Prince Frederick, MD
If you’re like us, you might not have ventured down into Southern Maryland very much. But this Hike & Hop is gonna change that! American Chestnut Land Trust is a huge nature reserve with so many unique trails to explore. Nearby is Mully’s Brewery, Southern Maryland’s first production brewery so they really know their stuff! Grab your hiking boots and let’s go!
THE HIKE: American Chestnut Land Trust – South Trailhead
Elevation Gain: max 500ft
Trail use: Hiking and leashed pets only
Parking: Large parking lot – please sign in when you arrive
American Chestnut Land Trust is a nature reserve run by a not-for-profit of the same name and cares for over 3,500 acres. It’s split into two main sections. The north side trailhead can be accessed at 676 Double Oak Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678 and the South Side is located at 2650 Scientists Cliffs Rd, Port Republic, MD 20676. J and I had visited the south section before and had meant to go to the North side this time but Google Maps had other ideas! We somehow ended up at the South Side trailhead anyway and decided to roll with it. There were two delightful volunteers at the trailhead who gave us advice about which trails to take and how to support the ACLT. Although there’s no fee for the trails, make sure to scan the QR code at the entrance! Visitation numbers help the ACLT get grants to continue to maintain this awesome park.
We chose to do a loop of the southern section which you can see on the map above! I’m not quite sure how long it was (forgot to put on my tracker that day!) but if you’re more of an AllTrails person, you can do this hike: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/maryland/south-side-trail-system. I dunno if you guys know it but Maryland summers are HOT. The heat and humidity was oppressive during our hike but thankfully the greenery shielded us from the sun. As with most hikes, make sure to load up on the bug spray and be prepared to fend off gnats and midges.
I really liked this hike because it was so peaceful. We never saw a single other person on the trail. We really turned this into a nature by testing our tree knowledge and searching for mushrooms. Sometimes I really like a hard hike and testing my limits and other days I love just wandering in the woods! J is so fascinated by nature and it never ceases to warm my heart how excited he gets over a huge tree or a tiny mushroom. The East Loop was definitely my favorite part of this hike because it followed a meandering little creek that had cut deeply into the ground, leaving really interesting patterns in the mud. BUT my absolute favorite part was [drumroll please] the Pawpaw trees!! There was an entire grove of pawpaw trees with so much fruit! It was too early to pick them yet so we just took lots of pictures but it made me so excited to see this many! I’ve been fascinated by pawpaws ever since I first heard about them and I finally got to try one a few years ago. I’ve been hoping to get my hands on some again! I think I might be coming back here later in September!
My only complaint about this hike was that a small section was confusing at the end of the East Loop because you had to cross over a road and the trail was nearly invisible. Thankfully once we crossed the road, it was clear where we needed to go!
THE BEER: Mully’s Brewery
Address: 141 Schooner Ln, Prince Frederick, MD 20678
Distance from Trail Head: 9.7 miles, 15 mins
Food?: Food Trucks, check online for schedule
H&H Rating: 4/5
I love exploring new areas in Maryland but sometimes finding a good Hikes & Hops combo can be hard when there’s not too many breweries outside of the main metro areas. Thank goodness for Mully’s Brewery! Mully’s is a small brewery in Prince Frederick and according to the Brewer’s Association of Maryland it was the first production brewery in South Maryland. It’s got a pretty small indoor space so both times that we’ve been we’ve found spots outside. Mully’s is a really popular local spot so you might have trouble finding space. Thankfully, people are always friendly and have been more than happy to share a table.
Mully’s has a really unique line up of beer. Both times we’ve been, there’s been something really interesting or different on tap, as well as some old standbys. Our favorites this time were the Blackout IPA and Mully’s headliner IPA. Yup we’re shameless IPA people. Also if you’re a fan of sours, they had a ton on tap!
Mully’s is a bit of a drive down into Southern Maryland but if you’re looking for good beer and a fun atmosphere, you can’t miss it! They often have food trucks and music on the weekends. My only complaint is that their tent and tables are set up in a parking lot so people are often driving rather too close for comfort
- Carmelite Wheat – Hefeweizen – 5.4%
- Mully’s IPA – American IPA – 6.3%
- Blackout – Black IPA – 7.3%
- Papa Juice – Blonde Ale – 4.9%
SUM UP: American Chestnut Land Trust is a park that spans nearly 3,500 acres along the Chesapeake Bay near Prince Frederick. There is a North and South section both with many miles of trail. They are open for hiking and leashed pets and there’s no entry fee but they do ask for you to sign in so visitation can be tracked. Combine several different trails together to get a nice long hike. Afterward, go to Mully’s Brewery which is only about 10 miles away in an industrial park. They make unique beers but claim your spot early; the weekends get busy! Check their website for music and food truck schedules.