On Friday, April 14th, I took a drive to Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area for a biking adventure. Our family has walked a few trails here over the years, but today was my first solo visit for some mountain biking.
There are several trails to pick from, and aside from the gravel roads, the trails are either grass or dirt. While today was dry, I can see how rain and wet trails would make a biking trip nearly impossible, or if it is attempted, a torturous effort… so my advice is to wait a few days after it rains to bike this natural area. That said, the grass trails did make it a challenging ride. The grass trails are slow and will make you work hard, and then afterwards the gravel road will give you speed. The 9.26 miles took about an hour at a good pace. I parked at the second parking area as you drive in (or the third if you count hunter check-in lot) and took the asphalt road down to the head of Dividing Creek Trail, which is basically all grass. After that, I traveled the gravel road to grassy Holly Tree Trail… and then on to the gravel road again to Ferry Point Landing Trail. After arriving at the beach, I turned around and took the gravel road straight back to my Jeep. It would be easy to add-on more miles with more trails for a longer ride.
History of Wye Island
For over 300 years, Wye Island was privately owned and managed for agricultural use, including tobacco and wheat farming. Two of the most noteworthy owners were William Paca and John Beale Bordley. Both men inherited their parts of the island through their wives, daughters of Samuel Chew. Mr. Paca, third governor of Maryland and one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, owned half of the island north of Dividing Creek. Mr. Bordley, a distinguished lawyer and jurist, owned the island’s southern half. In the 1770s, Mr. Bordley gave up his law career to devote his life to farming, experimenting, and writing. Fields once devoted to tobacco now produced abundant wheat. Bordley strove to make Wye Island totally self-sufficient. Orchards and a vineyard were planted; blacksmith and carpentry shops were built, as were looms, a large windmill, and even a brewery. Source: MD DNR
Just outside of Wye Island are the historic fields of the private Wye Plantation (not to be confused with Wye House, which is another private location). The University of Maryland’s Agriculture Program for Angus Cattle is along the road to Wye Island as well.
This part of the Eastern Shore has many attractions, including convenient nearby restaurants on Kent Island and Kent Narrows and the Queenstown Premium Outlets. A trip to Wye Island NRMA can be a fun trip for the whole family in addition to a recreational adventure. The management area also has spots for picnics, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. During fall and winter, this is a popular area for hunting.