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 corridororiginally built in 1918 to transport supplies for the Navy's Indian Head Powder Factorythrough 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.
Parking and Trail Access
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 Rd./SR 229 south of Bensville, on Turkey Hill Rd. north of Marshall Corner Rd. and at the southeastern terminus off Theodore Green Blvd. in White Plains.
I've been a frequent visitor to Indian Head since 1981. I remember clearly when trains occasionally ran on the tracks now converted to bike trail. Outstanding wildlife and wetlands all around and the track surface is perfect. Bravo!
Beautiful, easy riding.
We rode this on a cloudy October day and it was delightful. The road surface is asphalt and well maintained. The scenery is beautiful and there are many places to stop, sit a while and appreciate the landscape.
Relatively new trail (opened in 2009), beautifully maintained. If you're planning to ride the entire 13 miles (26 RT), we recommend you begin at Mattingly. There is a slight uphill grade all the way to Theodore Green--nothing you can't handle, but you'll ...