The 15 Best Hiking Trails in Maryland!

If you love the great outdoors, Maryland is a fabulous place to be. You can be at the beach one minute and hiking in the mountain an hour later. With diverse terrain, stunning natural landscapes and vistas that go on for miles, this is truly a hikers’ paradise. Here is our list of the best hikes in Maryland so grab your shoes and hit the trail!

1. Washington Monument State Park, Appalachian Trail

We're not talking about the Washington Monument in D.C. but the original Washington Monument on the Appalachian Trail. If you drive into the mountains near Boonsboro, Maryland you will find this Historic Landmark perched atop of the Appalachian Trail. The walk from the parking lot is only about 20 minutes but from this point you can see Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. It is smack dab in the middle of the Appalachian Trail, making it the perfect spot to begin your hike in either direction.

2. Cunningham Falls, Thurmont, MD

Located in Thurmont, Maryland, is Cunningham Falls State Park. This is one of our favorites because there are miles and miles of hiking trails but you can hike up to one of the best waterfalls in the area. It is absolutely stunning after there has been a decent amount of rain or snow. In the summer months, the falls is not quite as spectacular but at the base of the hike is a beautiful lake surrounded by trees. With a sandy beach and concessions, it is the perfect place to cool off after a day of hiking. Cunningham Falls State Park shows just how diverse Maryland is. When hiking here, you could swear that you were in the Pacific Northwest. 

3. Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis, MD

More of a gentle walk than a hike, Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis is ideal for young children or those that may have issues with stability because the trail is paved. This is incredibly convenient while still beautiful. If you go all the way to the end of the park, which is highly recommended, you will be rewarded with an absolutely stunning and unobstructed view of the Chesapeake Bay. On a blue sunny day, the view is nothing short of breathtaking.

4. Gwynns Falls Trail, Baltimore, MD

For hiking in the city, head to Gwynns Falls in Baltimore. With 1,216 acres of parkland, this is the largest park in the city with numerous trails, playgrounds, tennis courts and more. It is an excellent way to get outside with the family without having to drive very far. 

5. Calvert Cliffs, Calvert County, MD

If hunting for dinosaur fossils thrills you, or your kids love hunting for shark teeth, there is no better place to do it then the Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County. This hike is certainly an adventure because once you reach the bottom of the cliff there is a beach where many people have found fossils. In fact, if you bring a shovel it is rare that you won't find something. The kids love it and the views along the way are absolutely amazing as you will go through the marshland where you will find native birds and even turtles. Just be warned that it is significantly cooler at the bottom near the beach than it is at the parking lot and that it can be steep in some spots for young children.

6. Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD

Located in Laurel, this beautiful refuge is the only of its kind in the United States. Established by Teddy Roosevelt in 1936, the refuge is full of fantastic trails, marshland, the river, a pier and wildlife galore. Just be sure to take a break from the trail to check out the nature center where you can learn all about the research they have been conducting about animals native to the area. 

7. Great Seneca Stream Valley Park

Head to Gaithersburg to hike or mountain bike in the trails within this Montgomery County Park. The main hiking trail is 7.8 miles long and there are two historic sites along the way in addition to an overlook with views of the stream valley. 

8. Terrapin Beach Park, Stevensville, MD

If you are looking for a relaxing place to hike that leads to a beautiful beach and is incredibly close to Annapolis, Terrapin Beach Park in Stevensville is an ideal destination. The trails are also excellent for mountain biking and for watching the birds. Since the hiking trails lead to a beach, this is the perfect outing for a summer afternoon.

9. Pocomoke River State Park

If you want to hike, camp, and rent a boat to head out on the water, the Pocomoke River State Park is an ideal destination. Located on the eastern shore of Maryland not far from Ocean City, this is an excellent way to spend a spring, summer, or fall weekend and there's so much to do that you will never be lost for activities.

10. Assateague Island National Seashore

While most people think of the mountains when they go hiking, Maryland has plenty of beach hiking as well. When you head to the Assateague Island National Seashore you will be able to hike along the beach and near wild horses. It’s an exciting adventure to see horses running near you in their natural and wild habitat. With the ocean at your feet, there is no place more beautiful or serene on the Eastern Shore.

11. St. Mary’s River State Park, California, MD

In California, Maryland you will find an undisturbed 250-acre lake and nearly 2,200 acres of undeveloped land and forest. St. Mary’s River State Park has a seven-mile trail that will take around two hours to complete. You will have picturesque views of wooded areas, the water, and birds. If you feel like veering off the trail for more of an adventure, they have several you can choose from. 

12. Gilbert Run Park, Charlotte Hall, MD

Walking trails surrounded by trees with only a gentle incline grace Gilbert Run Park. The park also has plenty of picnic benches, a children's playground, a lake with fishing and even boats that you can rent. The main trail is around two miles long and the views are absolutely spectacular. Be prepared to pull out your phone and take plenty of pictures of the fall leaves change and you see their colors surrounding this serene lake in Charlotte Hall, Maryland.

13. Thurston Griggs Trail, Hagerstown, MD

For avid hikers looking for a more rural and rustic experience, head to Thurston Griggs Trail. This is a rocky trail in the mountains of Hagerstown surrounded by trees, so you may want to bring a hiking stick with you and at least wear very durable and rugged shoes. Rocky and steep this trail is not for a novice hiker or for young children. However, if you are looking for a challenge this is an excellent trail to visit.

14. Gambrill State Park, Catoctin Mountain, Thurmont, MD

Located on the Catoctin Mountain outside of Frederick, this state park has a well-developed trail system. At higher elevations, you will be treated to stunning views of the farmland below and the trees surrounding the trail are truly spectacular three seasons out of the year. Since there are multiple trails to choose from, you can select easier ones for the family or rocky and rugged trails for the adventurers in the group.

15. Greenwell State Park, Hollywood, MD

With miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, a fishing pier and beach, Greenwell State Park in Hollywood is an excellent place to take the family and enjoy the great outdoors. This is an ideal destination when you want to please multiple people in your group. The hikers will enjoy the trail but if other people in the family would prefer to fish, you can take a break and do that as well. 

There is no doubt that Maryland has some of the best and most diverse hiking in the United States. Most of these trails can be enjoyed year-round so buy a pair of hiking boots and get out there!

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900 Arnoldstown Road, Jefferson, MD
Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. In the late 1800's, Gathland featured a unique co... Read More
21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, MD
Greenbrier is a multi-use park providing many kinds of recreation. The Appalachian Trail passes through the park. The 42-acre man-made lake and bea... Read More
21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, MD
South Mountain State Park is a 40-mile long multi-use state park weaving along the South Mountain ridge from the Pennsylvania line to the Potomac R... Read More
137 Deep Shore Road, Denton, MD
George Martinak deeded this land of forests, fields and marsh to the state in 1961 for preservation as a recreational facility and a natural area f... Read More
2813 Jerusalem Road, Kingsville, MD
Established in 1959 to protect the Gunpowder River and the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls, Gunpowder Falls State Park is now one of Maryland’... Read More
4395 Turkey Point Road, North East, MD
Elk Neck State Park is located in Cecil County on a peninsula, formed by the Chesapeake Bay on the west and the Elk River on the east. The park has... Read More
5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, MD
The majority of historic information about the Battle of Antietam is in this section of our web site. The table below lists categories and links to... Read More
2002 Cromwell Bridge Road, Baltimore, MD
About Us:The 426-acre park was acquired by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks starting in 1993. It is a stream valley park com... Read More
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD
This loop is a combination of all of the three major loops in the park and completes an 8.5 mile loop. Access this trail from any of these par... Read More
1361 Wrighton Road, Lothian, MD
Goals & Mission: The Sanctuary protects more than 1,500 acres of natural lands along the Patuxent River estuary in southern Anne Arundel Count... Read More
7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD
About Us:Assateague Island is managed by three official park agencies. Assateague Island National Seashore is cared for and managed by the National... Read More
1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, MD
About This 786-acre Maryland State Park is located along the Northwestern shore of the majestic Chesapeake Bay. The park’s beaches and picni... Read More
12900 Lakeshore Drive, Flintstone, MD
Rocky Gap State Park is located in Western Maryland’s Allegany County. The park encompasses over 3,000 acres of public land for visitors to e... Read More
25420 Rosedale Manor Lane, Hollywood, MD
Greenwell is a 596-acre State Park located on the Patuxent River in St. Mary's County, Maryland. In 1971, John Phillip Greenwell, Jr. and his siste... Read More
Chesapeake Bay, Sparrows Point, MD
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2750 Sweden Point Road, Marbury, MD
Smallwood State Park takes its name from General William Smallwood, a native born Charles Countian. He was the highest ranked Marylander who served... Read More
2470 Maple Glade Road, Oakland, MD
This mountain park is located nine miles north of Oakland, Maryland and contains some of Maryland's most breathtaking scenery. The Youghiogheny Riv... Read More
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont, MD
Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the picturesque Catoctin Mountains. It is divided into two separate but unique areas. The William Houck A... Read More
11710 Macarthur Blvd., Potomac, MD
The Billy Goat Trails have been popular with hikers since the mid-1800s. Comprised of three separate trails accessible from the towpath, and design... Read More
13 Canal St., Cumberland, MD
Hiking and biking along the towpath are excellent ways to see the park. Hiker-Biker Campsites are located from Swains Lock to Cumberland. Several p... Read More
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