Kent Island

KENT ISLAND, MARYLAND

I have traveled across this island two to three dozen times. Always it was just a place to bridge the gap between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Maryland’s eastern shore.

Traffic can be heavy especially on summer weekends. Usually, it’s get on, get moving, and get off the island. Unless, of course, one wants to stop at the Chick-fil-A.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge in distance

I’ve spotted some bike baths alongside U.S. Rte 50 and decided I would explore the island. I don’t know if I would make this a destination trip but since I was headed to the Sea Gull Century it was a great place to stop and explore.

Kent Island South Trail

In a nutshell, there are two trails on the island and some road riding that connects them if you are willing. The road between the trail can be busy.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the background. Matapeake State Park.

I took the first exit and went south. I parked at the Matapeake Park – the entrance to the Kent Island South Trail. But I wasn’t interested in the trail so much. In fact, when I left the parking lot I didn’t know the trail existed. I didn’t see the entrance.

Matapeake State Park Pier

I first turned and went back to a pier and boat launch at Matapeake State Park. There is an excellent view here of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Wide shoulder on Rte 8

When I reached the main road I turned right (south) and rode on the wide shoulder. I was very comfortable riding here and only then did I see a trail next to the highway. I jumped on the trail at the next opening.

The Bay Park

It is wide and is in excellent shape. The asphalt seems new. I’d say maybe this year but I’m not sure it’s that new. The only annoying thing is the many at-grade crossings of driveways and each one comes with a Stop sign and BIKERS DISMOUNT. Seriously? This is clearly driven by the county’s lawyer.

Every stop sign has these silly “Bikers Dismount” obviously placed there by lawyers

It is only 5.5 miles to the pier. An alternative which I intended to do was to follow the road to the southernmost tip. I followed the trail without realizing I wasn’t following my mapped ride. Maybe if there’s a next time.

Boardwalk on the Cross Island Trail

I made it a point to follow the trail to the northern end. It took me right back to my car. I didn’t even notice it the first time.

Kent Island South Trail

The second trail on the island is the Cross Island Trail. Generally, I prefer roads to trails so I decided to ride the road to the Kent Narrows Bridge.

Kent Narrows

It’s about 3-4 miles on Rte. 8 to cross U.S. 50. There is a wide shoulder the entire way although one must exercise extreme care when crossing the entrances to U.S. 50.

Boardwalk on Cross Island Trail

I turned on Main Street and for a while had no shoulder. The street is marked with a Bike sign – Share the Road – but to most motorists that means get out of their way not that bikes are entitled to the full lane.

Kent Narrows

I rode this section but I wouldn’t want to ride it with anyone slower than me and wouldn’t normally recommend the east-west road route on the island.

Kent Narrows Bridge

I got on the Cross Island Trail. I found a few boardwalks but know I missed the big one. I saw that as I left the island after my ride. Although I crossed the Kent Narrows Bridge I did not follow the trail to the conclusion on the west side.

Cross Island Trail

But I followed the trail back to Rte 8. It’s in great shape. Not built for speed as it meanders amongst the trees. It dumped me at Kent Island High School which was having a Friday afternoon pep rally. I stopped and watched.

Cross Island Trail

The emcee, maybe the principal, maybe the athletic director or even coach, introduced a returning former member. And then the quarterback who was standing at the 40-yard line. If the QB could hit the receiver 40 yards for a touchdown, all the students would get a free water at the next game or restaurant or something.

Kent Island High School, Md. (Pep Rally)

The QB threw and the ball went 35 yards in the air. It was a perfect strike but it wasn’t in the end zone. The receive held up, caught the ball, and then walked it. The crowd went wild. It also makes you appreciate the pros who can throw 50-55 yards or more.

It was a nice ride. Normally not a destination but sure is a great place to stop if you’re traveling through. I would love to come back for the western portion of the Cross Island Trail.