What to do in Cedarville State Forest

The Piscataway Indian Tribe made this section of Southern Maryland its winter camping ground because of the mild climate and abundance of game. Legend says there is an Indian Burial ground in Cedarville, but to date is has not been located. The headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp are located in Cedarville. The swamp extends Southward through Charles County for 20 miles, emptying into the Wicomico River. The Swamp is one mile wide, and serves as a haven for wildlife. The surrounding land is mostly agricultural fields. In colonial times and there after efforts were made to drain the swamp for cultivation. Drainage ditches are still evident. To this day, the swamp remains wooded bottomland.

In 1930, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest, Park and Wildlife Service purchased 2,631 acres of land for a forest demonstration area. Later 879 more acres were added to bring the total to 3,510 acres. Cedarville was the postal address for the area, hence the name given to the State Forest. In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps, under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, developed roads and trails for fire protection and future access for the development of the area.

Cedarville State Forest provides protective habitat for numerous species of birds and animals while providing a historic recreation site for outdoor enthusiasts. There are 14 miles of marked trails open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. They wind past the loblolly pine plantations planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, by a charcoal kiln, and through farm areas where springs and streams were used to make "moonshine." Trails may be wet at times. In the designated hunting areas, visitors using sections of trails during hunting season should wear bright orange.

Individual campsites and a youth camping area is offered. Youth groups must make advance reservations by calling 1-800-784-5380. The family-style campground is available from March 31 to December 3. Registration is both reservable and first-come, first-served. Call Maryland's Camp, Cabin and Picnic Pavilion Reservation number at 1-888-432-2267.

Picnic tables and grills are available along Cedar Forest Road. Two pavilions with fireplaces are available for large group rentals. Advance reservations are required for the pavilions.

A four-acre pond stocked with bluegill, catfish, and bass is open for bank fishing only. A Maryland Non-Tidal fishing license is required for persons 16 years and older.

Hunters should contact the Forest Office for details about the designated hunting grounds. The Maryland Hunter's Guide provides information on required licenses and seasons, as well as rules and regulations.

Cedarville State Forest offers an accessible day use shelter and day use comfort stations.

Reservable campsites, biking and hiking trails, equestrian trials, a self-guided nature trail, fishing waters, hunting grounds and a picnic area are available at the 3,510-acre state forest.

Cedar State Forest is located in Southern Maryland about 25 miles south of Washington, D.C. You may reach the area by traveling U.S. Highway 301 to Cedarville Road to Cedar Forest Road.

Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

10201 Bee Oak Road
Brandywine, MD 20613

Phone: 301-888-1410

  • Cedarville State Forest Travel Q&A