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Explore the best of the Eastern Shore on Queen Anne’s County’s Cross Island Trail, which runs the width of Kent Island from east to west, stretching between two nature parks. With many access points along its route, this tree-lined trail takes you from neighborhood green space to boatyards and wetlands, showing you glimpses of waterfowl and wildlife before depositing you at the Terrapin Nature Center. Over its 6.5-mile course, the trail frequently intersects with water, traversing numerous wetlands and inlets and delivering views of the Chesapeake Bay. Ospreys are frequent visitors along the trail, as they hunt and care for their young in nests built in the wetland areas.
Beginning at Long Point Park in Grasonville, you’ll head west along the northern side of the Blue Star Memorial Highway. At Kent Narrows Road, the trail crosses south under US 50/301 and then heads west again, intersecting with the causeway across Kent Narrows. There the trail transitions to a protected bicycle and pedestrian lane. Between Old Love Point Park and Kent Island High School, the trail crosses Old Love Point Road, where you’ll find clearly marked road crossings. There are several other road crossings over the course of the trail, all of which are well marked and easy to navigate.
Several miles of trail, between Macum Creek in Chester and Old Love Point Park in Stevensville, follow the former Kent Island Railroad. The railroad was operated by Queen Anne’s Railroad Company and brought the first passenger rail to the island. Though passenger service was short-lived, the railroad continued to carry freight until the 1950s. At Cox Creek, notice the pilings and lower framing of the bridge, which can be traced to the Baltimore & Eastern Railroad trestle bridge dating back to the 1890s.
Less than 2 miles farther west, the trail reaches Terrapin Nature Park, a 276-acre facility featuring over 3 miles of walking and nature trails. Following signs to beach access will bring you to a sandy shoreline with panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Nature trails—including a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk—will take you through wildflower meadows, woodlands, wetlands, and tidal ponds.
While the trail provides an escape into nature for locals and visitors alike, it is also an important active-transportation route with access to neighborhoods, community sports fields, schools, and waterfront dining on the Chesapeake Bay. For active tourists, the trail provides pedestrian and bicyclist access to nearby lodging.
The trail is also part of the larger East Coast Greenway, a growing network of multiuse trails connecting 15 states and 450 cities and towns on a 3,000-mile route between Maine and Florida.
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.
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.
Parking is available in Grasonville by the Long Point Park Trailhead (113 Jackson Creek Rd) and by Mears Point Marina on Narrows Road, about 360 feet east of Kent Narrow Way N.
Parking in Chester can be found by the Kent Narrows Public Boat Ramp (100 Piney Narrows Road).
In Stevensville parking is available by the Old Love Point Park (300 Old Love Point Road) and Terrapin Nature Park Trailhead (191 Log Canoe Cir).
My 5 yo enjoyed this trail immensely! Frequently changing scenery. Mellow hills and turns. This is the perfect trail for new riders needing to build some skills. Shaded parking if you’re lucky. Clean restrooms at the Terrapin trailhead.
This trail is beautiful. The first 5 miles you are riding under a canopy of large trees on the well-shaded, pristine asphalt trail. I had only ridden a ½ mile when I came upon 5 deer just feet off the trail standing in the woods. The trail crosses several small creeks off the Chester River and the scenery is gorgeous. There are clean restrooms at the trailhead and another restroom about three miles east, just look for the large white-water tower. After you cross the Kent Narrows Drawbridge you are riding mostly on low wooden bridges over swampy areas the last 1 1/2 miles of the trail. The wooden planks are a little rough to ride on. There are several gas stations just off the trail where you could get a snack or something to drink. I tried to ride the dirt loop near the trailhead that takes you to the Chesapeake Bay but after a mile the dirt trail turned into sand and my tires were not made for this. This is a trail I will definitely ride about once a month. Maybe next time I’ll eat breakfast at home and instead stop mid-way through my ride to enjoy a seafood lunch at one of the restaurants near the narrows.
