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Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is one of the northernmost stands of bald cypress trees. These unusual conifers shed their feathery leaves in the fall. In winter, their gray, shreddy bark distinguishes bald cypress from other deciduous trees. A small, wooden boardwalk snakes around these relics of the past. Distinctive, knobby cypress "knees" emerge from the water near the boardwalk.
On spring mornings, visitors are serenaded by birds such as the golden-colored Prothonotary warbler and the ground-foraging Louisiana waterthrush. In late summer, visitors can enjoy splashes of color provided by cardinal-flower and the threatened red turtlehead (Chelone obliqua). In the evening, one may also hear the quick trill of the arboreal gray treefrog. Visitors can enjoy several hiking trails that lead through the property.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp encompasses about 100 acres of cypress swamp and surrounding upland woods. It was purchased in 1977 by The Nature Conservancy and is currently leased and operated by Calvert County Parks and Recreation. The special habitat at Battle Creek was recognized as a National Natural Landmark in 1965.
Memorial Day (May)-Labor Day (September):
Labor Day (September)-Memorial Day (May):
Closed most county holidays.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Admission is free.
On your walk, through the cypress swamp, examine the intricate beauty of seasonal wildflowers or just gaze up at the inspiring 100-foot canopy of cypress trees that can reach an age of over 1,000 years.
Inside the nature center, you can explore more closely the mysteries of the swamp through exhibits that focus on the natural and cultural heritage of the area. There are even a number of live animal displays, including an albino turtle and a working bee hive.
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary makes an ideal day trip for the young and old alike.
The Calvert County Natural Resources Division provides a variety of educational programs and outdoor activities throughout the year. Organized groups require advance reservations. Programs can be planned by the staff to meet the needs of each group. For information and reservations, call 410-535-5327.
Bald cypress is typically a sub-tropical tree of blackwater swamps and cypress domes in the southeast. Prior to the last Ice Age, when mammoths roamed the State, bald cypress was more widely distributed. An ancient bald cypress trunk was unearthed during construction of the M & T Stadium in Baltimore. Scientists believe that as the climate warmed, bald cypress re-established at Battle Creek. Individual cypress trees can live for over 1,500 years, and a stroll down the boardwalk recalls a distant era when crocodiles and giant white sharks stalked our shores.