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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).
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