Facility Activities

South Tract, also known as the Dan Ashe Division, hosts five miles of walking trails, two scenic lakes and the National Wildlife Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and offers interpretive displays, educational films and public programs. The Visitor Center also houses a small bookstore and nature shop, set up by the Friends of Patuxent. South Tract’s grounds are open from sunrise to sunset and are closed for federal holidays. Fishing on Cash Lake and hunting are available seasonally with a permit/license. See brochure and map for details.

North Tract offers 15 miles of trails for walking, biking and horseback riding. With fewer visitors than South Tract, it offers a quiet atmosphere for those seeking respite from the busy world. North Tract’s grounds and Visitor Information Station are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Due to active nearby gun ranges and the risk of unexploded ordnance, visitor must stay on roads and trails. The refuge closes for federal holidays and occasionally for scheduled hunts. See brochure and map for details.

Trails throughout the refuge take you near ponds, lakes, rivers, along meadows and below thick tree canopies. With nearly 20 miles of foot path and gravel roads can be explored.

Please remember to stay on trails at all times, know what time the refuge will be closing on your visit day...

Touring the North Tract portion of the refuge on a bike provides an opportunity to see much more of the refuge in a single visit. However, please note that many North Tract trails are narrow and reserved for foot traffic, only. Our refuge maps show the trails where bike-riding is allowed....

You will need a State of Maryland non-tidal fishing license. (Patuxent Parking Passes are no longer needed.) 

Children under the age of 16 do not need a license. Visitor are expected to know and follow Maryland refuge regulations.  

  

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A wide range of hunting opportunities awaits the outdoor sports-person who ventures into the woods at Patuxent. Hunting for upland game, migratory game birds, and white-tailed deer (bow, muzzleloader, primitive and shotgun) is managed by refuge officials and the Meade Natural Heritage...

All trails permit both walking and running. There are no trails exclusively for biking and horseback riding. When at North Tract, please move to the side of the trail when approaching horses. Runners should slow their pace when approaching horses, to avoid startling them.

See South...

One of the refuge’s primary purposes is to preserve songbird habitat. Visitors interested in seeing and hearing birds are encouraged to use trails that approach meadows and bodies of water. These habitat areas provide the best opportunities to see multiple species.

 

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Discover more about wildlife and their forest home in one of our ranger-led programs.  All programs are free, some have age restrictions. Weather or low participation numbers may cause a program to be cancelled. If you are unable to keep your reservation with us, please call. Many...

Beginning in the fall of 2021 Patuxent will only offer self-guided programs for visiting school groups. Currently this program is through the Agents of Discovery app.

For Scouts, several merit badge classes are taught by volunteers throughout the year. Please see our program flyer for...

Dogs are welcome on all refuge trails. Please be sure to keep your pets leashed and collect all waste. Visitors can be fined for off-leash pets or for littering. 

Only certified service animals are permitted in buildings.  

Our B.A.R.K. Ranger program is...

Wide gravel roads at North Tract present an excellent opportunity to tour the refuge on horseback.  Please note that some trails are open to foot-traffic only. Check in at the Visitor Information Station and then proceed to the horse trailer parking area.  See North Tract trail map....

Moments of stunning beauty and wildlife drama can happen on every trail and in every season. Some areas are especially good for those interested in taking pictures.   

North Tract: During the summer months the refuge hangs hummingbird feeders around the Contact Station....