I parked at the East end of Long Point park. It was just off exit 43A (RT 50 West) and right next to a Royal Farms ,however, it has only 3 parking spots. There are many more parking spots at the West end of the park. Long Point Park is a small picturesque park where you wind through the trees. For the next 1-1.5 miles you parallel Rt 50 with views of the Chester river to the North and Prospect Bay to the South before crossing under Rt50 and continuing West. You then cross the Kent Narrows Bridge and cross back under Rt50 at Piney Narrows Road where there is also more parking. Traveling West you pass through small forests, marsh, and pass by several housing developments (about 3.5miles) before making a sharp right turn into Old Love Point Park. If you turn left you enter State St and should turnaround as I did. Old Love Point Park can get congested because you are passing through a sports complex of several ball fields, tennis courts, and soccer fields with Kent Island High School in view. You must cross several roads, so be wary of traffic especially Love Point Road, It’s about another mile to Terrapin Nature Park. In the park you can take several loops and you lose the asphalt. If you take the loop that parallels the Chesapeake (after about a mile) you come to a very small bridge with the beach and the Chesapeake Bay directly in front of you. Great view of the Chesapeake and Bay Bridge !! Here the trail is all sand and I had to dismount and walk SW along the beach for approximately 200 ft before the trail was hard packed again. I then continued my ride through the trees, passing through the Cross Island Trail Trailhead parking lot and looped back to where I entered Terrapin Nature Park. I then enjoyed the ride back to Long Point Park. The ride was about 15 miles and I savored a Krispy Kreme donut at the Royal Farms when finished.
Really enjoy this Trail, have ridden it several times. Well laid out, enjoyable, plenty of great spots to eat on Kent Island. Always recommend it to Friends.
We ride many different trails on the shore, but this one is my favorite. I've logged hundreds of miles on my app riding my bike on The Cross Island Trail. Not too long and not to short.
What a great trail. Lots of places to stop for lunch too. I will be back.
We loved this trail and will definitely ride it again.
Nice mix of wooded and open trail, good views of the waterfront. Will do this ride again.
9/27/20. Was just on this trail. Yes, there is a bit of maintenances work underway, but now there is a clearly marked detour. The detour is on the adjacent road, but it is short (less than 300 yards), clearly marked, and on a wide shoulder.
I was just at the trail this tuesday 9/8/2020 and unfortunately most of the trail was closed due to maintenance. They have been repaving the trail and it's awesome !
They had no warning of this closure until I was about 3 miles into it, then the trail was blocked off and marked closed.
Can't wait to do it again¿¿
Beautiful June day. Biked this for the first time and it was worth the one hour plus drive there. Plenty of free parking. Loved the old pines and wonderful views. Stopped at Red Eye’s Dock Bar for waterfront outdoor lunch- weekend live music - first time eating at a restaurant since COVID-19 & seating distance made us feel comfortable.
The best trail I have actually gone one its not to long or short it’s perfect
Have not ridden the Cross Island Trail in a couple of weeks, but drove by it on the way back home from Delaware today. The expansion which begins at the Kent Narrows near Harris' Crab House and ends at Long Point Park is complete and people were walking and riding this section. Beautifully done!
For those of you who like this trail, I have good news. They are adding a 1.5 mile extension to the east end of the trail at the Kent narrows bridge. This extension is almost all made of bridge/boardwalk but it is beautiful and runs over the water through wetlands giving a great view of the water. It is supposed to be finished sometime in may. They must have spend several million to add this extension. Can't wait to ride it, will make the trail total distance now about 6 miles.
We caught a break from the heat wave and had beautiful weather. Started from Terrapin Nature Park and caught the Cross Island Trail and took it all the way over to Kent Narrows. Had lunch at the Jetty. The best part is that we were able to bring our puppy in the pet trailer and the Jetty was pet friendly with outdoor dining. Such an amazing day. Was a bit tougher on the return but only because we have not been out riding this season. The trail is relatively flat and mostly shaded. We spent some time on the beach back at Terrapin Nature Park to recover before heading over to Queenstown for the outlets and then returning home. Great day trip!
Husband wheelchair bound and >250 in non power chair. Trail recently black topped in good condition. Parked at terrapin park and made it to the first street crossing. Wanted to see the other end of trail but unbeknownst to us the bridge/trail were closed. Would be nice if there were a sign at the terrapin park end. nicknow
We started at Terrapin Park & rode the entire trail to Kent Narrows. We enjoyed the flat trail. At all the road crossings, all motor vehicles stopped for us to cross the street. It was a Sunday afternoon & except for the start of the trail and past the high school, the trail was relatively empty. We will definitely ride again.
Starting at Terrapin Park, the first third is in poor condition (broken pavement and uneven repairs) and crosses countless parking lots, streets and entrances (each with a bikers dismount sign), and the second third is spoiled by the noise from US-50/US-301. However, the Kent Narrows end with its various spurs, marinas and the Discovery Center is very enjoyable and makes the trail worth a visit. I rode 15 miles overall.
The path across Kent Narrows Bridge is open again for bikes and pedestrians. If you don't like heights or bridges, be aware that you have to cycle or walk across the drawbridge grating, with a view down to the water below your feet. I enjoyed that, and cycled back and forth across it a few times!
I was there on a Wednesday. I imagine the small parking lot at Terrapin Park would be full on the weekends. I saw plenty of free parking space under US-50 at both ends of Kent Narrows Bridge and at the marinas and restaurants across the street. Don't park in the boat ramp lot - there's a $10 charge.
This trail is only 6 miles, mostly flat and an easy ride. But any day you get 12 miles of mostly beautiful terrain (woods, marshes and bay)
is a good day. The feeling is casual. Have to cross a couple of roads with car traffic that you need to pay attention too. Getting there driving over the Bay Bridge is a trip and after you can find a Crab Shack or two in Stevensville or at one of the many marinas on the island.
The trail is a beautiful experience, very peaceful, my Godson and I road it and loved it, the only part that got confusing was by the park, the trail cuts to the right onto a gravel path and is not well marked. The trails through the park are nice too.
Please be aware that you can no longer go over the old Kent Narrows Bridge to complete the trail and go to the restaurants on the other side of the bridge. The road is closed to car, bike and pedestrian traffic.
I just wanted to let everyone know that they no longer require permits to park for this trail.
I see in other comments that people have been ticketed in the past, but they no longer do that.
Beware! I've had some good rides on this trail before but was given a $50 ticket for parking at the trail head in Terrapin Nature Park. Outside the park I noticed similar permit requirements.
This is the trail/cycling equivalent of a speed trap. I'd avoid this one until the Queen Annes County authorities figure out a better way to raise revenue from unsuspecting customers.
Nice trail but they ticket you if you park at the Terrapin park without having paid for a park permit
We had a nice ride yesterday, starting at from the parking lot in Terrapin Beach Park, and riding to where the trail ends just across Kent Narrows. There's a great restaurant right on the water there called The Narrows. Check it out. The low point of the day was when we returned at 2 PM to find a $50 parking ticket on our windshield. Amazingly, the parking lot at the west entrance to the trail is permit only! Apparently you have to buy a beach pass to park there.
Parking at the east end of the trail might be a safer bet.
I did not think it was signed very well. I had to check the GPS at more than one connection to see which was the real trail. It is pretty flat no real climbs. Has some beautiful wooded sections. You can even go out along the beach for a short section. You will have to push your bike over the sand for 50ft or so but it was worth it. Since that part is on the loop at the end you can just turn back. It is paved except near the beach. We started at the beginning across the Kent Narrows bridge so we had a short road section, but the road is separated from the trail by pylons so it was not a big deal as you have your own full size lane. In fact on the way back we had to stop for a few minutes as the draw bridge was up. It was short and fun to see the draw bridge work from close up. I will ride it again.
Easy rider trail needs patching and some trimming of trees, saw an 8 foot black snake on the trail Watch out!, 12 mile round trip, looks like there building new homes along the trail soon, This trail is worth the trip! check it out!
Minimal auto traffic, convenient access and lots to see. Not particularly long, but easily a 12+ mile round trip with a few side trips. The extension is washed out sand on the bit that meets the bay shore, but can be walked. Great view of the Chesapeake Bay bridge. A few kitesurfers.
The highlight of this 'too short' trail are the parks at either end of the trail. Terrapin Park on the west end of the trail has beautiful views of the Bay Bridge and Chesapeake Bay. On the east end of the trial is Ferry Point Park with sweeping views of the Chester River. In between are a few decent wetlands views, parks and shopping centers. If you are resourceful, you can veer of the trail a few hundred feet here and there and catch some nice waterfront views off the trail. The trail is in good shape and very easy to follow. Recommended!
