Maryland's Cross Island Trail spans Kent Island, east to west, in Queen Anne's County, providing multiple points of access to everything from libraries and schools to ball fields and the waterfront. It's an impressively signed, well-maintained and charming trail with some truly exceptional views.
Begin at Terrapin Nature Park, a parcel of protected land for birds and native plant life. Just past the nature area, to the left of the trail, is an old graveyard with fewer than a dozen cracked and weathered headstones tucked among the trees. If you can spot it, it's worth a peak. From here, the trail quickly winds through neighborhoods and stands of white pines and hemlocks. At the first mile marker, you come to Old Love Point Park, a recreation area with baseball and soccer fields.
Continuing along, the trail passes through farm fields, and you'll be able to see a lighthouse in the distance that indicates how close you really are to the seashore. At mile 3.8, you will have to do a short back-road jog to reconnect with the trail, but a blue-painted bike lane makes this a simple transition. Back on the path, you'll come to a long wooden bridge that provides the first unhindered view of the water. This lovely expanse is a gem on the Cross Island Trail.
Before reaching the marina in Kent Narrows, you must head uphill to cross over the causeway on the parallel US 50, where there is an extremely wide shoulder. At the marina, you have a choice: head left to Chesapeake Exploration Center or right to continue along the trail. Here, the trail becomes a series of sidewalks and access points to the waterfront and its restaurants and boat slips.
To reach the start at Terrapin Nature Park from Annapolis, take US 50 east to Exit 37 (the first exit after crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge) and turn left onto State Route 8. Follow SR 8 to the Chesapeake Bay Business Park and turn left. Follow the road to the right around the circle until you come to Terrapin Nature Park. There is ample parking and portable toilets are at the trailhead. Note that you must purchase and display a Queen Anne's County Beach Permit to leave your vehicle in the park's parking lot.
To reach Kent Narrows, take US 50 east from Annapolis. After crossing the Bay Bridge, travel across Kent Island. Cross the Narrows on a bridge and turn left onto SR 835/Kent Narrows Road. Parking is to the left under the bridge.