Trails

Nearly nine miles of roads and trails are open to visitors much of the year. Seven hiking trails and boardwalks are available for those wishing to observe the varied habitats and wildlife of the refuge. In order to protect wildlife and their habitats, visitors must stay on designated trails or roads. Please be aware that ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes are abundant, especially during the summer months.

Wildlife Trail

This 1/2-mile loop trail begins and ends at a trailhead on the main refuge road. The trail never leaves the forest, although it passes close to wetlands in several places. Songbirds are plentiful along this wooded trail, particularly during fall and spring migrations.
Trail Length (mi)
0.59
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
20 Minutes
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Duck Inn Trail

From the parking area on Bogle's Wharf Rd., this trail begins in a wooded area dominated by loblolly pine and bordered by marshes, where evidence of previous prescribed fires is visible. This section of the trail is a good place to see migrating warblers and other songbirds in the spring. The trail then moves into a field of tall grasses and open marsh. Finally, the trail moves through an area of scattered loblolly pine and deciduous trees before terminating at the bank of the Chester River. Waterfowl may be visible here during late fall, winter, and early spring. The trail is one mile round-trip.
Trail Length (mi)
0.49
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
40 Minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Boxes Point Trail

Park at the Tubby Cove parking area and walk back a short distance along the main road toward the entrance bridge. This broad trail begins along the border between the forest and marsh. The trail then bends to reveal an agricultural field on the right, where migratory Canada geese often gather in the fall and winter. From there the trail enters a forest of mixed evergreen and deciduous trees with a very open understory. The forest fades to marsh as the trail nears its terminus at Boxes Point. Waterfowl, including tundra swans, are often visible here in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Bald eagle sightings can be common from this point, particularly in the spring and early summer. The trail is 1.1 miles round-trip.NOTE: Boxes Point Trail may be closed seasonally due to bald eagle nesting activity.
Trail Length (mi)
0.54
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
60 Minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Tubby Cove Boardwalk Trail

From the Tubby Cove kiosk and parking area, this wooden boardwalk extends over a healthy and diverse marsh to a wooded "island." Once on the island, the boardwalk passes through a stand of loblolly trees to two viewing platforms. The main path leads to an accessible viewing blind. A roughly-defined trail from the main path extends to an elevated viewing platform providing a look out over the Bay and into Calfpasture Cove and Tubby Cove. The boardwalk is less than 1/4-mile round-trip.Note: The wooden surface of the boardwalk is old and has some uneven portions. Please be careful!
Trail Length (mi)
0.15
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
15 Minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Tidal Marsh Trail

Located behind the Headquarters/Visitor Center, this accessible boardwalk offers visitors a chance to meander through a native meadow to a photo blind overlooking the Chester River. In early morning, look for waterfowl and other water birds starting out their day in the pond just beyond the photo blind.
Trail Length (mi)
0.09
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
10 Minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Bay View Butterfly Trail

This universally-accessible trail extends through a restored grassland to a deck overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, complete with benches and free binocular viewers. The border of the trail has been planted with native plants to attract butterflies, particularly abundant during the summer. From the deck, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is visible, as is the Key Bridge in Baltimore on a clear day. Near the shore, distinct stone structures constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, known as "breakwaters," prevent shoreline erosion as waves from the Bay collide upon them. The trail continues through restored grassland and into the forest to an enclosed photo blind overlooking a pond. The trail then continues through the woods before turning back through a grassland to the parking lot. Be sure to also visit the beautiful BayScape garden adjacent to the parking lot, faithfully maintained by refuge volunteers!Note: This hard-packed trail is wheelchair friendly, but be aware that a portion of the trail has a moderate grade.
Trail Length (mi)
0.34
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
20 Minutes
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail