Southern Maryland: Smallwood State Park to Piscataway Park

Walking toward Washington, D.C., one might expect the access to public conservation lands to diminish. Just the opposite! The PHT follows back roads that visit Maryland's Duncaster Demonstration Forest, Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area, Mattawoman Natural Environment Area, and Chapman's Landing, which includes the Parris Glendening Natural Environment Area. The hike ends at Piscataway Park—six miles of preserved Potomac shoreline across river from George Washington's Mount Vernon home.


Start: Smallwood State Park
End: Piscataway Park
Miles: 16.4
Points of Interest: Smallwood SP, Piscataway Park, National Colonial Farm, Mockley Point
Parking: Smallwood SP (0.0), Piscataway Park (16.1)
Water, restroom: Smallwood State Park visitor center and museum; Piscataway Park
Provisions: Shopping center at intersection of Route 210 and Route 227
Camping: Smallwood State Park


Hike Data

Mile Navigation
0 From Smallwood State Park, turn left on 224 (Chicamuxen Rd.)
2.3 Begin passing through Mattawoman Natural Environment Area. Wide shoulders.
4.5 Turn left on Hawthorne Rd., which here is both routes 224 and 225.
4.9 Junction with Livingston Rd./Route 224 on right. For roughly the next 3.5 miles, the trail circles the Parris Glendenning Natural Environment Area and Chapmans Landing State Park. As plans unfold for the area, which was acquired by the State of Maryland in 2002, more off-road trail opportunities will emerge.
6.0 Intersection with Route 210 (Indian Head Highway); turn right and follow shoulder.
6.3 Pass Chapman's Landing Rd. on left. To get off Indian Head Highwayn for 2.4 miles, follow Chapman's Landing Rd., to where it re-enters the highway.
10.3 Route 227 (Marshall Hall Rd.); turn left.
12.7 Barry's Hill Rd.; turn right.
13.4 Enter Prince George's County.
14.4 Old Marshall Hall Rd.
15.6 Cactus Hill Rd.; turn right.
16.1 Bryan Point Rd.; turn left.
16.4 Entrance to National Colonial Farm. Parking.

Explore the PHT

Smallwood State Park
This 628-acre park was the homestead of William Smallwood, fourth governor of Maryland and the highest ranking Marylander to serve in the Revolutionary War. During his Governorship, Smallwood was responsible for the arrangement with Virginia which gave Maryland property rights to the Potomac River — an 'ownership' that continues to charge the river's waters (politically, legally, and environmentally) to the present day. Smallwood's restored 18th century Retreat House and 19th century tobacco barn are open to public tours on Sundays May through September. Camping and cabins, some with views of Mattawoman Creek, are available by reservation. Canoes can be rented Wednesdays through Sundays, May—September. There are two miles of hiking trails and a children's playground.

Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area
Along Route 225, this 834 acre multiple-use area, modestly tucked away 7 miles west of La Plata, makes an ideal spot for bird-watching and nature photography. Call 301-743-5161 for hiking, hunting, and fishing information.

Accokeek Foundation
A non-profit dedicated to the practice and teaching of land stewardship and sustainable land practices, the Accokeek Foundation is host to three significant areas. Together, they explore the interrelation between food, land use, and environmental protection in a historical context, providing opportunities to make comparisons among cultural values of the past, present, and future.

Piscataway Park
Piscataway Park, administered by the National Park Service, was established in 1961 as a pilot project in the use of easements to the viewshed of Mount Vernon. Today, Piscataway Park covers approximately 5,000 acres, and stretches for 6 miles from Piscataway Creek to Marshall Hall on the Potomac River. A place of great natural beauty, Piscataway Park is home to bald eagles, beavers, deer, fox, osprey and many other species. To complement the surroundings, the park has, in addition to a public fishing pier and two boardwalks over fresh water tidal wetlands, a variety of nature trails, meadows, and woodland areas, each with unique features.

National Colonial Farm
With period buildings and interpretive tours, this farm provides visitors with an in-depth representation of tobacco life in 1775. Be sure to visit the native tree arboretum. Prescheduled tours are available.

Ecosystem Farm
Home to a Community Supported Agriculture program, Ecosystem Farm uses the newest in sustainable agriculture technology to demonstrate that producing good, quality food can be done in harmony with nature.

Last updated: July 7, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage NST Office
P. O. Box B

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-4014

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