Hike the South Tract Trails at Patuxent Research Refuge

Rate this Adventure Patuxent Research Refuge South Tract

Beech trees, boardwalks, and bird blinds are the highlights of the South Tract's 5 miles of interconnected trails.

From the visitors center, start on the Fire Road trail. From there, it's a choose-your-own adventure (choose-your-own ecosystem, actually). Pick the Laurel and Valley Trails to stay in the quiet (and maybe enchanted? It felt enchanted) forest. Goose Pond trail is a short jut to a--yup--pond, where herons pose for instagram-worthy shots. Cash Lake loop is the star of the show. Nesting boxes and bird blinds surround the lake, and fisherman dreaming of largemouths line the pier. Floating trails lead you through expansive fields of lily-pads. Plan on animal encounters, bird sightings, and a deep feeling of gratitude to Franklin Roosevelt for setting this one aside. 

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Hiking boots
  • Sunscreen
  • Bugspray
  • Bird/Animal identification guide
  • Pups
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RT Distance 5 Miles
Activities Fishing, Photography, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Handicap Accessible


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