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Blue Mash Trails

Blue Mash Trail Map Locator Description

The Blue Mash natural surface trails are located in the buffer area surrounding the site of the former Oaks Landfill, near Mt. Zion.

The Blue Mash Nature Trail commemorates the pre-Civil War settlement called Blue Mash inhabited for many years by freed slaves. "Mash" was the colloquial pronunciation of marsh. Before emancipation, the Blue Mash swamp was known to have been a hiding place for fugitive slaves.

Unless noted otherwise on the map, trails marked “Natural Surface” and “Hard Surface” are "Shared by All" trails which includes hikers, bikers and equestrians. Additional information about permitted uses of Park trails is available on our Trail User Information page.

Blue Mash Trails Map (pdf)


Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding


The former landfill is located north of Md 108, west of Olney and east of Laytonsville.

Trail length/surface

The Blue Mash Nature Trail is natural surface, 1.25 miles in length and open to hikers only. The Shared Use Trail Circuit is 3.75 miles and is open to hikers, equestrians and cyclists.

Trail characteristics

The nature Trail traverses easy but diverse natural terrain and offers many birding opportunities. To date, a total of 32 bird species have been identified in the trail area. The Shared Use Trail, open to hikers, equestrians and cyclists, includes considerable field terrain and forest land.

Drinking water




Access and parking

The Zion Road entrance provides parking for the Blue Mash Nature Trail (hikers only). Parking for the Shared Use Trail Circuit is provided along Md 108.


The trails are maintained by the Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation.

Last update: February 14, 2013