The Cross Island Trail traverses Kent Island, the largest of the Chesapeake Bay islands. This paved biking and walking route takes travelers from the open Bay to the west, through the historic district of Stevensville, past significant wetlands to the Kent Narrows Waterfront Village District. This is a great route for a family outing.
Begin at Terrapin Nature Park, a parcel of protected land for birds and native plant life. Just past the nature area, to the left of the trail, is an old graveyard with fewer than a dozen cracked and weathered headstones tucked among the trees. If you can spot it, it's worth a peak. From here, the trail quickly winds through neighborhoods and stands of white pines and hemlocks. At the first mile marker, you come to Old Love Point Park, a recreation area with baseball and soccer fields.
Continuing along, the trail passes through farm fields, and you'll be able to see a lighthouse in the distance that indicates how close you really are to the seashore. At mile 3.8, you will have to do a short back-road jog to reconnect with the trail, but a blue-painted bike lane makes this a simple transition. Back on the path, you'll come to a long wooden bridge that provides the first unhindered view of the water. This lovely expanse is a gem on the Cross Island Trail.
Before reaching the marina in Kent Narrows, you must head uphill to cross over the causeway on the parallel US 50, where there is an extremely wide shoulder. At the marina, you have a choice: head left to Chesapeake Exploration Center or right to continue along the trail. Here, the trail becomes a series of sidewalks and access points to the waterfront and its restaurants and boat slips.
The trail is open year around.
(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.)
There is no fee for using the trail.
The trail was built during the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the full trail being completed in 2001. The trail serves as part of the American Discovery Trail.
The paved Cross Island Trail is perfect for biking with the whole family. The trail takes you through wetlands and historic districts, so be sure to stop and take in the sights.
As you travel along the trail between Terrapin Park on the west shore of Kent Island to Kent Narrows on the east, you can see important aspects of the development of Kent Island from the early 19th century to the early 20th century, especially settlement, commerce, and transportation. Passing through Stevensville, three sites are readily accessible from the trail via the city streets of Stevensville: Cray House (ca. 1820), a rare example of "post and plank" construction; the 1902 Stevensville Train Depot; and the pre-1877 structure that once served as the town's post office, and is now headquarters of the Kent Island Heritage Society.
From Stevensville east the trail crosses the marshes of Macum and Piney Creeks connecting to the Chesapeake Exploration Center. Stop by the center to pick up information on events in Stevensville and Kent Narrows, and brochures on historic sites and natural sites you may see along the developing trail.
Bicycle racks and benches are available the eastern and western ends of the trail. Many visitor services are available in nearby communities.
The trail is wheel chair accessible.