Today's stop takes us right across the Chesapeake Bay onto Kent Island, which offers over a dozen miles of paved and soft-surface trails. The Cross Island Trail runs from east to west across the island, beginning at Terrapin Nature Park on the shores of the bay and continuing all the way to Kent Narrows (although construction is ongoing to continue the trail a bit further east to Grasonville). The trail, unlike the first three we have featured so far, is paved throughout, and largely devoid of hills. You can find more information from the official Queen Anne's County website.
On the far eastern end of the island is the Terrapin Nature Park, which features soft-surface trails and small public beaches. Kent Island actually also features another trail, the South Island Trail, which runs north to south from Matapeake State Park (just south of Route 50) to Romancoke near the southern tip of the island. Today, however, we focus mostly on the Cross Island Trail, with a short venture into the park.
The closest and largest parking lot to the Bay Bridge is Old Love Point Park next to Kent Island High School. The park features several amenities, such as water fountains and bathrooms (though they may not be available due to the current public health crisis). From there the trail shoots due east toward Kent Narrows, crossing both a few residential roads and some bridges over smaller creeks that feed into the bay.
The Cross Island trail also features markers at every half mile to help you keep track of your total distance. Before you hit Kent Narrows, you momentarily depart from the side of Piney Creek Road and wind your way through a grove of Loblolly pines you find in the low-lying areas around the Chesapeake Bay and throughout the eastern shore.
At Kent Narrows, you can either go left to the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center or right to the Kent Narrows Drawbridge and the continuation of the future continuation of the trail. Photos of each can be found at the end of the article!
An out and back, starting at Old Love Point Park and travelling just across the drawbridge to the end of the trail, will get you between seven and eight miles, and possibly more if you take a detour to the Chesapeake Heritage Center (highly recommended if looking for a bathroom break or an interesting history lesson). Back at Old Love Point Park, the trail continues west, cutting straight through the campus of Kent Island High School and crossing Route 8 toward Terrapin Nature Park.
Once in the park, the paved surfaces of the Cross Island Trail gives way to some softer surfaces, including grass, gravel and even some sand.
The path makes a loop around the southern end of the park, perfect for ending your run next to one of the small beaches that line the Chesapeake Bay.
Overall, the relatively flat and straight nature of the Cross Island Trail, while not terribly long, make it perfect for just about any kind of recovery run or harder, up-tempo effort. The neighboring Terrapin Nature Park is a perfect place to log some softer miles, take in some of the scenery and fresh air blowing off the bay and maybe even relax on the beach on a warm summer afternoon. Being just on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, it's also likely a lot closer to you than you think.
If you have a recommendation for a place to be featured in the coming weeks, let us know!
More Pictures from the Cross Island and Terrapin Nature trails
The Cross Island and Terrapin Nature trails intersect within the park; the mileage for the Cross Island Trail begins here.
Got intervals in mind, or just need some softer surfaces to round out the mileage? Old Love Point Park, directly across the street from Kent Island High School, offers not only parking and facilities, but large grass and soccer fields as well.
Crossing the Kent Narrows Drawbridge, which leads to the far eastern end of the Cross Island Trail (still under construction). The second view is looking south across Prospect Bay.
The Chesapeake Heritage Center, located next to the Kent Narrows Yacht Haven and just north of the drawbridge, is an enticing attraction for history buffs, those needing a bathroom break and everyone in between. It's also a nice place to end a run if you opt to start your run at the eastern end of the trail.
All signs point to the small public beach at Terrapin Nature Park.