Cross Island Trail In Maryland

Here is everything you need to know about the Cross Island Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Maryland
  • Length: 6 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Queen Anne’s County Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Cross Island Trail, located in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The trail follows the path of an old railroad line that was originally constructed in the late 19th century. This railroad, known as the Queen Anne’s Railroad, played a crucial role in the transportation of goods and people across the county.

The Queen Anne’s Railroad was established in 1886 and connected the towns of Queenstown and Love Point. It served as a vital link between the agricultural communities and the Chesapeake Bay, facilitating the transportation of crops, seafood, and other goods to larger markets. The railroad also provided a means for residents to travel between towns, fostering economic growth and social connections.

Over time, as the popularity of rail travel declined, the Queen Anne’s Railroad ceased operations in the 1930s. However, the abandoned rail line was not forgotten. In the late 1990s, the idea of repurposing the old railroad bed into a recreational trail gained traction. The Cross Island Trail was born out of this vision, with the goal of preserving the historical significance of the railroad while providing a scenic and accessible pathway for residents and visitors.

Today, the Cross Island Trail spans approximately six miles, offering a picturesque journey through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and waterfront areas. Along the trail, visitors can still find remnants of the railroad’s past, such as old bridges and trestles. These historical markers serve as a reminder of the trail’s origins and the important role the Queen Anne’s Railroad played in the county’s development. The Cross Island Trail stands as a testament to the rich history of Queen Anne’s County and provides a unique opportunity for people to connect with the past while enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Terrapin Nature Park: Located at the southern end of the Cross Island Trail, Terrapin Nature Park offers parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is a popular access point for hikers, bikers, and birdwatchers.

2. Matapeake State Park: Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, Matapeake State Park provides access to the Cross Island Trail. It features a beach, fishing pier, and picnic areas. Parking is available.

3. Kent Narrows: This area serves as a major access point for the Cross Island Trail. It offers parking, restaurants, and shops. Visitors can enjoy scenic views of the Kent Narrows waterway.

4. Love Point Park: Located on the northern end of the Cross Island Trail, Love Point Park offers parking, a playground, and a beach area. It is a popular spot for picnicking and enjoying views of the Chesapeake Bay.

5. Romancoke Pier: Situated near the midpoint of the Cross Island Trail, Romancoke Pier provides parking, fishing opportunities, and a pier extending into the Chesapeake Bay. It is a great spot for fishing enthusiasts.

6. Cross Island Trail Visitor Center: This visitor center is located in the middle of the Cross Island Trail and serves as an access point. It offers parking, restrooms, and information about the trail and its surroundings.

7. Kent Island High School: Kent Island High School serves as an access point for the Cross Island Trail. It provides parking and is a convenient starting point for those coming from the nearby neighborhoods.

8. Chesapeake Exploration Center: Situated near the southern end of the Cross Island Trail, the Chesapeake Exploration Center offers parking, exhibits, and educational programs. It serves as an access point for visitors interested in learning about the Chesapeake Bay’s history and ecology.

9. Stevensville Middle School: Stevensville Middle School provides parking and serves as an access point for the Cross Island Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those coming from the Stevensville area.

10. Thompson Creek Park: Located near the midpoint of the Cross Island Trail, Thompson Creek Park offers parking, a boat ramp, and picnic areas. It is a popular access point for boaters and hikers alike.

Transportation Available

1. Cross Island Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation along the Cross Island Trail.
2. Taxi Services – Local taxi companies offering transportation services near the Cross Island Trail.
3. Bike Rentals – Shops providing bike rentals for convenient transportation along the trail.
4. Ride-Sharing Services – Popular ride-sharing platforms offering transportation options around the Cross Island Trail.
5. Bus Services – Local bus services with routes near the Cross Island Trail.
6. Car Rentals – Rental agencies offering cars for transportation near the trail.
7. Water Taxi – Water taxi service providing transportation across waterways near the Cross Island Trail.
8. Pedicabs – Pedicab services offering eco-friendly transportation options along the trail.
9. Limousine Services – Luxury transportation services available near the Cross Island Trail.
10. Private Transportation Companies – Local private transportation companies offering various transportation options near the trail.


