Spring is a good time to enjoy a nice hike and outdoor picnic among the budding trees, blooming wetlands, and wildlife habitats located in Calvert County by the Chesapeake Bay. The American Chestnut Land Trust is a beautiful and well-maintained destination that's popular with hiking groups. It's conveniently situated and also FREE to visit.
The private non-profit American Chestnut Land Trust (ACLT) protects over 3,000 acres of wetlands, forest, and farmland in rapidly developing Calvert County, Maryland. Although not a state park, it welcomes the public to hike and enjoy its various trails. The ACLT is comprised of two sections - North and South - that have separate trailheads for parking and hiking.
The crown jewel of ACLT is Parkers Creek (shown above). The Calvert Cliffs and sandy shoreline in the vicinity of the mouth of Parkers Creek look much the same today as they did 400 years ago when Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay. A visitor can still experience unspoiled salt marshes and wooded freshwater wetlands that show few signs of human activity.
Full details about ACLT are available here:
Hiking the Parkers Creek Loop
We'll meet up at the North Side Trailhead (see the driving directions below). Our hiking route will be the Parkers Creek Loop, which is a connected network of ACLT trails that explore the north side of Parkers Creek. The hiking distance is approximately four miles on natural surface trails, so dress accordingly and wear shoes that can handle any muddy conditions. This hike should take about four hours, depending on how long we spend exploring and picnicking.
The individual trail segments of the Parkers Creek Loop are rated easy to moderate in difficulty, with several inclines but no steep hills. You can view and print the ACLT North Side trail map showing Parkers Creek Loop here:
Along the way during our hike, we'll look for a nice place to stop and have a picnic. Bring something tasty to eat and refreshing to drink that you can carry with us. Unlike public parks, there is no stated prohibition against alcohol in ACLT's rules, so a little wine can enhance our outdoor adventure. Our group of food aficionados always brings a variety of good dishes with plenty to share. Great al fresco dining is one of the delightful benefits we enjoy in Second Half Rally!
The ACLT is a "leave no trace" natural environment, and we'll need to carry out everything that we take in. Keep that in mind when deciding what to bring.
Directions to the North Side Trailhead
Go two miles east on Dares Beach Road (Route 402) from the light on Solomons Island Road (Routes 2/4) in Prince Frederick. Turn right on Double Oak Road and drive one mile. Turn left onto the gravel lane at the ACLT sign. Follow the lane past the white house (ACLT Office) to the Visitor Parking. After parking, please sign in at the Trailhead Information Center on the porch at the barn.
We'll need decent hiking weather for this event. A little rain won't stop us and can even add to the adventure. But we won't hike in miserable conditions that ruin the fun.
Call Jake at 703-798-8435 if you need to find us. I can't always answer my phone at events, and I'm not sure my Verizon iPhone will get reception in that area. But you can always try.
I hope to see you there!
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