What to do in Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area

Fair Hill is a 5,613-acre Natural Resources Management Area, where multiple management practices are employed for the maximum use and protection of Maryland's natural resources. Bordered by Pennsylvania to the north and less than one half mile west of Delaware, Fair Hill is known for its pristine fields, woodlands and natural beauty.

At one time one of the largest private land holdings in the East, Fair Hill was formerly owned by William duPont, Jr., an avid equestrian who acquired the farmland as a means to enjoying riding as well as fox chasing. Fair Hill was purchased by the state in 1975 from Mr. duPont's estate.

Fair Hill's attractions include the turf course, where steeplechase, timber course and flat races are held with pari-mutuel wagering. A pavilion is situated near the historic, rustic covered bridge where visitors frequently stop for picnic lunches. The fairgrounds host the annual Cecil County Fair where some 80,000 visitors attend the week-long event. An activity hall, with a capacity of 450 people, is located at the fairgrounds. It includes kitchen and restroom facilities, and is available to event planners for meetings, wedding receptions and a variety of events.

Attractions at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management area include an extensive 75-mile trail system of single track and dirt roads offer hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. A trail map is available at the Fair Hill office.

Three equestrian organizations maintain a permanent presence at Fair Hill. Individual horse owners lease more than 53 paddocks and buildings. Events occur year-round, including fox chasing, organized trail rides and steeplechase races.

Over 2,500 anglers are regular users of Fair Hill's diverse fishery resource. The main attraction is 5 miles of Big Elk Creek, which is managed as both a seasonal put-and-take and cool water stream fishery. Up to 10,000 adult brown and rainbow trout are stocked by DNR each spring and fall. Self-sustaining populations of other game fish, including small mouth bass, redbreast sunfish, bluegill and white sucker are also available year-round.

Hunting at Fair Hill is by permit only. A three-month bow season starts September 15 through January 31 on a designated 650 acres. The state's largest managed deer hunt (shotgun) is scheduled annually in January.

Fair Hill is an attractive site for birders. Grassland species such as the bobolink, eastern meadowlark, and the grasshopper sparrow are regular breeders. Bottomland woods hosts forest dwellers, like the uncommon cerulean warbler.

Environmental education programs and Junior Ranger activities are offered at the Fair Hill Nature and Environmental Center. Fair Hill offers primitive camping for recognized youth groups at several areas near Big Elk Creek. A recently constructed visitor center provides a modern indoor facility for events, such as banquets and wedding receptions.

Features at Fair Hill include banquet facilities, multi-use trails, boarding stalls, organized horse rides, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, nature study and primitive camping.

Fair Hill is located in the northeastern corner of the state bordered by Pennsylvania to the north and less than one half mile west of Delaware. The park is off MD State Route 273.

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.

376 Fair Hill Drive
Elkton, MD 21921

Phone: 410-398-1246

  • Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Travel Q&A