Cedarville State Forest: An Easy Side of Strenuous 13 Miles!
This hike is about 12.2 miles long. The trail is great for hiking and... more » normally takes a half day. Detailed narration is provided with each picture and pictures were taken at every interesection.
This hike is only 24 miles from D.C. and about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore
The headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp are located in Cedarville. The Swamp is one mile wide, and serves as a major haven for wildlife.Cedarville State Forest is home to several unique features in nature. The Cedarville Bog is considered the headwaters of the largest freshwater bog in Maryland, the Zekiah Swamp.
Of special interest in this bog are several species of insect-eating plants, including the roundleaf sundew and the northern pitcher plant (better known as the Venus Flytrap. Throughout the SUMMER MONTHS, spy the leaves of these carnivorous plants, which attract insects with their reddish color and entrap them with sticky or bristly hairs.Showy wildflowers also dot the open meadow next to the bog. Look for the pink blooms of Maryland meadow-beauty and milkwort and the purple flowers of Hyssop skullcap. Most of Cedarville is forested with over 50 species of trees, including white and loblolly pine plantations. The Piscataway Indian Tribe made this section of Southern Maryland its winter camping ground because of the mild climate and abundance of game. Legend says there is an Indian Burial ground in Cedarville State Forest, but to date it has not been found. This is a wonderful hike year round but the carnivorous plants, once again, only bloom during the summer months.
An easy hike through deep, shady forest along the banks of meandering creeks. On a hot summer day, there is a drowsy, languid feel to the creeks that run through Cedarville State Forest. They are known to rise up and wash out bridges, and if their steeply cut banks are any measure, they have done so often. But there is little babble to these sandy-bottomed brooks. Walking by them through stands of hardwood and meadows of lush ferns, you are more likely to hear a breeze in the trees than a wild torrent. It is a good setting for a tranquil hike.
This is a great way to step up your endurance/mileage to strenuous from moderate hiking (due to distance but it is a flat hike for the most part) and work on building some distance while enjoying the middle-of-nowhere feeling you get only from the forest. Cedarville is very remote yet extremely well blazed and marked. It is pretty much flat as well which is unusual for anywhere around here. This would be rated an easy hike other than than the distance, which earns it a very moderate or easy side of strenuous depending on your level of fitness.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Waldorf
Length: 13 Mile Loop
Approximate Hiking Time: 5 hours
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop
Difficulty: Difficult due to length; terrain is easy
Trail Surface: Dirt footpaths and old forest roads traverse a heavily wooded area, with short stretches through the watershed of two major streams. Unlike most parts of Maryland there are few rocks and roots (which we call ankle twisters) so you can really take in the view and not have to watch your feet!
Local Contacts: Cedarville State Forest
Local Maps: USGS Bristol, Maryland
Topo Map: Cedarville State Forest Loop Topographic Map
Special Features: There is an archery range where you walk through on paths and shoot at targets setup throughout the woods. It is open when the park is open and is included in your park admission. So bring out your bow to join Mike in practice shooting after the hike!
Facilities: Restrooms, visitor center, campground, archery range, fish hatchery visitor center. less «