Columbia Air Center | Hike

275

November 27, 2020

The Columbia Air Center Monument

After being in the house all day for Thanksgiving, we wanted to get out into the woods and do a little family hike. We had wanted to visit the Columbia Air Center recently, and ended up at the Patuxent River Park instead. While that park is nice, we were hoping to see the old airport area from what we remembered during our hike years before. 

Checking out the playground and finishing lunch.

We arrived around lunch time and had packed sandwiches and snacks for the boys. They were hungry from the start, so we ate at the car and let them play on the nearby playground first. Once they were done with playtime, we started the hike. AllTrails had a nice loop that was 4.2 miles noted, so we set up the recording and headed down the road to the entry into the woods. 

Jug Bay Natural Area Trail Map

Not too far onto the yellow trail, you find an old airplane frame. Not sure the history of the plane or why it is parked here, but it’s really a bunch of rusted metal tubes that still somewhat resembles a plane. The boys enjoyed investigating more and taking a few pictures with it.

Checking out the airplane frame.

About half way in, when we were moving from the Blue trail to the Red Trail, we noticed caution tape on the main portion of the trail. There was a small trail leading off to the right that looked to parallel the main trail. We believe that was the detour trail, and so we followed it. Part of the way in, it started to veer away from the main trail and I was concerned that we would be too far off. So we jumped back on the main trail. Apparently the caution tape was not for anything we may have already passed, but what was still ahead. The trail had flooded and become essentially a marsh. I wasn’t able to take any photos of this, as we were too focused on navigating through the water and muddy areas. We made it out with only a few wet toes, so I think we did well. We did however see where the detour trail connected back to the main trail. 

Eli receiving hugs on a bridge.
Leaving the marsh.

Once we arrived back at the main street, we crossed over into the field and started the next stretch of the hike. The boys however were starting to drag and it was decided to just head back to the car. It had been a long holiday weekend already and best not to push it. So we turned back and headed around the field on the path to the airport monument. The field was starting to fill up with geese and we did see a few deer grabbing a bit to eat. After a short stop at the monument and another visit to the playground, we packed up and headed home. 

We have come to the Patuxent River Park twice this year, and both times had some rough moments. The first was marsh and mosquito issues, and then this time we ran into marsh again. I think we may have to hold off on visiting again for a bit and will need to see if we can determine trail conditions ahead of time. This is a shame, as we really like the airport and some of the other features. For example, there is a Native American habitat created on the backside of the field (we didn’t make it this time to see), as well as other nice wooded trails. 

Stats:

2.75 Miles

The loop is 4.2 miles, however we stopped beforehand.

References:

Columbia Air Center
16091 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
301.627.6074
http://www.mncppc.org/3053/Columbia-Air-Center

Patuxent River Park
16000 Croom Airport Road
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
http://outdoors.pgparks.com/3436/Patuxent-River-Park

Last modified: December 3, 2020

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