Hugg-Thomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

Forsythe Road, Sykesville, Maryland 21784
  • Size: Several hundred acres. (The Maryland Park Service includes Hugg-Thomas on the Patapsco Valley State Park trails map.)
  • Habitat: Mature upland deciduous forest with healthy understory, extensive fields and hedgerows, small streams, wetland areas and ponds. Lawn area around the parking lot and across the road around outbuildings and retention pond.
  • Best Months: Year-round interest, but fall (Sundays only; see below) and spring migration are best for greatest variety and rarities.
  • Coverage Time: Several hours to a half day.
  • Trails/Paths: Trails are a network of dirt roads, trails, and grassy swaths cut into the fields and forest.
  • Notable Birds: Hooded Merganser, Wild Turkey (domesticated birds wander near the parking lot), Least Bittern, Peregrine Falcon, Virginia Rail, American Woodcock, Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Gray-cheeked Thrush, 28 species of warblers (migrant and breeding), Blue Grosbeak.
  • Amenities: Parking area and informational board. Picnic table. No facilities. Sykesville, across the river, has a visitor center with facilities, as well as several restaurants.
  • Handicapped Access: Good birding from level parking area and across the road around outbuildings. The field area on the north side is generally level. Other trails have moderate grades, becoming steeper on the hillsides.
  • Operation and Hours: No posted hours. Hunting or trespassing is by permit only Monday through Saturday during fall (from September 1), winter, and spring small game and Wild Turkey hunting seasons. Check with the Department of Natural Resources at for seasonal hunting dates. Sunday access is always permitted.
  • Special Attractions: An interesting mix of mature woods with a healthy understory, fields, streams and some manmade ponds makes Hugg-Thomas WMA an attractive birding destination.
Hugg-Thomas WMA thumbnail
Compiler: Scott Berglund

© 2008