National Trails & Scenic Byways
Because of St. Mary's County's historical and geographical importance in the wider scheme of American history and culture, the county is part of 3 national trails and one national scenic byway.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH CHESAPEAKE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail traces the routes of Smith's voyages to explore the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries.
See what John Smith Saw
The route includes water routes and land sites in St. Mary's County where visitors can image the world as Smith did over 400 years ago.
STAR-SPANGLED BANNER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
With nearly 560 miles of land and water routes, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. Southern Maryland and St. Mary's County were the first targets for British attack and invasion, so you'll find lots of historic sites and stops on the trail.
Explore the Trail in St. Mary's County
Follow the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail throughout Southern Maryland and beyond. Outdoor kiosks in St. Mary’s County are located on the grounds of the St. Mary’s County Welcome Center in Charlotte Hall and at Tudor Hall in Leonardtown.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY
The Religous Freedom National Scenic Byway, which runs through Charles and St. Mary's Counties, tells the story of the first attempt at implementing the idea of religious freedom in America. Scenic roads lead visitors to natural and cultural spaces relating to our rich religious heritage.
Religious Freedom Began Here
The byway illuminates the story of the first attempt in America to introduce the radical idea of religious toleration and the separation of church and state. With several branches that reach toward the Potomac River, recreational and educational opportunities along the byway intertwine with natural beauty, inspirational stories, and amazing places.
POTOMAC HERITAGE NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL
Explore St. Mary's on sections of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail that run through the county. There are lots of opportunities to hike, cycle, paddle and more.
Upper St. Mary's River Trail: Great Mills Launch to St. Mary's City
This trail allows paddlers to experience the sheltered beauty of the headwaters of the St. Mary's River or the more open waters downriver at St. Mary's City.
Where the Potomac and the Chesapeake Meet: the Beginning of the PHT
The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail begins at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout State Park. This itinerary begins at the Point Lookout Lighthouse, runs through the tidal lowlands of Saint Mary's Peninsula past Maryland's early colonial capital and a Potomac River lighthouse, and on to St. George Island.
St. Mary's Loop
Take a day ride or weekend getaway in St. Mary's County, Md., from Leonardtown to the Piney Point Lighthouse.
Southern Maryland Hike 1: Point Lookout to St. Mary's City
The PHT in Maryland begins where settlement in Maryland began in 1634, at a peninsula that forms the dramatic confluence of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Beginning at the lighthouse on Point Lookout, the trail follows a mile of sandy beach before meandering through the interior of Point Lookout State Park. A short walk from the visitor center, there are views of Cornfield Harbor and Point Lookout Creek, then a jaunt along a Civil War-era railroad bed through quiet marsh. Outside the park, the trail takes to the road for a long, but pleasant road walk to St. Mary's City.
Piney Point Creek Trail: Piney Pt. Lighthouse Museum and Park Loop Trail
The Piney Point Lighthouse, Museum and Historic Park kayak launch is situated in a small protected lagoon that opens into the larger area of Piney Point Creek.