On a gorgeous day in June, I decided it was time to visit Tuckahoe State Park for the first time. I’ve seen the signs while driving on the Eastern Shore but have never had the opportunity to explore this park. It wasn’t until I drove up to Adkins Arboretum to pick up some plants I had purchased through their annual native plant sale that I realized the two were right next to each other. Since then, it’s been in the back of my mind that I needed to explore these two outdoor spaces.
The night before I made the short, 25 minute drive from Easton up to the park, I took a moment to download the trail map for Tuckahoe State Park. Knowing that I didn’t want to hike 10 miles and that I did want to see the lake and pass through some of the Adkins trails, I decided to park at the State Park Office, just south of Adkins Arboretum, along Eveland Road.
It felt a little strange parking here because all the signage was for hunting and the small parking lot was empty, except for a couple of park vehicles. However, the office is open to the public and there was a port-a-potty out front. In addition, as I walked behind the park office to get to the trail, I came across the raptor cages, which I hadn’t realized were at this location.
An American Kestral, Barred Owl, and Great Horned Owl were all resting in their respective enclosures. I wasn’t able to get a good picture through the fencing making up the enclosures but it was neat to see these beautiful animals. They are used by the park for a variety of educational programs, which can be done at the park, or offsite, similar to our Fishmobile program.
Once past the raptors, there’s a small stretch of trail that is in the open and lined with wildflowers and pollinators.
This was short lived though and I soon entered the wooded area that I would remain in until I reached the other end of the park, where Tuckahoe Lake is located. Due to the low humidity that day, along with the beautiful, clear streams, and dark forest understory (i.e. ferns, lots of ferns), certain parts of the trail looked more like my home state of Oregon than they did the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
The hike was generally easy, with a few gentle hills, some areas that required careful footing due to roots, numerous bridges over running water, and a variety of walking surfaces, mostly gravel and dirt. It took about an hour to get up to the lake as I made frequent stops to take pictures and had to backtrack a couple of times before finding the correct path. Along the way, I passed a single pair of mountain bikers – the trail was otherwise completely empty, which felt strange on such a mild day. On the return trip, I passed a couple more people but the trails were still very quiet. In fact, I came across more frogs than people!
Once I reached the lake, I was greeted by a gorgeous view and a wide range of amenities. At the lake, there was plenty of space to have a picnic, a huge playground, a sand volleyball court, shoreline access for fishing, kayak and canoe rentals, a bike repair station, and more. It looked like an amazing place to bring the family or get together with friends. The best part is that it’s free to use the park as there is no day use fee. Instead, park fees are for the campsites, cabins, shelter, and using the boat ramp. Cabins and campsites were available beginning March 25th and can be reserved through October 31st.
Now that I’ve been and had a chance to explore, I’m excited to return to Tuckahoe State Park. There are a few more trails to explore and the lake looks like a great fishing spot. I haven’t done much biking since high school but if I had a bike, I’d definitely want to hit the trails at Tuckahoe! Many of the trails are equestrian friendly as well, so regardless of your preferred mode of transportation, you can get out and explore!