Pemberton Park Nature Trail System
Pemberton Historical Park, is comprised of 262 acres of forest, field and wetland habitats in Wicomico County, Maryland. Pemberton Historical Park boasts 4.5 miles of Maryland nature trails that lead visitors through a variety of surroundings. Hikers will encounter ecosystems and their natural complement of plants and animals indigenous to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Take a moment to look out over large expanses of tidal wetlands and the Wicomico River at one of the many overlooks or walk through a meadow with the types of wildflowers that sprinkled the grounds when Isaac Handy called Pemberton Plantation home. Enjoy the quiet of a pine forest or visit the Wicomico River's Mulberry Landing where Handy loaded wheat and tobacco onto ships bound for the Bahamas and England. All the while, carefully listen for the sounds of a Red Eyed Vireo, frogs and the sound of painted turtles as they slip off of basking spots into the river. Whatever trail you choose, you’re sure to experience many of nature's secrets.
Nature Trail Guides
Pick up a trail guide in the Welcome Area which outlines each loop of the trail, describes its major ecosystems, and denotes any significant features that may be found along the way.
(.5 miles - 20 minutes walking time)
The Historic Trail is the only linear trail of the system. A casual stroll down the trail that fronts the water will take you to the narrows of a tidal gut where Bell Island is closest to the mainland. A dam and causeway once bridged the space between the island and mainland. The impounded waters may have provided ice for the ice house the Handy’s once used. Trail crosses the road and meanders to the Heritage Garden behind the hall.
(1.1 miles - 35 minutes of walking time)
Notice the soft forest floor comprised of loblolly pine needles as you enter into an upland pine forest. One of the most peaceful trails in the Pemberton Park, the area encourages you to slow your place and open your senses to the cathedral-like feeling created by the towering trees. Use Handy Trail to return to the main kiosk.
(1.0 mile - 30 minutes walking time)
You'll pass a meadow where wildflowers offer a display of spectacular summer color. Wander past a freshwater pond, hearing hundreds of frogs during the spring and summer months. A peak around the corner toward the power lines reveals an active bee apiary.
Wetland Walk (via Handy Hall Trail)
(.2 miles - 5 minutes walking time)
Be sure to take time to visit the scenic overlooks off this trail. With binoculars, you ay even catch a glimpse of a Great Blue heron rookery which is being built in the grove of trees across the water.
Handy Hall Trail
(.7 miles - 20 minutes walking time)
A leisurely walk through upland forests, leads to the site of the "old" bald eagle's nest. After nearly a decade on the perimeter of the Pemberton Park's property, development nudged our resident bald eagle to another site. With a spotting scope, you may be able to catch a glimpse of its new home.
Bell Island Trail
(1.2 miles - 45 minutes walking time)
Visit this 3-acre parcel where the Handy's cattle once grazed while viewing swamp, marsh and forest areas. Actually a peninsula, not an island, this trail hosts Atlantic White Cedar, Southern Red Oak, and American Holly - to name a few.
(.3 miles - 15 minutes walking time)
Heading toward the eastern boundary of the Park property, you'll encounter a tidal marsh of the Wicomico River and see remnants of a great stand of Chestnut blight in the 1920s and 30s. Today, oak and hickories make up the forest type.