Glendening Preserve

Description: The Gledening Preserve is a recent addition to the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. It does not have the “wow factor” that the big sister on the south side of Wrighton road has. Although part of the Wetlands Sanctuary you have to strain your eyes to get a glimpse of the wetlands through the trees, even in the winter, and it is considerably smaller than Sis. Still, it has several things giving it a nice up side: 1) It’s free. 2) It is open seven days a week and 3) It is pet friendly. (Our furry friends are not allowed at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary.) It even has a couple of unique features worth seeing that the main sanctuary does not have: a small sand barren with its Loblolly Pine, Horse Mint, Camphor Weed and Prickly Pear all growing mere feet from each other and  a nearly impenetrable Pine Barren, so dense that a swath had to be mowed around it so the visitor can study this unique environment. Described here is a 3.5 mile circumnavigation of the venue. A bit more distance can be had by adding the Maple, Cedar Trails and the upper reaches of the Red Oak Trail.

Google Maps Custom Driving Directions




Printable/Downloadable Map

Zipped National Geographic. TOPO! GPS and Universal GPX Files 

GPS Text File for Non-TOPO! Users


Trail Notes: To the best of my knowledge the Red Oak Trail is the only trail in the system that is blazed (red) but all trails are obvious and most are signed at the intersections. From the parking area proceed up Red Oak Trail. In 0.2 miles cross a stream on a culvert and immediately turn left onto the Cliffs Trail. You may see some old trails to your right but these have been abandoned. In 0.4 miles come to a T intersection. A left turn leads to a dead end in 0.1 miles but offers the only chance at clearly seeing the wetlands of the Patuxent River. Some poking around in the brush and green briar might be necessary. Return to the T intersection and continue straight, soon passing the Dogwood Trail on the right. (Any right turn from the Cliffs Trail will return you to the Red Oak Trail if you need to shorten the hike.) In 0.3 miles pass the Blueberry Trail, also on the right. In 0.1 miles there is a set of steps carved into “the cliffs” that lead to the site of an old, unusable boardwalk. As of this writing (08/12) there appears to be a project underway to restore it as there are piles of new pressure treated lumber there and some signs of new construction. Maybe there will be a view of the wetlands in the future! In another 0.1 miles pass the Holly Trail on the right. (If you haven’t guessed it by now all but two of the trails are named after trees or bushes.) The trail leaves the sandy lane you’ve been hiking on to the left using a footpath for 0.1 miles before connecting with another sandy lane. At first you might think it is the same one you were on earlier but shortly after turning left onto it you will see the red blazes of the Red Oak Trail. The next 0.2 miles cuts through the sand barrens mentioned in the description. The trail bears off to the left and dead ends but you want to turn right under a lone tree with a picnic table to continue on the Beaver Rock Trail. At this intersection is the densest growth of prickly pears. In 0.2 miles the trail dips down into a trough of sorts. Turn right, climbing up a short hill to regain another flat, sandy lane. In quick succession you will pass Cedar Trail and Maple Trail (a potential shortcut if needed) both on your right.

In another 0.3 miles you will find yourself standing in a mowed swath of grass with the Pine Barrens before you. Turning right is the shortest route but you want to turn left. Study the edges of the Pine Barrens for wildflowers. Birders would probably enjoy this area as well. In 0.2 miles an un-signed trail goes off to the left to the Plummer House. (It has a historical significance but, as of now I don’t know what it is. I hope to find out.) In another 0.1 miles the Blueberry Trail joins the swath from the right. Stay straight on the swath and in another 0.2 miles re-enter the woods, staying on the Blueberry Trail. Pass the Maple Trail in 0.1 miles and in the same distance turn left back onto the Red Oak Trail. Follow this for 0.4 miles back to your car, passing the Dogwood Trail on the right and the Spice Bush Trail on the left.


Critique This Outing 



Outing Critiques

Name: Adventure Runner                                                                                                                  Hike: Glendening Preserve
Date: 11/18/12                                                                                                                                  Rating: 4

Critique: I ran this loop twice today. I would have rated it a "3" if it weren't for the new boardwalk and viewing platform.

The trails are mostly wide old roads. The terrain is very flat and smooth, sometimes sandy. Very easy for hiking or running. The most interesting trail is the Cliff Tr - it has nice views of the wetlands through the trees and some narrow, twisty single track sections.

The new boardwalk has been built, and it goes way out into the wetlands. It ends at a small pier, where canoeists and kayakers along the Patuxent could stop and tour the trails if desired. The view here is spectacular. I was amazed at how extensive the wetlands were this close to DC/Baltimore. You cannot see any development from this viewpoint, although you can hear the traffic from MD4.

The new boardwalk makes the out-and-back described above unnecessary. It doesn't have a very good view of the wetlands and you can see houses from where it ends. Skip it and take the steps to the new boardwalk.

Other than the impressive boardwalk, it's just a flat walk in the woods, but good for stretching the legs. I did see some birds - don't know any species, but they were colorful. IMO, the Pine Barrens and the Sand Barrens were kind of a disappointment, although it was neat to see prickly pear in the wild less than an hour from DC.

The directions and map here are all you need to find your way. The signs are pretty consistent. Some of the trails other than the Red Oak Tr are blazed white, but not consistently. Ignore any surveyor's orange ribbon and little laminated alphanumerical signs. Even if you make a wrong turn, the area is so small, that you'll quickly be able to get back on track.

Overall, short, easy leg-stretcher that is close to home for DC/Baltimore residents with an impressive view of a very large wetlands area.


VA Hikes MD Hikes WV Hikes PA Hikes Contact Us Home