Youth Conservation Corps (YCC)

POSITIONS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE STILL AVAILABLE!  Information and applications for the 2022 YCC summer work program for youth can be found here.

Visit Us

With over 20,000 acres open for public recreation, you can experience the refuge year round in a variety of ways!  From 5 miles of hiking to 17 miles of paddling, we have a variety of experiences.  Nearly 15,000 acres are open for deer hunting from September through January.  If you prefer to travel by car, we have 3.6 mile wildlife drive popular with photographers and birders alike. 

Activities

With over 20,000 acres open for public recreation, you can experience the refuge year round in a variety of ways!  From 5 miles of hiking to 17 miles of paddling, we have a variety of experiences.  Nearly 15,000 acres are open for deer hunting from September through January.  If you prefer to travel by car, we have 3.6 mile wildlife drive popular with photographers and birders alike. 

Trails

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge currently has four land trails: the Marsh Edge Trail, the Woods Trail, the Key Wallace Trail, and the Tubman Road Trail.

Trails are open daily, dawn to dusk. The Marsh Edge Trail is closed from mid-winter through mid-summer to limit disturbance to nesting eagles and herons. During the fall hunting season, the Key Wallace Trail and Tubman Road Trail may be closed periodically for deer management.

Tips for those using the trails: From April to October, poison ivy is common along the trails. Although the young leaf buds and white berries are valuable food for birds, rabbits, and deer, the plant’s oils can cause a red, itchy rash in humans. Remember the saying, “leaves of three, let it be.” Biting insects are present from mid-April through late September. Protective clothing and insect repellent are recommended. Also, the three unpaved trails can get soggy in wet weather, so visitors should wear appropriate footwear if it has been raining.

Please remember that pets are not permitted on trails, even if on a leash.  Pets must remain in vehicles while on the Wildlife Drive.

Related Documents

Refuge brochures and maps.

Bike_Map_Mileage_Overlay

The most popular cycling routes on public roads through and around refuge lands, with mileage overlay.

Wildlife_Drive_Brochure_2019

A self-guided tour highlighting points of interest on Blackwater's Wildlife Drive.

Blackwater_Bird_Checklist_2015

A checklist of birds that may be found on Blackwater NWR, with a seasonal occurrence rating for each species.

BNWR_Marsh_Edge_Trail_2008

A self-guided tour highlighting points of interest on the Marsh Edge Trail.

BNWR_Reptiles_2008

Common reptile and amphibian species that may be found at Blackwater NWR.

BNWR_Mammals_2022

Common mammal species that may be seen at Blackwater NWR.

Other Facilities in the Complex

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex.

Rules and Policies

Help us protect habitat and keep both you and our wildlife safe by following all rules and policies during your visit. Keep in mind that unless explicitly posted as a nature trail, public road, parking lot, or building, all areas of the refuge are closed to public entry. If you can't find information about your desired activity, please contact us!

Locations

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 2145 Key Wallace Drive Cambridge, MD 21613-9536

In addition to being a prime viewing spot for bald eagles as they soar over the center and forage in the nearby marsh, the Center has exhibits specific to the refuge, an upstairs observation area and library, an authentic eagle's nest, and TV monitors for watching live video from the osprey and eagle cams and the "Eagle’s Nest" bookstore and gift shop.  Outside the Center, visitors can enjoy our Butterfly and Beneficial Insect Garden with walking paths, and utilize one of our picnic tables for a meal.

Driving Directions

The refuge is located approximately 12 miles south of the town of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. From Route 50 in Cambridge take Route 16 West (Church Creek Road) until you reach the flashing light (about 5 miles), then turn left onto Egypt Road. Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. Turn left for the Wildlife Drive (0.2 miles), or turn right for the visitor center (1.25 miles).

Note: if you are using GPS navigation to find the refuge, you will need to enter our physical address.  This will bring you to the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center.  DO NOT USE "BLACKWATER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE"!

Hours
Visitor Center Hours
Tuesday - Sunday
10 am - 4 pm
Closed
Mondays and Federal Holidays
Outdoor Public Areas
Open daily, year-round
Dawn through dusk