1/18/14: Patuxent North Tract

posted Jan 17, 2014, 8:47 AM by Erik Thiele Orberg   [ updated Jan 17, 2014, 9:10 AM ]

This Saturday we're heading out to the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge North Tract. This is an old military base turned wildlife refuge, and boasts a great route that is partly sunny, partly shady on a traffic-free paved road.


We're meeting at 8:00. Once you arrive, drive up to the visitor station and register for free access to the refuge. Make sure you follow directions to the North Track visitor center, and not the National Wildlife Visitor Center.

View Larger Map

Driving directions from Baltimore: Take Baltimore/Washington Parkway (Route 295) south and take the MD Route 198 exit toward Fort Meade/Laurel. Then turn left on to Route 198 heading east and travel about 2 miles. Then turn right onto Bald Eagle Drive (at the ball fields) and travel 1 mile to the North Tract Visitor Contact Station.


Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun

Here's a link to the official park map with more accurate mile marks: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/patuxent/FTP/NorthTractTrailsMapRevised08-25-2008.pdf


  • Run on the wildlife loop as far as it goes. Turn around when you hit the fence, after approx. 6.5 mi. Run back to the start to complete 12-13 mi then continue on to Lake Allen for an extra 4-5 mi round-trip for a total of 16ish miles.


  • Follow the wildlife loop but your turn-around might be a bit more difficult to find. For the first 3 Miles, you'll be running out in the sun. Once entering the shade - when running through the forest - your turnaround will be at the top of a long uphill, recognizable by sharp turn to the right immediately after. Return to the start for a 9 mi round-trip.


  • It's going to be cold but sunny. Dress in layers and bring extra for when you get back to the car so you can warm-up quickly.
  • There's water at the visitor station, and in addition I suggest carrying your own bottle to prevent the urge to drink from the Little Patuxent River at Mi 6.
  • Don't bring your running camouflage! Wear something bright instead - it's hunting season after all :)
  • There's hunting in the winter, so don't wander about outside of the (paved) Wildlife Loop.
  • Don't skimp on electrolytes. Salt tabs, Gatorade or GU will do just fine, but don't exclusively hydrate on pure water.
  • Remember to sign-up for carpooling, whether you need or are offering a ride.