Patuxent Research Refuge – South Tract / Visitor Center
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
Wildlife Refuge: Birding, Fish, Hike, Picnic, Walk, Wildlife
Established in 1936 by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation’s only National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research. With land surrounding the Patuxent and Little Patuxent Rivers between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, the Refuge has grown from the original 2,670 acres to its present size of over 12,800 acres and encompasses land formerly managed by the Departments of Agriculture and Defense. Throughout decades of change, Patuxent’s mission of conserving and protecting the nation’s wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques has remained virtually unchanged. The refuge is closed on federal holidays. Patuxent Research Refuge has two entrances to areas open to the public – North Tract and South Tract. On South Tract, approximately 5 miles of trails provide hiking opportunities. Trails and the seasonal tram tours highlight wildlife habitat and management practices. The National Wildlife Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird studies, habitats, endangered species, and more. Check website for current information on closures and hours.