Let's Find Fossils and Take a Hike at Calvert Cliffs! Easy 4.6 Mi (Longer Op.)

  • January 20, 2013 · 11:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

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.

Special Note:

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!

Trail Information
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. 

Hike Pace  

A moderate pace of about 2.5mph and the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books. (most common pace).

Carpool Information

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.

Park Fee

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!

Ken:  [masked]

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  • Barb

    Such a beautiful springlike day and to hike the cliffs with friends made it that much more special. Thanks Ken for taking the time to lead.

    2 · January 20, 2013

    • Rick O'Donnel

      I'd enjoy more hikes in Southern MD. The topography is different and makes a nice contrast with other regions.

      1 · January 21, 2013

    • Chris Chewning

      Southern Maryland hikes would be great.

      January 21, 2013

  • SonaDora

    Beautiful day, great hike! Thanks to everyone who provided interesting facts about the area. Absolutely loved it!

    January 20, 2013

    • SonaDora

      Everybody has jokes!!! But, yes, I did some research. Wish I knew then what I know now....

      2 · January 20, 2013

    • Chris Chewning

      Hope to see you again on another hike soon. :-)

      1 · January 20, 2013

  • Emily Harman

    Awesome hike!

    January 20, 2013

  • Rick O'Donnel

    Wonderful hike in unbelievable weatehr.

    1 · January 20, 2013

  • Ken S

    What a great day for a hike to Calvert Cliffs. As always, we had a great group of hikers. Thanks to Chris for the great pictures he posted. And glad Nana was able to join us after all. Hope to see you all on some future hike. What a great way to exercise.

    4 · January 20, 2013

    • Chris Chewning

      If anyone else has photos please post them. I'm looking forward to the group shot we took.

      2 · January 20, 2013

  • Chris Chewning

    This was a great hike. Fairly easy path on the red trail. You couldn't have picked a better day to be at Calvert Cliffs. Thanks to Ken for a great hike.

    2 · January 20, 2013

  • Midge B

    I'm driving from N. Rockville, near Sahdy Grove Metro, to the park meeting point. Anyone need a ride from up here let me know.

    January 19, 2013

  • Nana

    This hike seems very interesting. However, I may not be able to make it. Is it possible u guys r going to do the same one recently?

    January 14, 2013

    • Ken S

      MAHG often repeats hikes that are popular with our members, but it probably won't be right away. We like to provide variety to our members. Keep check on the MAHG calendar.

      1 · January 14, 2013

    • Nana

      Ok! Thank you!

      January 14, 2013

  • Daren

    I'd also like to carpool from Vienna and will help with gas. If you have room, please let me know.

    January 10, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes, I have room. No problem.

      January 10, 2013

  • Kellie Carlisle

    If you are on the wait list, you will get an e-mail as slots become available. It is a “first come first serve” system for available slots. Slots are open to everyone, whether on the wait list or not. However, being on the wait list will make certain that you are notified when open slots become available as well as letting me know to look for another leader if the trails (and parking) can accommodate it and still comply with our Leave No Trace pledge. Click the following link for how to get off the wait list and RSVP “yes”, http://www.midatlantichiking.co...­ Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance as that is what I am here for.

    January 10, 2013

  • Nathan Dorfman

    If anyone is leaving from the Vienna Metro station, I would appreciate a ride and am willing to help pay for gas. Thanks for your help!

    January 8, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Nathan, I can pick you up at Vienna.

      January 9, 2013

    • Nathan Dorfman

      Thanks Matthew. If possible, please e-mail me your phone number, so I can contact you at Vienna in case we don't see each other. My e-mail address is [masked]

      January 9, 2013

14 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Let's Find Fossils and Take a Hike at Calvert Cliffs! Easy 4.6 Mi (Longer Op.)

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 2 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: Refund only if your RSVP is changed to a "no" 48 hours PRIOR to hike time. No need to request a refund as refunds are ALL done at the same time which is 48 hours before the hike for anyone who changed their RSVP to a "no" by that time.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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