The headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp are located in Cedarville, extending south through Charles County for 20 miles, eventually emptying into the Wicomico River. One mile wide, the swamp is a haven for wildlife. In colonial times and thereafter, efforts were made to drain the swamp for cultivation, and the drainage ditches are still evident in some places. To this day, the swamp remains wooded bottom land.
In 1930, the Maryland purchased 2,631 acres of land for a forest demonstration area. Additional purchases enlarged the area.
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 State Forest, but to date it has not been found.
There are 19.5 miles of marked trails. The trails 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. This is both a dog friendly and kid friendly hike (no really strenuous hills, lots of little things at their level to see, like mushrooms and creeks).
On a warm fall day, we went on an easy hike through deep, shady forest along the banks of meandering creeks. The creeks we encountered throughout our hike were drowsy, suffering from a late-summer mini-drought. Still, there were still lush ferns and lots of greenery, including what turned out to be the star of our hike: mushrooms, some thirty different varieties.
I tried to photograph every one!
During a hike in Cedarville Forest, you are more likely to hear a breeze in the trees than noise from vehicles or the sound of water rushing along a creekbed, despite all the creeks. It is a good setting for a tranquil hike!
Getting there: 10201 Bee Oak Rd, Brandywine, MD 20613
Hours: Sunrise to sunset