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, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed on federal holidays, 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. More information about Visitor Center resources is here. South Tract’s grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. 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, visitors must stay on roads and trails. North Tract closes for federal holidays and occasionally for scheduled hunts. See brochure and map for details.
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....
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.
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.
Scheduled Public Programs
Discover more about bird, our mammal populations, and refuge history on one of our free ranger-led public programs. Most programs are for all ages. Please see our quarterly program flyer for the schedule.
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....
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