Where to ride in MD
Fugly Horse of the Day
MD Horse clubs
Patuxent River Park
Jug Bay Natural Area
16000 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301-627-6074; TTY 301-699-2544
Jug Bay Natural Area is the headquarters for the Patuxent River Park properties.
This 2,000 acre tract of land is comprised of various natural habitats that
buffer the Patuxent River and provide a critical link in conserving the area's
Jug Bay is one of the most important freshwater tidal estuaries in the
Chesapeake Bay region. The Commission works cooperatively with federal, state
and local agencies, and conservation organizations to ensure the Patuxent River
remains one of Maryland's premiere river greenways. Jug Bay Natural Area is a
component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland,
a nationwide network of diverse coastal estuaries that serve as laboratories for
scientific research, education and monitoring. The park is also a site on the
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a partnership of parks, refuges, museums,
historical communities and trails where visitors can experience and learn about
the Chesapeake Bay. Jug Bay has been designated an "Important Birding Area" by
the National Audubon Society.
The park offers a wide range of amenities for the public. There are more than
eight miles of scenic woodland trails for hikers, bicyclists and horseback
riders. The park provides facilities for primitive tent camping and day-use
picnics. There are two fishing areas at Jug Bay that offer good tidal fishing
year-round. Jug Bay has two standard boat ramps, but no overnight tie-ups or
fuel facilities. Hunting is permitted in the park. An upland area for squirrel
and rabbit is open to licensed hunters. In addition, a number of waterfowl blind
sites are leased on a seasonal basis. Jug Bay is excellent to explore by canoe
or kayak. The park offers guided trips, as well as daily and hourly canoe and
The park is home to the Patuxent Rural Life Museums. This collection of late
19th century and early 20th century buildings tells the story of life in
southern Maryland. Visitors can also enjoy the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area
Tour, a four-mile roadway that connects the park with Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.
Guided, interpretive programs are available on a seasonal basis. River ecology
tours aboard a pontoon boat feature the river's wetlands, wildlife and history.
Boardwalks provide easy access to Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area. Guided
nature hikes led by naturalists explore the bio-diverse communities of the
river. Additionally, nature programs for people of all ages are offered.
A special-use permit or reservation is required for all activities.
Follow directions to the boat launching area, there
is a parking lot big enough for horse trailers (no, you don't have to
back up). Trails are marked, and there is a map available, but I have
not found who has it. (If anyone does, please contact me!) Most trails
are sand and dirt, but there is road riding and some rocky areas. This
is a dog park as well, so you may run into trainers birding their dogs.
This park is excellent for winter and wet riding, you may have some mud,
but it gets low horse traffic, and the soil seems to drain very well.