Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitor's Center

Trails and Trail Map

A map of the trails at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary can be downloaded for free from this website. Please make sure to read the printing instructions and information for how to download the file to cell phones. The map is in a PDF format that requires Adobe Reader. To get the free Adobe Reader go to Adobe.com.

Click here to view the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Click here to view the instructions for printing and downloading the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Click here to view the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Guide

To purchase copies of the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Guide with a credit card, please click on this link to place your order online.

To purchase copies of the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Guide with a check, please click on this link to print an order form.

Winter hikers at Merkle Wildlife SanctuaryHiking

There are four hiking trails at Merkle Wildlife that explore the upland forests and marshes of the Patuxent River. Our trails are open to hikers only. Bikers and equestrians may visit nearby Rosaryville State Park or Cedarville State Forest. All trail distances are round-trip, measured from the Visitor Center (except Lookout Creek Trail).

Paw Paw Trail

This is a flat, family friendly trail that weaves past streams and ponds and through forests and fields. Look out for paw paw trees along the trail that grow green,oval shaped fruits. Paw paws are the largest fruit native to maryland and were a favorite dessert of President George Washington. This trail is 1.2 miles long and is rated easy. The trail is blazed yellow.

Poplar Springs Trail

This is a relatively flat trail that connects the forested areas on either side of the main entrance road of Merkle. Named for the native poplar tree, this trail passes Merkle Wildlife’s champion yellow poplar which measures 116 feet tall and nearly 17 feet in circumference. Poplar Springs is 3.0 miles long and is rated easy/moderate. The trail is blazed red.

Mounds Trail

This is a hilly trail that follows along the top of a ravine and offers views of Lookout Creek. It’s most unique features are the large, man made mounds of dirt known as “ha-has” that give the trail its name. While their exact purpose is unknown, they are believed to be either early boundary markers or defenses built by soldiers during the War of 1812. This trail is 2.3 miles long and rated moderate. Mounds trail is blazed blue.

Lookout Creek Trail

This flat, figure-eight shaped trail winds through forests and wetlands. Named for Lookout Creek which feeds into the Patuxent River, hikers will get a beautiful view of the water and encounter various species of waterfowl and wetland vegetation. This trail is .72 miles and can only be accessed from the Critical Area Driving Tour (CADT). Lookout Creek Trail is blazed white.