Photo Courtesy of Alison Gillespie
JUG BAY - PATUXENT RIVER STATE PARK III
Upper Marlboro, MD
Jug Bay Natural Area at Patuxent Park III in Croom MD was established in 1962 and is the largest freshwater tidal wetland in Maryland.
The 7,000 acre park has approximately 18 miles of natural surface trails that are currently divided into 5 loops (Green, Blue, Purple, Red and Yellow) and their associated connectors. The trails were built or rerouted as single track in the past several years to follow the natural ridges and rims of the many ravines and creek beds that lead to the beautiful Patuxent River. This provides a fun and flowy ride while maximizing the 80-100 feet of vertical elevation and stunning views available at the park. There are several parking areas to access the trails, restrooms and water bottle fill stations are available at the Pavilion and the Visitor Center Parking Areas.
The Park also has kayak and canoe rentals, pavilion and picnic areas, Boat Ramps and Canoe/Kayak/Paddle Board Launches at Selby and Jackson Landings as well as multiple campsite locations. The park is a historical site featuring Native American, Colonial and War of 1812 displays and artifacts as well as the Columbia Air Center Monument which was an airfield on the property from 1941 to 1958, started by African American pilots who were not permitted to use other airports.
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The 18 miles of natural surface trails in Jug Bay are currently divided into 5 loops (Green, Blue, Purple, Red and Yellow) and their associated connectors. The fast and flowy singletrack packs some short climbs and maximizes the park's 80-100 feet of vertical elevation.