Note: Portions of the Indian Head Rail Trail will be closed until spring 2015 to allow for the installation of a reclaimed water line. Sections of the trail, including the westernmost five miles, will remain open at all times. See Charles County's official website for up-to-date information and specific closure locations.
Located just 18 miles south of our nation's capital, the Indian Head Rail Trail offers a unique natural outdoor experience, seemingly far removed from development and life's often chaotic pace. The trail is the result of the generous gift of an abandoned railroad corridor—originally built in 1918 to transport supplies for the Navy's Indian Head Powder Factory—through the Department of the Interior's Federal Lands to Parks Program.
The 13-mile, paved Indian Head Rail Trail traverses roughly halfway across Charles County, connecting the small towns of Indian Head and White Plains. Cyclists, hikers and nature enthusiasts can experience the surroundings of mature forests, natural wetlands and occasional farmland as they pass through the Mattawoman Creek stream valley and some of southern Maryland's most scenic and undeveloped natural areas.
Along the way, trail users may encounter wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, wild turkeys, deer, herons, bald eagles, egrets and a variety of waterfowl. Near mile marker 2 there is a spectacular view of the backwaters of Mattawoman Creek, which winds on its course towards the Potomac River. The trail also offers numerous bridges, interpretative signs and benches.
There is no parking directly at the Mattingly Avenue trailhead in Indian Head, but there is ample parking across State Route 210 at either the Village Green Town Park or Charlie Wright Park (101 Doctor Mitchell Lane). Parking is also available off Bensville Road/SR 229 south of Bensville, on Turkey Hill Road north of Marshall Corner Road and at the southeastern terminus off Theodore Green Boulevard in White Plains.