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15 Great Escapes: Biking That’s for the Birds

Spot bald eagles and other rare birds while riding your bike through the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge.

Bald-eagle sightings are common at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Photograph of eagle courtesy of Blackwater.

If you like to bike and you like birds, it’s hard to beat a ride through Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But fair warning: The 25-mile loop may take longer than you think—because you’ll stop often to admire bald eagles roosting in the trees, herons wading in the water, and turtles moseying along the side of the road.

The 27,000-acre refuge is best known as a stop on the Atlantic Flyway each October and November, when as many as 50,000 Canada geese, ducks, and swans migrate through. It’s no less spectacular in the spring.

The refuge offers a short four-mile trail. Cyclists who are more ambitious can turn the four miles into a 20- or 25-mile loop. We recommend the 25-miler, which offers beautiful scenery at the beginning and end—the refuge is visible along half the ride. The middle portion is on quiet country roads outside the park; there’s not much to see, but consider this your chance to pick up some speed and get a workout.

Visitors to the refuge are advised to bring bug spray, but bikers in motion seem rarely bothered by the horseflies. A pair of binoculars is a good idea, too.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge; 410-228-2677.

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