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The Kent Island South Trail is one of two popular recreational trails on Maryland’s Kent Island, the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay (the other is the Cross Island Trail). The trail runs parallel to Romancoke Road/MD 8 in Stevensville for its entire length.
It begins at Matapeake State Park and ends at Romancoke Pier, offering an off-road route for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and rollers from the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Bay. Along the way, it passes several residential neighborhoods and the Blue Heron Golf Course. Nearly half of the route runs through woods, while the other half passes through open fields. The trail is paved and mostly flat, with small hills throughout.
The trail can make for a wonderful day trip that includes Matapeake State Park at the northern terminus. The park is located on the Chesapeake Bay and includes a public swimming beach, an outdoor amphitheater, a family picnic area, and a 1-mile trail through the surrounding woods, with views of the Bay Bridge. The beach is open daily, from sun-rise to sunset.
At the southern terminus of the trail is the Romancoke Pier, a 600-foot fishing pier located at the southern end of Romancoke Road/MD 8. Fishing and crabbing are the highlights at the pier, which is open daily, from sunrise to sunset. There is a small picnic area for you to enjoy as well.
Kent Island is located directly across the Bay Bridge from Annapolis. Parking for the trail can be found at Matapeake State Park on (1112 Romancoke Rd, Marine Academy Dr).
Alternatively, park at the trail's southern endpoint at Romancoke Pier, located at 9700 Romancoke Rd (where Romancoke Rd/SR 8 meets Eastern Bay). Parking at the pier is $2.50/hour.
This was my wife and I first time on this trail, we parked in the over flow parking lot I guess you don't have to pay to park in this lot where as the other lot it $2.50 hour. This is a 6 mile trail one way at the end is the Eastern Bay the Romancoke Pier, there is a restroom facility and soda machines at the end and places to sit and rest. Along the trail it is paved and one wooden bridge that you cross, there is also a golf course on this route. We rode to the end and then on our way back we rode down some of the side streets to see the homes, there were a few others riding bikes and some walking and jogging. over all a nice quick ride.
This trail is quiet as far as other people are concerned. During 75% of the 6-mile trail you are riding within 10-15 yards of route 8, so there is noise from traffic. I rode this trail on a weekday, so I only saw 2-3 other bikes on the trail and 10 people walking or jogging. The first two miles of the trail are shady as you are riding through woods. There is a 2-mile section in the middle of the trail where there is no shade as you are riding past open fields. At the southern end there are flush restrooms at the Romancoke fishing pier. The are no places along the trail to get food or beverages, but these are available about 4 miles prior to arriving at the northern trailhead. There are park benches about every mile, and one picnic table, but again you are only yards off of the highway. The asphalt is in very good condition and the trail is relatively flat.
The nicely paved route parallels a busy highway. Driveways on the other side. No vistas or water views.
I chose the south trail b/c I thought it might be quieter than the other trail on a fall Sat afternoon. It was perfect. New asphalt path, light traffic, lots of pretty scenery, and a stop at Kentmorr Restaurant for their crab pretzel. I also appreciated the flat, wide path away from the cars. I parked free where it says to park on the map, and hopped right on the path.
Enjoyed the ride. Nicely paved path. Not many people on trail. Would recommend this to anyone.
We enjoyed the trail on a beautiful October afternoon. Trail traffic was very light and the trail's new pavement made the ride very nice. It's about 12 miles round trip and the pier at Romancoke is a nice stop. Just wish the trail was a few miles longer or connected to the Cross Island Trail.
The trailhead at Matapeake State Park has free parking. The trail is very smooth being recently re-paved. The trailhead at Romancoke fishing pier is quite scenic, need to pay to park there. We also biked the Cross Island Trail, also recently re-paved. We also enjoyed this trail very much but it crosses many roads, drivers are very considerate waiting for us to cross. The trails have bike sheriffs who offer assistance to trail users.
The parks at both ends of the trail where the parking lots are located also have fishing piers and charge $10 to park. I couldn't find any decent, free parking so I went to the Cross Island trail.
We made a day trip to Kent Island. Drove down to the southern end of trail first at Romancoke pier but it appeared you have to pay for parking. I think that covers the entrance or usage fee so we turned around to check the other end up by Matapeake park and visited the dog beach. No cost to park up there so we played on the beach before our ride. The trail was well marked and exactly as described by other reviewers. The weather was beautiful and we had a nice day but the trail was a bit lacking in terms of view. However it was relatively flat so that more than made up for it. We only rode a couple of miles before heading back so we could grab lunch then shop before returning home. Overall a very decent trail.
