A long, relatively flat trail at the foot of steep slopes covers a location where some choice species still breed.
Habitat: The thin, acidic soils of the steep slopes along the first portion of the trail are covered with oak-hickory and some Mountain Laurel with an occasional Virginia Pine. In the mixed deciduous woods beyond the pond, Beech predominates. In both areas, the understory is largely open. The narrow Patuxent River is a trout stream that clears quickly after rains. Beavers come and go in the pond—the water level rises when their dam is intact. Just north of the pond is a small planted grove of mature White Pines. Beyond that point, the floodplain is a little wider and the slopes a bit more gentle. Here and there, a collapsed outbuilding or some domestic plantings betray the site of an old homestead.
Layout: From the small parking lot east of the bridge on the south side of Long Corner Road, walk toward the bridge. Before reaching the river, cross the road to enter the unmarked trail on the north side. This wide flat path heads north on an old road embankment. The Patuxent River or a main tributary remains in sight on the left (west) along portions of the trail. At several points, there will be 20-foot muddy sections or even standing water in all except the driest weather. The trail crosses a gas line and soon continues around a pond, one of the few in PRSP. Just before entering the small grove of White Pines there is another wet/muddy section. (It is possible to avoid this one by bearing left at a trail intersection at the northeast corner of the pond. Stay close to the water and jump a foot-wide tributary.) The trail continues left (west) through the pines. (There is no trail that allows circumnavigation of the pond.) Follow the wide trail west for a mile or more and cross a telephone right-of-way. Eventually, a fenced pasture appears on the right. At this point, turn around and retrace your steps.
Best Time to Visit: Mid to late spring, early summer, fall (Sundays only the during hunting season).
Birding: During migration, almost any woodland passerine might be present and a few waterbirds can be expected at the pond. This is not a hot spot for shorebirds and ducks, however. Views of the sky are limited to a few openings and the area over the pond. Red-shouldered Hawks and Barred Owls have both nested. Breeding season finds a variety of forest dwellers: Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch, Veery, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. Hooded Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler once nested here, but not in recent years; look for them in other sections of the park. Mature trees on steep slopes make viewing challenging.
Highlights: Easy walking in a scenic area with a fine variety of woodland bird species. A variety of plants, a few unusual odonates, and diverse fungi make this a fine destination. Fishing and horseback riding are major attractions.
Handicapped Access: Limited. Except for the short section near the beginning, it can be difficult to navigate the path. During periods of extreme drought, the trail may be almost dry; however, most periods when birding is best coincide with some degree of rainfall. Because there is a steep hillside on one side and a dropoff from the trail embankment on the other, it is not easy for anyone with mobility problems to avoid the muddy areas. The one spot that is less steep contains a thriving colony of Poison Ivy along the edge. To sample the area, stand on the sidewalk along the bridge checking for birds in the vicinity of the river.
Hunting: More than 5,000 of the 6,700 acres of the park are available for hunting including this section. During hunting seasons visits other than Sundays are discouraged. If you do go at these times, wear a blaze orange hat or vest.