Open to the Public
Take a self-guided audio tour of the preserve. View All
Large groups are welcomed but must make arrangements with nature center staff prior to their visit. View All
Why You Should Visit
Visit this preserve and you'll be immersed in a landscape where now-extinct animals like mammoths once roamed. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp harbors bald cypress trees at the northernmost limit of this species' natural range in the United States, making this a uniquely captivating place in the region. The Calvert County Natural Resources Division operates a quarter-mile boardwalk and a nature center to further enhance your visit. Admission is free.
One hour drive south from Washington, DC, near Prince Frederick, Maryland
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is the only stand of bald cypress trees found in Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay. It is also at the northernmost limit of this species' natural range.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing Here
Protected in 1957, Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is The Nature Conservancy's first preserve in Maryland. Since 1977, the preserve has been leased to Calvert County and operated as a county park. The Nature Conservancy owns 100 acres here.
The nature center is open year round
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00
Sunday: 1:00 to 5:00
Phone: (410) 535-5327
Download an Audio Tour
Planning a visit to Battle Creek? Before your trip, download our self-guided audio tour to your handheld device. It's like having a naturalist in your pocket!
- Step 1: Download the Battle Creek audio tour map. This map will help identify which audio tracks to play based on your location on the trail, so make sure to take a copy with you on your trip.
- Step 2: Download and save the mp3 audio files to your handheld device. Play the corresponding track when you reach a waypoint along the trail. Listen to them all or pick & choose based on your interests!
What to See: Plants
- In the spring, a blanket of wild flowers covers the ground in the northern part of the swamp
- Bald cypress trees, some standing 100 feet tall
- May-apples, pink lady's-slippers
What to See: Animals
- Warblers, including the Kentucky, worm-eating, prothonotary, and others
Get the Most from Your Visit
- Bring plenty of drinking water, sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses), rain gear, and bug protection. Binoculars, field guides, and a camera may be useful.
- Pets are not allowed on Conservancy preserves or field trips.
- Smoking is not permitted.
- Please do not remove any plants, animals, or rocks.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, and comfortable shoes and socks. Poison ivy grows near, and sometimes over, the boardwalk. Wearing light colors will help you spot and remove ticks.
- Please help us maintain this unique natural environment by taking home everything that you bring, including biodegradable materials.
- Visit or phone the nature center where you can obtain more information about tours and hikes along the boardwalk. Large groups are welcomed but must make arrangements with nature center staff prior to their visit.
- Tick and Mosquito Alert: When you get home, plan to drop your clothing directly in the laundry and do a tick check before you shower. Deer ticks, the type that carry lyme disease, are about the size of a pinhead and tend to attach in hair, under ears, underarms, trunk of the body, groin, and backs of the knees. Remove them by gently pulling with tweezers and wipe the skin near the bite with a mild disinfectant. If, within 7-10 days after exposure, you experience a rash (especially an expanding "bull's eye" rash), chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and/or aching joints and muscles, contact your doctor. You can find more information on lyme disease at www.lyme.org or www.aldf.com, or by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404) 332-4555.
- From Washington's Capital Beltway (I-495), take Route 4 South into Calvert County
- From Baltimore, take Rt. 301 South to Route 4 South
- Just south of Prince Frederick, turn right onto Sixes Road (Rt. 506); from Sixes Road, turn left (south) on Grays Road for one quarter mile to the Cypress Swamp on your right.