Tree roots have put a lot of bumps in the trail but they are working on refinishing parts of it. They have marked the bumps with yellow spray paint. They are worse at the south end so I suggest just keeping your eyes open to avoid the bumps. 5/3/18 Youker
Rode the Kent Island South Trail from Matapeake State Park to Romancoke Fishing Pier May 14, 2018. I started from the north end and rode on a Monday and only saw two joggers on the entire round-trip. Did see four bikers just starting the trail as I returned to my car. This trail runs within 15-40 yards of route 8 so you do hear some road noise from the cars. I would say 90% of the trail is in the sun. I only saw a porti-potty at the north end but there are restrooms at the Romancoke end so if you are riding with females or children I suggest you start at the southern end so they have a flush facility to use. If you wanted to add some distance to your ride there are several communities you could ride into. There are 2 gas stations and a carryout pizza shop about 2 miles north of the Matapeake end but I saw nothing along the trail or at the south end.
I love this trail, only problem is, it's not long enough.
This was my second RtoT ever biked. I enjoyed its diversity: woods, bridges across water, abandoned outlet mall. It's a pleasant ride, good for a casual hour on the bike. There are a couple of gas stations at which to stop if you need a snack. Earlier on the trail, there are bumps in the asphalt that are marked with paint (from Kent Island High School to where the trail goes straight thru a woods with the Kent Island library diversion trail).
I rode the Kent Island South Trail from Matapeake State Park to Romancoke Wharf County Park/Romancoke Fishing Pier in August. I was there on a Monday afternoon and there was plenty of parking and no fee to park your vehicle. Can’t say what it’s like on the weekends. Water and rest rooms are available and there’s a beach with a great view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
The trail parallels Route 8 and alternates between shady and open sections. The shade was welcome on this hot August day and the smell of pine trees was pleasant.
The trail is fairly close to the road most of the time so you do hear the vehicles. However, it’s much quieter than riding along the shoulder of the road, since Route 8 can have a fair amount of traffic at times.
The trail is somewhat twisty in areas. Many of the tree-lined sections have lumpy spots from the roots pushing the pavement up. There are also a number of small roads and driveways to cross – many of which have stop or yield signs for trail users. I was in no hurry and was on a bike with wider and lower pressure tires, so some bumps and slowing for road crossings weren’t a concern. If you’re looking to ride fast, it would be better to take the broad shoulder on the main road.
I didn’t see another biker on the entire ride and only two runners. I can’t comment on how it would be on weekends. As on any ride, it would be good to carry an extra tube, patch kit, tire levers, pump, and basic tools in addition to a cell phone in case of a mechanical issue with your bike.
There was a strong wind when riding south. A little tough on the way out, but this made the return trip easy with the wind at my back.
The trail ends at the Romancoke Wharf County Park/Romancoke Fishing Pier. You’ll find rest rooms and a water fountain there. No bikes are allowed on the long pier, but you can walk out to the end for a good view of the water.
If you feel like riding a bit more, you can go back north on the trail and make a left on Kent Point Road. It quickly transitions to rougher chipseal asphalt. However, the road surface was not too rough and more than made up for it with the lack of vehicle traffic, beautiful countryside/farms, and views of wildlife (I saw two deer, two osprey, and an egret).
Three stars for the trail itself, but four stars overall for the water views and enjoyable side trip along Kent Point Road.
I am rating this trail from the point-of-view of someone who is getting back into biking after 20 years, so I'm pretty much back to the "beginner" level again. I loved it!
There is a large parking lot right next to the trail that serves as overflow parking for Matapeake State Park. The other reviews were accurate--there isn't that much to see in that the trail runs parallel to the road, but it is buffered by trees a lot of the way and then by a sizeable strip of wildflowers/grass, so you are not right next to cars. Also, there are some different habitats along the way for those who enjoy nature--woods, wildflower meadow, corn fields. We also passed the very cool Kentmoor Airpark and were able to see a small plane taking off.
Because the weather looked foreboding, we did not go all the way to Romancoke Pier but cycled for about 3.8 miles south and then turned around to head back. It was July 4 and we saw only one pedestrian and one other cyclist on the trail, so it was really wonderfully peaceful.
Trail is paved and in mostly good shape--there were a few bumpy areas where the pavement could be replaced, but nothing major. Keep in mind that this trail does cross over roads and driveways, so there are stretches where you feel as if you are constantly slowing down to check/stop for traffic; however, again, even on July 4 in the afternoon, there really was not a lot of traffic that slowed us. And many cars waved us on, which was considerate.
Enjoy! We'll definitely be back!
This trail was easy and flat. Not much to see as most of it closely parallels a main road. The parks at both ends are small but nice and both are on the water. I would not go back again so just 3 stars.
Place was like a ghost town saw one other rider, they need to patch spots on the trail and cut the grass and trees back, very flat 12 miles round trip ride, watch out for the hillbillies! Well worth the trip!! There is a restroom stop half way. Some farm views, Use this trail fatties!
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