The amenities available at the Cross Island Trail in Maryland may include:

1. Restrooms: There are public restrooms available at various points along the trail, including at parks and recreational areas.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas at different trailheads and access points along the Cross Island Trail. These parking lots provide convenient access for trail users.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not permitted directly on the Cross Island Trail, there are nearby campgrounds and recreational areas where camping facilities are available. Some popular options include Terrapin Nature Park and Matapeake State Park.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several designated picnic areas along the Cross Island Trail, providing a scenic spot for visitors to enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and sometimes even grills.

5. Water Stations: Some sections of the trail may have water stations or fountains where visitors can refill their water bottles. It is advisable to carry enough water for your journey, especially on longer stretches of the trail.

6. Bike Rentals: In certain areas, bike rental services may be available, allowing visitors to rent bicycles for exploring the Cross Island Trail. This can be a convenient option for those who do not have their own bikes.

7. Information Boards: Along the trail, you may find information boards or signage providing details about the trail’s history, wildlife, and points of interest. These can enhance your experience and provide educational opportunities.

8. Benches and Rest Areas: The trail is equipped with benches and rest areas at regular intervals, allowing visitors to take a break, relax, and enjoy the surroundings.

It is important to note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the Cross Island Trail you are accessing. It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information on amenities and facilities available.

Nearby Services

1. Kent Island Motel – Convenient lodging option near the Cross Island Trail.
2. The Narrows Restaurant – Nearby eatery offering delicious seafood and waterfront views.
3. Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department – Emergency services available in case of any unforeseen incidents.
4. Best Western Kent Narrows Inn – Comfortable lodging option with easy access to the trail.
5. Fisherman’s Inn & Crab Deck – Waterfront restaurant serving fresh seafood and offering scenic views.
6. Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department – Emergency services available for any urgent situations.
7. Hilton Garden Inn Kent Island – Modern hotel providing a comfortable stay near the Cross Island Trail.
8. Harris Crab House & Seafood Restaurant – Popular seafood spot with outdoor seating and waterfront views.
9. Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency services available for any immediate assistance.
10. Holiday Inn Express Annapolis East-Kent Island – Convenient lodging option with amenities near the trail.

Cross Island Trail Difficulty Notes

The Cross Island Trail, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. Spanning approximately 6.5 miles, the trail provides a mix of paved and unpaved sections, making it accessible for various skill levels. While the terrain is generally flat, there are some gentle inclines and declines along the way, adding a bit of challenge. The trail also passes through scenic landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and waterfront areas, providing a visually appealing experience. Overall, the Cross Island Trail offers a manageable level of difficulty, suitable for both beginners and experienced outdoor enthusiasts.

Features And Attractions

The Cross Island Trail is a 6.5-mile trail located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, connecting Kent Island to Queen Anne’s County. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Cross Island Trail:

1. Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center: This is the starting point of the trail, where you can learn about the region’s history, culture, and natural resources.

2. Terrapin Nature Park: Located on the western end of the trail, this park offers beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay, marshes, and woodlands. It is a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

3. Kent Narrows: This area is known for its picturesque views of the waterway, marinas, and seafood restaurants. You can enjoy watching boats passing through the narrow channel.

4. Romancoke Fishing Pier: This pier extends into the Chesapeake Bay and provides a great spot for fishing, crabbing, or simply enjoying the panoramic views.

5. Matapeake State Park: This park features a public beach, picnic areas, and a historic ferry house. It offers stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.

6. Cross Island Trail Bridge: This bridge spans over Cox Creek, offering scenic views of the water and surrounding wetlands.

7. Historic Stevensville: As you approach the eastern end of the trail, you’ll pass through the charming town of Stevensville, which has several historic buildings, shops, and restaurants.

8. Old Love Point Park: This park is located at the eastern terminus of the trail and offers beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. It has picnic areas, a playground, and a fishing pier.

These are just a few highlights along the Cross Island Trail. As you explore the trail, you’ll also come across various natural landscapes, wildlife, and other points of interest that make this trail a scenic and historical gem.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles and pedestrians should yield to equestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Camping and open fires are prohibited.
– Hunting and trapping are not permitted.
– Fishing is allowed in designated areas only.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass on private property.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Do not litter and use designated trash receptacles.
– Alcohol and illegal substances are strictly prohibited.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Cross Island Trail, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, offers visitors a scenic and diverse experience throughout the year. The best times to visit the trail depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are generally considered the most pleasant seasons, with mild temperatures and beautiful foliage. During these times, the trail is adorned with vibrant colors, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

In spring, the trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and migrating birds, creating a picturesque setting for hikers and birdwatchers. The weather is usually comfortable, allowing visitors to enjoy the trail without the scorching heat of summer. Fall, on the other hand, offers a stunning display of autumn foliage, transforming the trail into a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures make it an ideal time for biking or walking along the trail, taking in the breathtaking scenery.

