Baltimore Outdoors

Greetings Attendees –

I want to be the first to welcome you to Baltimore.  We are a little less than 2 months away from the meeting and I am sure your travel plans are well under way. To help plan your trip and hopefully elevate your experience, here is a set of resources for you.

First, I encourage all attending to explore the wonderful site put together by Visit Baltimore for our meeting. You will find all sorts of information regarding travel in and around the city, things to do, dining information, etc.  They really have done a great job collating the information for us. Baltimore is one of the nation’s oldest cities, and thus has a rich history.  Half day and full day walking trips abound!

We all enjoy the outdoors.  I am leaning on a great resource to highlight the variety of ecosystems within a three hour drive of Baltimore, Dr. Bryan MacKay’s book, “Hiking, Cycling and Canoeing in Maryland: A Family Guide” (2008, 2nd Edition).  Dr. MacKay rightly states:

“Maryland is a perfect state for outdoor activities like walking, cycling, and canoeing. Maryland extends from the ocean to the mountains, and both are within a three-hour drive for the majority of its residents. Its waters include the tidal tributaries of Chesapeake Bay as well as whitewater rivers draining rolling uplands. Maryland has a great diversity of natural habitats and is home to a large variety of plants and animals.  The variety of outdoor experiences available to citizens is nothing short of amazing.” [p. vii]

Here are a few suggestions for hiking, biking and canoeing noted in his book. I have estimated travel distance from Baltimore for you.


Assateague Island National Seashore (~140 miles, 2:45 by car)
Highlights: Ocean beach, birds, ponies
Contact:  Assateague Island State Park – 410-641-2120, //

Calvert Cliffs State Park (~75 miles, 1:30 by car)
Highlights: Bay beach, fossil-bearing gravels, coastal plain forest
Contact: Smallwood State Park – //

Great Falls Tavern Walk and Billy Goat Trail (~50 miles, 1:00 by car)
Highlights: River gorge/waterfalls, bedrock terrace forest
Contact: C & O Canal National Historic Park – 301-739-4200, //

Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area (~25 miles, 0:30 by car)
Highlights include: Serpentine Barrens
Contact: Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area – 410-922-3044, //

Biking – (Bike Rental – Baltmore Bicycle Works is an option – $25/day, $100/week – CALL AHEAD – 410-605-0705)

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (~110 miles, 2:30 by car)
Highlights: Salt marsh, waterfowl, other birds
Contact: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge – 410-228-2677, //

The National Arboretum (~35 miles, 0:45 by car – public transportation an option)
Highlights: Flowers, shrubs, trees
Contact: The National Arboretum – 202-245-2726, //

Patapsco Valley State Park (~15 miles, 0:30 by car)
Highlight: River valley, quality mountain biking
Contact: Patapsco Valley State Park – 410-461-5005, //

The Northern Central Trail (~30 miles, 0:45 by car)
Highlight: River valley, rolling farmland
Contact: Gunpowder Falls State Park – 410-592-2897, //


Pocomoke River (~150 miles, 2:45 by car)
Highlight: Cypress Swap
Nearby Rental: Pocomoke River Canoe Company – 410-632-3971, //
Contact: The Nature Conservancy – 301-897-8570

Tuckahoe Creek (~70 miles, 1:30 by car)
Highlight: Non-tidal freshwater marsh, riparian forest
Contact & Nearby Rental: Tuckahoe State Park – 410-820-1668, //

Potomac River, Paw Paw Bends (~130 miles, 2:30 by car)
Highlight: Riparian forest, historic tunnel
Nearby Rental: Tom’s Run Outfitters – 301-733-0058, //
Contact: C & O Canal National Historic Park – 301-739-4200, //

Upper Gunpowder River  (~30 miles, 0:45 by car)
Highlight: Riparian forest
Nearby Rental: Monkton Bike Rental – 410-771-4058, //
Contact: Gunpowder Falls State Park – 410-592-2897, //


I hope this helps get you started in adding some outdoor experience to your trip.  Looking forward to seeing you in Baltimore.


Chris Swan,
Local Host Chair