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Recreation and Parks - Three Notch Trail

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St. Mary County Department of Recreation & Parks is pleased to announce that the Three Notch Trail project is currently under construction. The trail is being constructed on the County owned railroad right-of-way (ROW), which runs south from Hughesville (in Charles County) to Lexington Park (to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station). The trail is a non-motorized pedestrian and bicycle trail. The trail is being constructed of asphalt and will be 10 feet wide in most sections. Appropriate signage, benches, crosswalks and road barriers are also included where needed to enhance the project. The project is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Three Notch Trail Logo

Three Notch Trail Phase II of the trail begins at the Northern Senior Activity Center and runs about 2.25 miles north to Deborah Drive, in Charles County. This section is also now complete.

Phase III, from Wildewood to Wal-Mart, is being constructed by several private developers in the California area. The Wildewood, South Plaza and Wal-Mart sections are now complete. The County completed construction of Phase IVA, from Wal-Mart to Chancellors Run Road. Phase IVB, from Chancellors Run Road to Pegg Road, will be constructed in the future as part of the FDR Blvd. community road project.

Phase I of the Trail near Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home

Construction is also complete on Phase V, from John V. Baggett Park in Laurel Grove to MD Rt. 5 in Mechanicsville. Phase VI of the trail, from MD Rt. 5 to MD Rt. 236, will be constructed during calendar year 2015. When Phase VI is complete, the northern portions of the trail will run for 11 continuous miles. Phases VII, VIII & IX, from Wildewood to Baggett Park, are planned in future years, as funding permits.

Parking and restrooms along the Charlotte Hall section of the trail can be found at the Northern Senior Center, St. Mary’s County Welcome Center and at the Charlotte Hall Library; parking availability is limited at these locations. Users are encouraged to utilize parking lots at the Gospel Light Baptist Church and at John V. Baggett Park at Laurel Grove whenever possible.

Three notch trail map thumbnail - link to PDF file
The plan for the trail is included in the June 2001 Southern Maryland Regional Trail and Bikeway System (SMRTABS) Study prepared for the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. The 2000 & 2005 St. Mary’s County Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plans also recommend the development of a network of greenways, bikeways, and trails in the County and specifically refer to the Charlotte Hall to Lexington Park trail. The plan for the trail is also consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

Development of the County’s railroad right-of-way into a hiking and biking trail will provide numerous recreational, tourism and transportation opportunities. The trail will also help promote the health and wellness benefits of walking, biking and rollerblading.


Phase II of the Three Notch Trail in Charlotte Hall, MD

Phase II of the Three Notch Trail in Charlotte Hall, MD


  • Motorized vehicles are prohibited.

  • Trail opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.

  • Travel only at speeds which are safe and appropriate to trail conditions and usage.

  • Travel in the right lane; move left to pass; give appropriate warning to trail users ahead; and move off the trail when you come to a stop.

  • Pedestrians have the right of way.

  • Obey the helmet laws.

  • Stop at all road/street crossings.

  • Pets must be on leash and controlled at all times.

  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.

  • No bicycle races or competitive speed training.

  • Please respect private property. Be a courteous user of public lands.



Volunteers are needed for trail upkeep, monitoring and fundraising.  If you are interested in becoming a “Friend of the Three Notch Trail,” please contact Jim Swift at (301) 862-1695.


For more information on the Three Notch Trail project, please contact the Department of Recreation & Parks at (301) 475-4200 ext. 1811.



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