It’s important to note that the Cross Island Trail is open year-round, but there may be seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed due to inclement weather or maintenance work. It’s advisable to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website for any closures or updates before planning a visit during this time. Despite potential closures, winter can still be a great time to explore the trail, especially for those who enjoy a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

Overall, the Cross Island Trail offers something for everyone throughout the year. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring and fall or the tranquility of winter, this trail provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.


1. Paved Surface: The Cross Island Trail features a smooth, paved surface, ensuring easy wheelchair access and a comfortable experience for all users.
2. Wide Pathways: The trail offers wide pathways, allowing ample space for wheelchair users to navigate comfortably alongside other pedestrians and cyclists.
3. Accessible Entrances: The trail provides accessible entrances at various points, ensuring easy entry and exit for individuals using wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
4. Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas equipped with benches and picnic tables, providing accessible seating options for individuals with disabilities.
5. Accessible Parking: The Cross Island Trail offers accessible parking spaces near trailheads, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at certain points along the trail, providing facilities that meet ADA standards for individuals with disabilities.
7. Signage: The trail features clear and visible signage, including accessible signage, to assist individuals with disabilities in navigating the trail and its amenities.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail, ensuring individuals with disabilities can stay hydrated during their journey.
9. Trail Grade: The trail maintains a relatively flat and even grade, making it easier for wheelchair users to traverse without encountering steep inclines or declines.
10. Trail Length: The Cross Island Trail is approximately 6.5 miles long, providing wheelchair users with the opportunity to enjoy a substantial distance of accessible outdoor recreation.

Safety Information

When visiting the Cross Island Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on the designated trail: Stick to the marked path and avoid venturing off into unauthorized areas. Straying from the trail can lead to potential hazards and disturb the natural environment.

2. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and watch out for other trail users, including cyclists, joggers, and walkers. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as snakes or insects, and give them space.

3. Share the trail: The Cross Island Trail is open to various users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters. Be courteous and share the trail by keeping to the right and allowing faster users to pass safely.

4. Use proper safety gear: If you are cycling or skating, wear a helmet and any other necessary protective gear. This will help prevent head injuries in case of accidents or falls.

5. Stay hydrated: Carry an adequate supply of water, especially during hot weather or strenuous activities. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and other health issues.

6. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear for walking, running, or cycling. Consider the weather conditions and dress in layers if necessary.

7. Use sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen before heading out. Additionally, apply insect repellent to prevent bug bites, especially during warmer months.

8. Stay on marked paths during low light conditions: If you plan to use the trail during dawn, dusk, or at night, ensure you have proper lighting and stick to the designated path. This will help you avoid tripping or getting lost.

9. Carry a cell phone: Keep a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies. It is always good to have a means of communication readily available.

10. Respect the environment: Help preserve the natural beauty of the Cross Island Trail by not littering and disposing of waste properly. Leave no trace and respect the flora and fauna along the trail.

Remember, safety is paramount when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Cross Island Trail.

Conservation Notes

The Cross Island Trail, located in Maryland, is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the natural environment and protecting various species of plants and animals. The trail is recognized for its conservation efforts and is considered a valuable asset in maintaining the ecological balance of the region.

The conservation status of the Cross Island Trail is highly regarded due to its commitment to preserving and restoring the native habitats found along the trail. The area encompasses diverse ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and meadows, which are home to a wide range of plant and animal species. Efforts have been made to protect and enhance these habitats, ensuring the survival of native flora and fauna.

Conservation initiatives along the Cross Island Trail focus on maintaining the integrity of the ecosystems by controlling invasive species, managing water quality, and promoting sustainable land use practices. The trail management actively engages in habitat restoration projects, such as reforestation and wetland enhancement, to improve the overall health and biodiversity of the area. These conservation efforts aim to create a sustainable environment that can support the needs of both wildlife and visitors while preserving the natural beauty of the trail.

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