A cool summer day on the Chesapeake Bay to follow the Cross Island Trail on Kent Island and the Trails in Terrapin Nature Center. The Cross Island Trail is paved. The Nature Center Trails are crushed stone, oyster shell and some sand. Near Kent Narrows and the Visitors Center are some additional trails accessed via a wooden boardwalk and then crushed oyster shell paths. A scenic area for bike riding. Trails in wooded areas, near the water and bay and open sun. Many conveniences and restaurants or sit near the water and enjoy a picnic.
We've posted pictures, map, gps data etc. at :
Good trail Parts in need of new Pavement . Do not park in Terrapin Park the ranger loves to give Parking 50$ tickets. No Parking after dusk 4:30 no specified times just the term dusk. PLUS you will get a a big fat trespassing ticket for being in the park after dusk. So forget watching the sunsets on the bay.
I ran the portion from Castle Marina Rd west to Terrapin Beach Park. The trail provides an excellent mix of suburban (including ballparks and a school), wetlands, and meadow scenery. The Terrapin Beach Park is an underrated park in which the running/walking trails run right up to sandy beaches. Bucolic grassy side paths abound. While running, I passed two bucks on two separate occasions.
The only reason for the 4 star vs. 5 star rating is for the surrounding wastewater treatment. This abuts the trail near Terrapin Beach Park and emits a terrible odor. The port-a-lets give off a similar stench at Castle Marina. These are minor quibbles though. Traveling west on the trail past the ballfields, you can catch a glimpse of the stunning Chesapeake Bay Bridge jutting out amidst willow reeds. This is a fine eastern Maryland trail.
The most impressive things about this stretch of trail are the diverse scenery and fantastic weather thanks to coastal breezes. Biking the 6-mile stretch from Kent Narrows to Terrapin park was a breeze since it was a very slight downhill in that direction. There was plenty of eye candy along the way from shaded forest paths to open waterways to a park complete with courts and playground. There were a few street crossings but we only had to actually come to a full stop at one intersection. The traffic was light to nonexistent everywhere else, even on a Saturday.
We decided to do a loop of Terrapin Park after getting to the parking area there. This was confusing due to many small branch-offs of the main trail (which is not marked). We ended up going down some extremely narrow paths in the woods, across sand, shell, and gravel, and even just plain grass. We found some interesting places along the way and got an excellent workout in to boot. We ended up with two complete circuits on two different trails because of all the interconnections. Definitely a fun way to spend the better part of an hour! Be prepared to actually have to bike for this part of the trail though.
We took our 3-1/2-year-old along in the bike trailer (which -barely- fit on some of the paths we ended up on in the park), and he had a real blast when we stopped for lunch in a large grassy area with a bench overlooking the Bay Bridge across the Bay. There was plenty of room for him to run around and work off some energy of his own.
The paved part of the path did have quite a bit of debris on it in the areas that were under trees, totally expected and nothing unusual or too heavy. There wasn't too much traffic on the path and it was enough to pass when necessary. My only real complaint? People here were less friendly than I experienced on other trails where there's always a "good morning!" or "hi there!" from other bikers and walkers. It was much more a "keep to yourself" kind of place.
Parking on Kent Narrows: Coming from Annapolis, we got off at the Main Street East exit and turned right onto Main. At the Best Western we made another right and there was ample parking on the left under the bridge. There was a connection to the trail right there in the parking lot.
This is a great trail for everyone. It will take you through 5 different very unique habitats, which range from wildflower meadows, with an elevated platform to lookout from, wetlands, tidal ponds, with 2 blinds, woodlands & the beach. You can walk it, bike it, roll blade it or just make stops along the way as you drive & see a special location. There are benches along the entire trail to sit & relax & enjoy the scenery & wildlife. The trail has parking, restrooms, phone, food, bike shop, parks, benches, waterways, bridges & even hotels. There is something for everyone. There is a museum at the Kent Narrows end as well as another NEW park, Ferry Point Park, which just recently opened. It has been a migratory stop over for many birds each spring & fall.
This trail is also a great chance to do some geocaching with caches placed from 1 end to the other. It allows for some terrific photo ops as well. All in all a nice way to spend just a short visit or several hours to explore. ENJOY!
Fishing is expressly forbidden on all parts of the trail. The trail is designed for users to kep moving rather than standing around casting a line.
The trail is great for families and older people. Note that there are no off-trail activities around this piece of pavement.
9/2001 Trail has been extended to 4.5 mile stretching from Kent Narrows to the Bay. Good family recreation area. Well used on nice weekends.
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