations. The Piscataway Indian Tribe made this section of Southern Maryland its winter camping ground because of the mild climate and abundance of game. Legend says there is an Indian Burial ground in Cedarville State Forest, but to date it has not been found. This is a wonderful hike year round but the carnivorous plants, once again, only bloom during the summer months.
An easy hike through deep, shady forest along the banks of meandering creeks. On a hot summer day, there is a drowsy, languid feel to the creeks that run through Cedarville State Forest. They are known to rise up and wash out bridges, and if their steeply cut banks are any measure, they have done so often. But there is little babble to these sandy-bottomed brooks. Walking by them through stands of hardwood and meadows of lush ferns, you are more likely to hear a breeze in the trees than a wild torrent. It is a good setting for a tranquil hike.
We break down into groups no larger than 15 hikers per leader/sweep team for a more enjoyable experience for all of us and is better for the environment. Large groups really take away from the hiking experience for everyone on the trail and not just our group. For this particular hike you have 2 to choose from so you can hike with others of a similar pace. Paces should be based on your preference but also please know your limitations.
Pace Option 1: A "walk in the woods" or "social" pace which is great for those who want to soak up the nature and will be about 2.0mph and great for people who take tons of pics.
Pace Option 2: A moderate pace of about 2.5mph and the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books. (most common pace).
Note: We offer a longer, 13 Mile Version of this hike, which offers a social pace and is currently on our calendar for December 30th. Click here to sign up for that hike this longer hike that also has a butt-kicking fast pace offered in addition to a moderate pace.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Saint Charles
Length: 5.1 total miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Easy
Local Contacts:Cedarville State Forest
Local Maps: USGS Bristol, Maryland
Topo Map: Cedarville State Forest Loop Topographic Map
Trail Surface: Dirt footpaths and old forest roads traverse a heavily wooded area, with short stretches through the watershed of two major streams. Unlike most parts of Maryland there are few rocks and roots (which we call ankle twisters) so you can really take in the view and not have to watch your feet!
Special Features: There is an archery range where you walk through on paths and shoot at targets setup through the woods. It is open when the park is open and is included in your park admission. So bring out your bow to enjoy some practice shooting after the hike!
Facilities: Restrooms, visitor center, campground, archery range, fish hatchery visitor center.
Note to Hike Leaders: This hike is in the book " Hiking Maryland & Delaware Guide Book" and there is also a great state park map available for this hike. The book should have been sent to you when you joined the leadership team so if you do not have it, please contact Kellie
We hike rain, snow, or shine. Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.
Maryland State Residents are 3.00 dollars per car and out of state, 4.00 dollars per car paid by the honor system upon entering the park.
There are 3 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
Annapolis Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the Annapolis area , meetup at the Harbour Center Mall Starbucks. Click here for Annapolis carpool directions for getting to the carpool location.
VA East Area Carpool (Fairfax Area METRO)
People can also arrange to meet at the Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station. Click here for directions to Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, 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 10:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage Park and Ride is 8:30 a.m.
Fairfax Carpool meetup time is 9:30 a.m.
Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.
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 which helps ensure that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then please find another group! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
Fido is Welcome on This Hike