The Cross Island Trail is a lovely rail-trail located on Kent Island in Maryland. Running across 6 miles of paved road, you can visit this hiking trail with your pup year-round to get beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay. The Cross Island Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway, which is a series of trails that spans over 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. This trail is especially popular with pet owners, as one of the trailheads is just outside of the Dog Beach at Matapeake Park.
To reach the Cross Island Trail, you can enter the Terrapin National Park, which is home to plenty of local wildlife and plants. You’ll continue up along an old cemetery and groups of hemlocks and pine trees until you reach the first mile-marker, next to Old Love Point Park. Here, you can pop into the dog park or continue on the trail. Around the 3-mile mark, you'll find a charming wooden bridge that offers unhindered views of the bay.
At 5 miles, you and Fido will reach a fork in the road: you can head to the left towards the Chesapeake Exploration Center, or head right and continue onto the last stretch of the trail. At this point, it turns into a series of pathways and sidewalks that lead up to waterfront access points, as well as a few restaurants and boat ramps. Wet your paws or grab a treat at the Jetty's pet-friendly patio. Keep in mind that during holidays and days nice weather, this area can be packed!
If you continue on the trail, at the Kent Narrows stretch, you’ll discover signs pointing you towards the Waterman’s Way Heritage Trail, which converges with the Cross Island Trail at many scenic waypoints towards the eastern end of the trail.
During your adventure with your precious pup, don’t forget to keep them on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Plan ahead before long walks and hikes to ensure that you both remain adequately hydrated throughout the journey.