by Katherine O. Rizzo (first published in the August 2023 Equiery)
Tuckahoe State Park is located along the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline and Queen Anne’s counties. The 4,000-acre park includes 48-miles of multi-use trails as well as the Adkins Arboretum, camping amenities, disc golf course and a 60-acre man-made lake used for fishing, swimming and boating. The lake had originally been planned as a 300 acre lake, but the size was reduced when a national champion Overcup Oak tree was discovered in the area to be flooded.
The park is under the Atlantic flyway, used by over 500 million birds a year as they migrate between their breeding grounds on the North American continent to their wintering areas in South America, western Europe, and northern Africa. In addition, the National Audubon Society recognizes Tuckahoe as an Important Bird Area because it is home to a high number of forest interior dwelling birds.
The trails offer a variety of scenery including woods, streams, marshlands and open fields. The trails are gentle grades with the occasional steep but short climbs. Tuckahoe Creek, bordered for most of its length by wooded marshlands, runs the length of the park. The creek takes its name from an edible plant found along its banks. Indigenous peoples buried the roots in the ground under a fire to produce flour, and the berries were boiled to produce a delicacy that tasted somewhat like chocolate. The creek valley was part of the Underground Railroad followed by enslaved people escaping to the north.
The park is also part of the American Discovery Trail system, which is a network of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails that run across the mid-tier of the country, from Cape Henlopen in Delaware to Limantour Beach in California.
The park is run by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and was founded in 1963 when the state began land acquisitions in the area. The first facilities were opened to the public in 1975. Horseback riders can access the trail systems from the Tuckahoe Equestrian Center, which is in the Queen Anne’s County section of the park, as well as other from parking lots within the park. Membership is required to camp at the Tuckahoe Equestrian Center and to use the club’s arenas and jousting area. The equestrian center’s Rough Riders help maintain the park’s equestrian trails.
To read more about the history of the Tuckahoe Equestrian Center, read “Tuckahoe’s Trail Ambassadors” on equiery.com.