Interesting birds and flowers reward the individuals willing to navigate the often muddy, frequently overgrown trails.
Habitat: Mostly floodplain forest with hillsides, tributaries, seepages, field edge, and rock outcroppings.
Layout: There is a small unpaved parking lot east of the river. Another is on Jennings Chapel Road 0.3 miles north of the intersection of Jennings Chapel Road and Howard Chapel Road. Trails on the Howard County side of the river run north and south of Howard Chapel Road. They are rough and likely to be muddy unless there has been an extended drought (boots advised). By early summer, briars and Multiflora Rose arch across the trails.
Upstream: From the parking lot at the river, cross the road and walk east (away from the bridge) about 100 feet. There is a sign for trout fishermen posted high on a large tree trunk. To the left of that tree there is a narrow opening which is the trail entrance. The trail passes through floodplain where there are some seepages, past rock outcroppings. In 0.2 miles there is a trail junction. For now, stay to the left. In another 0.2 miles there is another junction. The left trail may be explored for at least a half mile or more as it continues along the river floodplain. To reach the fields, return to the junction and take the righthand trail. The trail claims gently up a small drainage where it comes out in a field. By walking left at the edge of the field, one comes to a small parking lot adjacent to Jennings Chapel Road. (Look for an overgrown information board at the rear of the lot.) To find a trail leading back into the forest, walk right aboaut 200 yards along the edge of the field. This trail will complete a loop back to the first trail junction.
Downstream: The downstream trail is a bit more obvious than the upstream trail as it leaves from the rear of the river parking lot. It is less travelled, however, and by summer is choked with vegetation and can be hard to follow. It winds along the river for less than half a mile through maturing deciduous woods where it eventually comes out on a portion of gas line.
Best Time to Visit: Spring for migrants, (fall hunting dates present challenges during fall migration), and summer for breeding birds.
Birding: There are trails in both directions which provide opportunities to explore this section of the park. Here, as at several other locations along the river, there are opportunities to see and hear a variety of flycatchers, vireos, warblers, and tanagers both in migration and during the breeding season. Wild Turkeys have been seen on the upstream trail although they could be encountered anywhere in the park.
Highlights: Breeding birds, migrants, wildflowers.
Handicapped Access: Extremely limited. Rough muddy, narrow trails, intrusive vegetation. Limited to areas near the parking lots and the bridge.
Hunting: Note that controlled deer hunts are held on some days in fall and winter. For information about current hunting dates, go to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and select the hunting seasons calendar.