Indian Head Rail Trail

Trail Map

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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 urban development and its associated chaotic pace. The trail is the result of the generous gift of an abandoned railroad corridor through the Department of the Interior's Federal Lands to Parks Program. The line was built in 1918 to transport supplies for the Navy's Indian Head Powder Factory, founded 28 years earlier as the Navy’s first established presence in southern Maryland.

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.

Notable wildlife sightings include wild turkey, deer, heron, bald eagle, egret and a variety of waterfowl. Leaving Indian Head, approximately 2 miles out visitors will encounter a spectacular view of the backwaters of Mattawoman Creek as it winds on its course towards the Potomac River. As with any trail that shares such close proximity with a waterway, you'll pass over numerous bridges. Just be sure you don't pass the many interpretative signs along the way; take the time to learn more of the region's history. Or simply kick back on the trailside benches and soak in the scenery. No matter your pace, the Indian Head Rail Trail is bound to delight.

Parking and Trail Access

There is no parking 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). To access this parking lot, take Indian Head Highway/SR 210 south from Fort Washington, Maryland, turn right onto Lackey Drive and then left onto 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.

Reviews

Excellent!

   September, 2014 by dvxprime

I did this run in July, the last weekend before the trail was closed for renovations. I started at the Indian Head starring point at the park just outside the Naval Base and ran 6.5 miles of the trail. BTW, if you start at the park, never mind the beautiful ...read more

Awesome and easy!

   July, 2014 by utpaduke

My wife, Mel and I went to spend a week in DC with our grand daughter, Elie and her parents. We stayed in Waldorf Md, so we could catch the METRO, 15 miles away, into DC. I loaded up our tandem bike in case we had a block of time when we could ride. We ...read more

Heads UP - Check for temporay closures on this trail

   June, 2014 by fhoward

I am highly acticipating biking this trail but as a heads up to others I found where parts will be closed for some construction in summer 2014 until Spring 2015. Parts will remain open though. A map is available that shows which sections and when at this ...read more