The Indian Head Rail Trail is Charles County’s most exciting recreational trail. A generous gift through the Department of Interior’s Federal Lands to Parks Program, Charles County has completed converting this abandoned railroad corridor into a 13-mile bike trail. Connecting the Town of Indian Head to Route 301 in White Plains, the IHRT traverses approximately halfway across our County.
Without a doubt, the IHRT is a unique opportunity to enjoy some of Southern Maryland’s most undeveloped natural areas. Originally built in 1918 as a supply route for the Navy’s Indian Head Powder Factory, this elevated rail bed passes through the Mattawoman Creek stream valley. Cyclists, hikers and nature enthusiasts will experience the surroundings of mature forests, natural wetlands, and occasional farmland. Wildlife abounds! Visiting the IHRT is almost like stepping back in time.
No parking available directly at Mattingly Avenue trailhead. Park across Route 210 at either the Village Green Town Park or Charlie Wright Park (adjacent to Indian Head Elementary School). Right turn off of Route 210 onto Doctor Andrews Way - bear left just before baseball field onto Doctor Mitchell Lane. After parking, follow signs/road markings to the trail.
From Route 301, make a right turn onto Theodore Green Boulevard. Approximately ¼ mile, trail parking is on the right side of the road. Weekend (only) overflow parking is available at the Charles County Health Department parking lot (intersection of Route 301 and Theodore Green Boulevard).
Located between Waldorf and Pomfret on Bensville Road (Route 229), the park offers ample Rail Trail parking, restrooms and a paved connector trail to the IHRT near Mile Marker 9.
RULES OF THE TRAIL
- No motorized vehicles (Handicap Exemption: electric wheelchairs permitted).
- The trail is open dawn to dusk - illegal to be in the park during non-daylight hours.
- Stop at all road crossings and yield to road traffic.
- Respect the rights of adjacent homeowners - stay within the park boundaries.
- Alcohol, drugs, and smoking are prohibited.
- No amplified music.
- Obey helmet laws.
- No hunting - weapons prohibited.
- Leashed pets are welcome (6-foot leash or less - no retractable leashes); owners are required to clean up after their pet.
- Do not litter.
- Report emergencies by dialing 911. Unlawful activity of a non-emergency nature should be reported to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office: 301-932-2222.
- Report safety concerns or maintenance issues to the park office: 301-932-3470.
- Respect other trail users and enjoy a safe trail experience.
Horseback riding is limited to Oak Ridge and Maxwell Hall Parks. Bicycles are permitted on the Indian Head Rail Trail but are not allowed on any other trails.
This hidden gem located in Western Charles County features two trail loops totaling nearly 4 miles. Features include miles of waterfront hiking, nature observation decks, and abundant wildlife to observe and enjoy.
This 2.5-mile nature trail travels along the edge of the 69-acre Wheatley Lake. Features include self-guided nature walk (pamphlets available at park office), fishing pavilions, numerous boardwalks and bridges, and beaver colony observation deck.
Winding around the edges of the athletic complex, this 1.6-mile trail is ideal for jogging or a quick lunch hour stroll.
Charles County’s equestrian facility welcomes hikers and nature watchers. Located off Rt. 231 near Benedict, the park offers over 14 miles of horse trails. Features include flat wide open riding, "intense" and hilly wooded terrain, cross country jumping course, trail obstacle course, and beachfront riding along the Patuxent River. NOTE: $25 annual membership required to ride facility. Call 301-932-3470 for membership information. Hikers and birders may use trails free of charge.
This 7-mile trail network offers equestrians and hikers a wide variety of trail options. Features include hilly terrain, creek crossings, bridges, and flat open areas. Oak Ridge Park also features two show-quality riding arenas which are open to the public except during special events.
Port Tobacco River Park
7685 Chapel Point Rd • Port Tobacco
This 149-acre venue offers unique natural resource-based recreational opportunities for county residents…all within 3 miles of downtown La Plata. Features include 4 miles of nature and hiking trails, interpretive displays, wildlife observation decks, trailside rest areas, and a secluded picnic grove. Visitors are encouraged to visit the park during the winter months to observe our resident eagles as they prepare their nest for new arrivals in the spring.
For information on any of our trails, please call the Parks Office at 301-932-3470.