Jug Bay Natural Area Trail


  • Boat Ramp
  • Boat Tours
  • Camping
  • Canoe Rentals
  • Canoe/Kayak Launch Area
  • Fishing
  • Horseback Riding Trails
  • Kayak Rentals
  • Observation Tower
  • Pavilion
  • Picnic Areas
  • Restrooms
  • Trails


Jug Bay Natural Area is the headquarters for the Patuxent River Park, the largest freshwater tidal wetland in Maryland. Our amenities will give you a truly unique outdoor experience. 


14 miles of scenic woodland trails for hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. The park offers a wide range of amenities for the public including:
  • Guided trips
  • Daily canoe and kayak rentals
  • The park provides facilities for camping and picnics 
  • 2 fishing areas at Jug Bay that offer good tidal fishing year-round
  • 2 standard boat ramps, but no overnight tie-ups or fuel facilities
  • Waterfowl hunting permitted in designated areas
  • A limited number of blind sites along the river are leased on a seasonal basis
  • Educational programs
  • American Indian Village
  • Patuxent Rural Life Museums


The park is home to the Patuxent Rural Life Museums. This collection of late 19th century and early 20th century buildings tells the story of life in southern Maryland. Visitors can also enjoy the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Tour, a four-mile roadway that connects the park with Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.

Education Programs

Environmental education programs are available on a seasonal basis. River ecology tours aboard a pontoon boat feature the river's wetlands, wildlife, and history. Boardwalks provide easy access to Black Walnut Creek Nature Study Area. Guided nature hikes led by naturalists explore the bio-diverse communities of the river. In addition, programs and events for all ages are offered. A reservation is required for most activities. 

About Jug Bay Natural Area

M-NCPPC works cooperatively with federal, state and local agencies, and conservation organizations to ensure the Patuxent River remains one of Maryland's premiere river greenways. Jug Bay Natural Area is a component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland, a nationwide network of diverse coastal estuaries that serve as laboratories for scientific research, education and monitoring. The park is also a site on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a partnership of parks, refuges, museums, historical communities, and trails where visitors can experience and learn about the Chesapeake Bay. Jug Bay has been designated an "Important Birding Area" by the National Audubon Society.