Patuxent Research Refuge – South Tract
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
The main entrance to Patuxent Research Refuge (South Tract) is located off of Powder Mill Rd. in Laurel. I came here frequently as a kid, took my students here on field trips when I was teaching, and now love bringing my own kids! It is a great place for little ones to hike and see wildlife. We have seen blue herons, frogs and deer when we’ve visited.
All the trails we’ve walked on are flat and great for toddlers! My girls love walking on the floating bridges and running on the fishing pier at Cash Lake. From the visitor center parking lot, we usually start on the Cash Lake trail and take it all the way around to Goose Pond trail and back to the parking lot from there. These pictures are from this route May, October and December of 2020 – it is beautiful in all seasons!
🚽 Bathrooms 🚽: Visitor Center is currently closed to the public, but there are porta- potties in the parking lot.
👩👧👦Solo w/ kids?👩👧👦: Trails are kind of secluded so I prefer to have another adult with me here
🛒 Stroller friendly?🛒: While the natural surface trails are not stroller or wheelchair friendly, there is a paved “loop trail” near the visitor center that is friendly for both!
🦠Covid-safe🦠: these trails can get really busy on the weekends and the bridges are narrow so hard to keep distance, but everyone we passed was masked!
🅿️Parking🅿️: Free huge lot by the visitor center
⏰ Timing: ⏰ Our typical walking route takes us about 1.5-2hrs