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Upper Eastern Shore Region
Elk Neck State Forest
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717 Irishtown Road
North East, Maryland   21901

Phone: 410-287-5675
Elk Neck State Forest and Park's sandy beaches, marshlands, and heavily wooded bluffs are contained within a peninsula formed by the North East River, Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay. This Chesapeake Bay Gateway site provides excellent trail recreation for hiking and mountain biking throughout more than 2,000 acres of scenic woodlands. An easy walk to the Bay's highest lighthouse, Turkey Point, provides splendid views of the Elk River and the Chesapeake Bay.
History of the Area
Elk Neck State Forest is located in Cecil County, Maryland, and has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Here's a summary of its history:

1. Native American Presence: Prior to European settlement, the Elk Neck Peninsula was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Susquehannocks and the Lenape (also known as Delaware Indians). They utilized the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering resources.

2. European Settlement: In the 1600s, European settlers arrived in the region. Scottish immigrants, led by Alexander and James Mitchell, established a settlement on the peninsula and named it Mitchell's Chance. The settlers primarily conducted tobacco farming and trading with Native Americans.

3. Agricultural Era: Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the Elk Neck Peninsula was predominantly used for agriculture. The fertile soil and access to waterways favored farming activities. However, soil erosion and declining agricultural profitability led to land abandonment in the late 19th century.

4. Conservation Efforts: Recognizing the ecological importance of the area, the State of Maryland initiated efforts to preserve and reforest Elk Neck. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in reforestation and creating recreational facilities.

5. Establishment of Elk Neck State Forest: In 1943, the Elk Neck State Forest was officially established, covering approximately 3,571 acres. It became a popular destination for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting.

6. Elk Restoration: In the early 1900s, elk presence in Maryland was nearly extinct due to overhunting and habitat loss. In efforts to restore the elk population, Elk Neck State Forest became home to reintroduction programs. In 1934, 10 elk were brought from Nebraska, and their descendants now roam freely within the forest.

7. Cultural Significance: Elk Neck State Forest is also home to several historically significant sites. The Turkey Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1833, stands on the forest's coastline, guiding ships along the Chesapeake Bay. Moreover, the forest hosts several Native American archaeological sites, including the Susquehanna Indian Fort, where artifacts and evidence of indigenous settlements have been found.

Elk Neck State Forest not only offers recreational activities and ecological conservation but also serves as a testament to the region's vibrant history and the commitment to preserving its natural heritage.
1. Elk Neck State Park Campground: This campground offers 250 campsites, including cabins and sites with electric hookups for RVs. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets.

2. North East River Area Camping: Located in the northern part of the forest near Chesapeake Bay's shoreline offering primitive camping options.

3. Rogue's Harbor Boat-In Campsites: These are unique boat-in only campsites located on a peninsula between Fishing Creek and Old Town Point Cove providing an adventurous experience to campers who love boating or kayaking.

4. Turkey Point Lighthouse area also has some rustic tent:only walk-in sites available nearby that offer beautiful views over Chesapeake Bay but these do not have any amenities like water or electricity supply.

5. Rogues Harbor Primitive Camping Sites: Accessible by canoe/kayak along scenic trails within the park.

6. Group Youth Tenting Areas: For youth groups such as scouts looking for outdoor adventure activities.
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1. White Banks Trail: This is a 2-mile moderate trail that offers stunning views of the Elk River and Chesapeake Bay. It's known for its white clay cliffs, hence the name "White Banks". The terrain includes forested areas with mixed hardwoods.

2. Beaver Marsh Loop: A relatively easy hike at just under one mile long, this loop takes hikers through wetland habitats where they might spot wildlife such as beavers or waterfowl.

3. Black Hill Trail: An intermediate level hiking path stretching over 4 miles in length; it winds around hills covered by mature oak trees and provides glimpses of local fauna like deer and turkey vultures.

4. Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail: Just about two miles round trip, this popular trail leads to an historic lighthouse offering panoramic views across Chesapeake Bay from atop bluffs rising more than hundred feet above sea level.

5. Rogues Harbor Trails: These trails are located near North East Maryland within Elk Neck State Forest providing beautiful wild flowers along their paths which range between .8 - 6 Miles.

6. Maintenance Meadow Loop: This short but scenic route covers approximately half a mile passing through open meadows before looping back into woodland area.

7. Pond Walkway Path: A very brief walk suitable even for small children,this pathway circles around large pond attracting various bird species making it perfect location for bird watching enthusiasts.

8. South Mauldin Creek Nature Hike: A moderately difficult three-mile trek following South Mauldin creek featuring diverse flora & fauna including several types of ferns,mushrooms,and moss-covered rocks alongside stream bed.

9. North East Beach Picnic Area Paths: The picnic area has multiple smaller walking routes leading towards beachfront allowing visitors chance to enjoy both wooded landscapes & waterfront vistas during same visit.

10. Bay View Butterfly Garden Route: Short stroll starting from butterfly garden filled with native plants designed specifically attract butterflies leading towards bay view area offering stunning views over Chesapeake Bay.

11. Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area Trails: Located on the outskirts of Elk Neck State Forest, this network of trails covers a variety of terrains and difficulty levels across more than 75 miles.

12. Elk River Water Trail: This water-based trail is perfect for those who prefer to explore by kayak or canoe . It stretches approximately six miles along scenic Elk river with several access points from land based hiking routes within forest.

13. Raccoon Run Nature Path: A one-mile loop that takes you through lush greenery where raccoons are commonly spotted hence its name,this path also features informative signs about local wildlife making it educational as well enjoyable hike.

14. Mill Creek Loop: A challenging four mile trek which winds around Mill creek featuring steep climbs & descents but rewards hikers with beautiful vistas overlooking surrounding landscapes.

15. Pond Pine Stroll: This short walk circles large pond surrounded by pine trees providing tranquil setting ideal for leisurely stroll especially during early morning hours when mist often hangs low above water surface creating magical atmosphere.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 12 Family Camping by Joe & Gail Colavita
park review stars; one to five We were introduced to Elk Neck State Park many years ago. Now our 4 children bring their 14 children camping. We miss coming this year because of an accident, we will be back next year.
October 10 by camper
park review stars; one to five The pads are too small and put large tents next to the fire. No adults can use the group sites!
July 8 the best /been camping there for years by yooper52
park review stars; one to five just came back from a week of camping at elk neck and the north east loop of the park. if i have my way next year will be 2 weeks,time was to short and host are outstanding, carol and john you cant get any better then them.
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Area Campgrounds
Buttonwood Beach R.V. Resort
170 Buttonwood Road
Earleville, MD
Woodlands Camping Resort
265 Starkey Lane
Elkton, MD
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Herb's Tackle Shop
203 S Main St
North East, MD
(410) 287-5490

Elk Neck State Forest is located in Cecil County, Maryland. To get there from Baltimore, take I-95 North towards Aberdeen and then merge onto MD-155 East via Exit 85 toward Havre de Grace/Perryville. Continue on MD-155 for about 10 miles until you reach US Route 40 (Pulaski Highway). Turn right onto US Route 40 West and continue for approximately six miles.

Next, turn left onto Landing Lane/MD-222 South and follow this road for around three miles. Then make a slight right to stay on MD-222 South/Landing Lane and continue straight ahead for another four miles until you reach the entrance of Elk Neck State Park.

Once inside the park, drive along Old Elk Neck Road until you see signs directing you to Elk River Beach or Turkey Point Lighthouse area within the state forest-depending on your desired destination within the park.

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Maryland State Parks