Exploring Kent Island’s Cross Island Trail

Just over the Bay Bridge in Maryland, the Cross Island Trail is a rail trail in Queen Anne’s County occupying a section of the abandoned Queen Anne’s Railroad corridor that travels the width of Kent Island.

The trail begins in Terrapin Park, near the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and brings you through both Terrapin Park and the adjacent Chesapeake Bay Business Park.

It then crosses Love Point Road through the property of Kent Island High School, then into Old Love Point Park. After Old Love Point Park, the trail enters its original section and the former rail bed of the Queen Anne’s Railroad.

Along the railbed, it goes in a straight path until reaching the end of its original section at Castle Marina Road.

This is about where you encounter first road noise from noisy Rt 50, nearby, and then you can see it, although sometimes the view to the road is nicely obscured by tall grasses. It frequently is deeply shaded, even when you can see through the few trees to the highway beyond. Proximity to the road means road noise, and is exactly what I’m trying to escape from when I go biking or hiking. For this reason, I’m not sure I’m keen to return to this trail — I’m not sure it’s a destination trail. But for those NOT bothered by road noise, then this trail would be very enjoyable, and there are some lovely views.

After crossing Castle Marina Road, the trail mostly parallels Piney Creek Road and U.S. Route 50, before ending at the Chesapeake Exploration Center in Kent Narrows. Here, however, I recommend veering left along the marina to Ferry Point Park, adjacent the Chesapeake Exploration Center. Although not as well groomed a trail, it’s well worth a few minutes of your time heading out on the peninsula. You’ll be rewarded with some lovely views of the water and almost guaranteed solitude, except for squirrels, biting bugs, and osprey.

The name Ferry Point came from the ferries that once crossed Kent Narrows to link Kent Island with the mainland. Signage points out that Kent Island served as a base of operations for the British invaders during the War of 1812 and was fully occupied by up to three thousand British troops in August 1813. The Brits took over the Kent Island-Annapolis Ferry and used the island as a base of operations to conduct raids in the middle Chesapeake Bay. They terrorized the fertile farmlands and raided the wealthy Delmarva plantations, destroying many of them, especially those on Kent Island.

A continuation of the trail uses the Kent Narrows Bridge on Maryland Route 18 and connects with the rest of the American Discovery Trail.

Know before you go 1: There is parking in Terrapin Park, but as I was leaving on a summer Sunday morning (granted, a beautiful, not humid, not as hot as usual Sunday), there were only a few spots left at 10:30. However, at the other end, at the Chesapeake Exploration Center, there is quite a bit of parking.

Know before you go 2: The trail goes through some well-shaded areas, but you’re frequently exposed to full sun, so ensure you put on sunblock.

Getting there: Terrapin Park is located at 191 Cross Island Trail, Stevensville, MD 21666; the Chesapeake Exploration Center is located at 425 Piney Narrows Rd, Chester, MD 21619.
Dogs: Saw lots of them on the trail, all wagging their tails!
Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

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