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Maryland's Cross Island Trail spans Kent Island, east to west, in Queen Anne's County, providing multiple points of access to everything from libraries and schools to ball fields and the waterfront. It's an impressively signed, well-maintained and charming trail with some truly exceptional views.
Begin at Terrapin Nature Park, a parcel of protected land for birds and native plant life. Just past the nature area, to the left of the trail, is an old graveyard with fewer than a dozen cracked and weathered headstones tucked among the trees. If you can spot it, it's worth a peak. From here, the trail quickly winds through neighborhoods and stands of white pines and hemlocks. At the first mile marker, you come to Old Love Point Park, a recreation area with baseball and soccer fields.
Continuing along, the trail passes through farm fields, and you'll be able to see a lighthouse in the distance that indicates how close you really are to the seashore. At mile 3.8, you will have to do a short back-road jog to reconnect with the trail, but a blue-painted bike lane makes this a simple transition. Back on the path, you'll come to a long wooden bridge that provides the first unhindered view of the water. This lovely expanse is a gem on the Cross Island Trail.
Before reaching the marina in Kent Narrows, you must head uphill to cross over the causeway on the parallel US 50, where there is an extremely wide shoulder. At the marina, you have a choice: head left to Chesapeake Exploration Center or right to continue along the trail. Here, the trail becomes a series of sidewalks and access points to the waterfront and its restaurants and boat slips.
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.
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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