A happy trail of Anne Arundel County
Waterworks Park is a recreational area operated by the City of Annapolis and managed by the Recreation and Parks Department. It is a 600-acre park that is one of the few open space resources in the Annapolis area which provides the public with hiking, biking, a place to picnic and fish. There are miles of nature trails and a picnic pavilion.
Back in the 1920s, the water in the reservoir, essentially stormwater runoff, was used as the city’s drinking water. The reservoir was retired when we tapped the underground aquifer for City drinking water a century ago.
A few years ago, a solar park opened bordering Waterworks Park generating electricity on what was once the city dump, finding a great use for what is known as a brownfield.
Most of Waterworks Park is relatively undisturbed. Recently, MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts) volunteers have come to the Park to make hiker and biker trails that are open to the public. You can ride or hike in to find 11 miles of trails! (Refer to the information at the bottom of this page.)
Future plans are to create a maker space at Waterworks Park, and with that, making accommodations for more parking on site.
There are three fresh water fishing ponds – catch and release fishing only (the fish cannot be taken home.) No outside fish may be brought into Waterworks Parks and released into the ponds. To fish, you must have a valid Maryland Non-Tidal Fishing License that can be purchased at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (West Street) service center in Annapolis. Following the Maryland rules, individuals under age 16 are not required to possess a Maryland license.
Waterworks Park is open daily year-round from dawn to dusk. For additional information, please review the Waterworks Park Brochure.
Waterworks Park is a permit only park.
City of Annapolis resident permits:
- Monthly $10, Quarterly $30, Annual $100
Anne Arundel County resident permits:
- Monthly $15, Quarterly $45, Annual $125
To obtain a permit, you must go to the "Pip" Moyer Recreation Center.
Please refer to the Rules and Regulations section below.
Jeff Holland says that Waterworks Park is #3 on his list of "Top 10" happy trails in Anne Arundel County (article published by the Capital Gazette on January 3, 2021)!
Read this article by Jeff Holland published in the Capital Gazette on September 12, 2020.
Rules and Regulations
This park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and we ask that you treat the natural surroundings with respect. For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, the following rules and regulations must be followed or your permit will be revoked:
- Entrance to the park is by permit only.
- Open daily from dawn until dusk.
- Stay off the dam.
- No fires of any kind. No smoking.
- Please do not enter any of the buildings or small pump houses. There is very dangerous high voltage electrical equipment in these structures.
- Do not go beyond the designated trails. We ask that you respect all private property. The white farm house and the large brick pump house near the entrance to the park are not part of the park operations. Please refrain from approaching either building.
- Strollers, wheelchairs and other mobility vehicles for the handicapped are permitted. Bikes are allowed but only on designated trails.
- The person whose name appears on the permit is responsible for the conduct of the group.
- Children must always be supervised by an adult.
- You are expected to help maintain the park’s natural beauty. Do not cut or dig up trees or plants. Do not harm or harass wildlife. No hunting.
- No swimming, wading, or bathing allowing.
- No ice skating or boating is allowed.
- The possession of firearms, fireworks or weapons of any kind is strictly prohibited.
- No alcoholic beverages or controlled substances are allowed in the park.
- Pets are prohibited.
- Please use the trash receptacles located adjacent to the entrance gate. If the cans are full, we ask that you please take your trash with you.
- Report any accident or injury to the Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department at 410-263-7958 and any park maintenance issue to the Department’s Parks Maintenance Division at 410-263-7993.
The City of Annapolis and Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) created hundreds of acres of hiking and bicycle trails at and around Waterworks Park. There are entry points off of Defense Highway and Housley Road.
The Housley Loop is the most accessible loop. Public access and parking on Housley Road on the shoulder near the Stone Point Apartments. Look for the trailhead to your right in the woods on the left side of the stormwater drain.
To note, the Defense Highway Connector trail connects the Housley Loop to the Defense Highway Parking Lot and Solar Park Loop. DO NOT PARK IN THE DEFENSE HIGHWAY PARKING LOT TO ACCESS THE TRAIL. PLEASE PARK AT THE HOUSLEY ROAD TRAILHEAD AND ENTER FROM THERE.
There is no fee to ride or hike these trails, but you have to get there on foot or by bicycle.
In late February 2021, the City of Annapolis received the “Land Managers of the Year” award from the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE) group for their work in allowing miles of hiking and cycling trails to be created by MORE volunteers at Waterworks Park. Mayor Gavin Buckley, City Manager David Jarrell and Recreation and Parks Director Archie Trader accepted the award.
The vision is to eventually connect downtown Annapolis to Waterworks through an extension of the Poplar Trail and other hiker/biker trails including existing segments of Anne Arundel County's South Shore Trail, and planned bikeway improvements to Bestgate and Housley Roads. David Beugelmans, MORE board member, is the liaison for the Waterworks trail project.