Columbia Air Center Loop Hike through Patuxent River Park

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Jug Bay Natural Area

Columbia Air Center Loop Hike through Patuxent River Park is a 4.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Upper Marlboro, Maryland that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length4.2 miElevation gain173 ftRoute typeLoop
kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningDog friendlyForestViewswild-flowersWildlifeHistoric site
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As of Spring 2020, the Jug Bay Natural Area will be doing renovations on several trails. More information can be found here: http://www.pgparks.com/3186/Jug-Bay-Natural-Area Aviation history, tons of trails, artifacts. One of the first African-American-Owned airfields "Columbia Air Center" operated here during and after WW 2--and participating in the Civil Air Patrol--training other pilots. What you'll see on this hike is history signs with photos and a memorial to these great pioneers in aviation history. Starting at the memorial, head up the road, then get a bit dirty as you go to the offroad trail section. The offroad trail section can be made into a larger loop by combining other trails as necessary. You will encounter multiple artifacts including a J-3 Cub partial airframe, mixer assembly, and other assorted things that have absolutely no value and cannot be taken away easily. All artifacts here are protected by the state and are illegal to remove. that being said, they have no value and have lots of rust on them. The single airframe has been picked clean by their owners long ago (as the legend tells us online). After the artifacts trail, you venture around the airfield towards Patuxent river. At Patuxent river, you can have a packed lunch at the Gazebo, or continue on the easy to walk on road. The road takes you to the camping area and then back to the parking lot. These true pioneers in aviation history leave a plethora of memories celebrated in this section of Patuxent River Park--and their dedication and love of aviation can clearly be seen in the memorial photos and history presentation.

-pack a lunch to eat at the Gazebo by the Patuxent river on the far side of the airfield -combine other trails to form larger loop hikes -explore other areas of the park -do not take any artifacts, it is illegal and they aren't worth anything!! -hiking poles could be used for muddy offroad artifacts section of trail

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Reviews (93)
Photos (182)
Recordings (87)
Completed (138)
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Sophia Ravenel
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Hiking
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Ellie D
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Christine Chairs
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Sydney Reed
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Hiking

.Trail was nice and plenty of space

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David Kay
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Hiking

The map on this website is totally out of date. The red trail is detoured due to passage through a mucky wet area. However, the area is great for walking in the winter.

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Derek Shields
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Hiking

Worth the visit, lovely day. Some mud but only impacts the red trail. Plenty of options to spend 2-3 hours in the woods.

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Alicia Gomez
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Hiking

Pretty! But def just a walk in the woods, not a moderate trail

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Patricio Piedra
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Steven Sorrell
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Hiking

when you get to red, follow the detour on the right. the red is flooded about halfway through. cut short because of my lil guys.

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Michelle Lacombe
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Hiking

Red trail has been rerouted but the park maps have not been updated to reflect this. Follow the arrows on the white posts, not the blazes on the trees.

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Sarah Masoom
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Hiking

most of the trail is very easy, only the blue and yellow trails become moderate. it's very pretty and you have some views of the water. please note that much of the red trail right now is quite muddy.

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Daniel Bae
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RunningGreat!Muddy

Great loop for jogging and not crowded at all. Went around 1 pm on a Saturday and only saw about 5 people through the entire loop. Parking was easy as well. Beginning of the loop was quite overgrown and some parts were quite muddy. Felt like running through a wild forest at some points, but I enjoyed it, especially with the leaves falling. Latter half of the loop is well paved and opens up to a nice flat plain.

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Matthew Shumate
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Nichelle French
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Kate Mulligan
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Hiking

Part of the trail was closed and I had to turn around.

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Melissa Gibson
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Hiking

Nice, peaceful trail with interesting information along the way. Beautiful views of the water and greenery. The american indian park was really cool. The only downside was that it's very easy to get off path as the signs are a bit confusing. We got in a few more miles than expected due to backtracking but it was not bad!

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Sally Maier
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Walking

Muddy in places—detour on the red trail, but ends up back on the main route. Nice variety, paved stretches, grassy areas, wooded areas, some scrambles.

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kenneth brown
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Hiking

Really nice trail for family.

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Wendell Pierson
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HikingBugsMuddyOver grown

This is a decent trail. A little overgrown in some areas and can be muddy. Fairly easy but there are a couple of rock scrambles. Make sure that you use your gps app because it is fairly easy to Go the wrong way. Nice for dogs.

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Christian Valencia
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HikingBugsMuddy

Ufff

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Dave Linthicum
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Hiking

Main park entrance road (Jackson Landing, Visitor Center, Rural Life Museums, trailhead) open to vehicles again July 1, 2020.

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Travis Westgate
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Hiking

I knew I should have taken that right turn at Albuquerque! Kinda got off track from the app but put in an extra 2 miles. I got distracted from what seemed like forever on a hardball, wasn’t a fan. Overall very cool hike. I’m liking my new hobby more after every trail.

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Dave Linthicum
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Hiking

No, this and all trails in this park have been and remain open during the COVID-19 period. In late March, a closure of the entrance road for the closed Visitor Ctr.-Jackson Ldg. area was instituted, but parking at end of Croom Airport Rd. is actually on this loop, quite convenient. All that is closed (for construction) is the short 0.6 mile Red Trail segment just northeast of the Yellow Trail, as of May 2020. More information can be found here: http://www.pgparks.com/3186/Jug-Bay-Natural-Area

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Dan Stock
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Hiking

Not bad overall. Overlook on the end of the green trail not too great in the summer months.

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Kevin Anderson
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Hiking

This trail is currently closed for renovation so I had to come up with an alternative course.

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J Gurley
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Hiking

Great hike today, muddy in sections but manageable. Did 8.5 miles, left no ground untouched. Enjoy photos!

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