I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life (let’s go O’s!). I love it here, and at this point I can’t imagine living anywhere else. However, there is another state that has a piece of my heart: Vermont. My husband and I got engaged on the top of Vermont’s third-highest peak and even had a Vermont-themed wedding. You can imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned that one of the sweetest parts of Vermont can be found right here in my own home state: maple sugaring!
Maple sugaring is the process of turning sap from maple trees into maple syrup and other delectable, sweet treats. While Vermont is the kingpin in the maple syrup game, Maryland’s maple trees (and the people that tap them) can certainly hold their own.
Ok, so now you’re intrigued. You’re curious about the process, you want to learn more, and more than anything you’re craving a rich, gooey, local maple syrup to smother a stack of pancakes in. What do you do? You go visit a maple sugaring demonstration, event, or festival!
I’m sharing eight maple sugar events in Maryland:
Note: registration is required for some of these events. All event descriptions were provided to our author by the event organizers.
Irvine Nature Center—Owings Mills
February 12 and 20
Our friends at Irvine invite you to “join Irvine’s naturalists for an outdoor hike-n-learn that is sure to be in great taste. Along the way, you’ll learn to identify maple trees and why this is peak season for collecting their sap. Participants will practice using a hand drill to experience how trees are tapped and check the buckets where sap is collected. Then, explore how the process of turning clear watery liquid into everyone’s favorite breakfast condiment has changed through time–from wooden tools and heated stones to the kettle system over an open fire to today’s evaporators and hydrometers.”
Advanced registration is required—$10 per person. Children under 3 may attend for free.
Learn more here: Maple Magic – Irvine Nature Center
While You’re in the Area: Head into Baltimore for more family-friendly fun. Did you know the Maryland Zoo is open year-round?
Cromwell Valley Park—Hampton
February 19 and 20
This FREE event (no registration required) has a campfire running all day, and staff outside talking about the process of sugaring. Guests will learn to make a spile, learn how to identify various maple trees, watch a movie about sugaring in Western MD and take a hike to the “sugar bush” to tap a tree. After your hike, come back to the campfire for a pancake with real maple syrup!
Learn more here: Maple Sugaring Weekend – Cromwell Valley Park Council
While You’re in the Area: Get a late lunch at McFaul’s IronHorse Tavern, where you can expect delicious food in a kid-friendly setting.
Eden Mill Nature Center—Pylesville
February 19 and 26
Join the folks at Eden Mill Nature Center for a brief history lesson on maple sugaring and take a hike to learn all about tapping trees. They will collect sap from the trees that have already been tapped and teach you the process of turning sap to syrup! You may even get to taste the finished product.
Advanced registration is required—$10 per person.
Learn more here: Maple Sugaring – Eden Mill Nature Center (Search for “family programs – Eden Mill Nature Center” to register.)
While You’re in the Area: Check out nearby Kilgore Falls, Maryland’s second-highest vertical drop waterfall.
Marshy Point Nature Center—Chase
February 19, 20, 26, and 27
Visitors of Marshy Point’s Maple Sugaring event will learn about the history of maple sugaring, and watch an evaporator demonstration.
You will also get to make your own spout, and go on a hike to learn how to spot red maples. There will also be maple syrup tasting!
Advanced registration required—$5 per person for non-members, $3 per person for members.
Learn more here: Maple Sugar Hike – Marshy Point Nature Center
While You’re in the Area: Learn about aviation history and tour a line of aircrafts at the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.
Robinson Nature Center—Columbia
This is the very first time Robinson Nature Center is holding a maple sugaring event, and it’s shaping up to be a good one! Join the naturalists at RNC on a hike to visit the tapped maple trees, watch a boiling demonstration, and taste some delicious local maple syrup.
Advanced registration required—$10/person for non-members, $7/person for members
Learn more here: Maple Sugaring Event – Robinson Nature Center
While You’re in the Area: Check out one of the restaurants along Korean Way, a five-mile stretch of Route 40 filled with over 160 Korean-owned businesses.
Hashawha Environmental Center/Bear Branch Nature Center, Westminster
You want to talk about Maple Sugaring enthusiasts? The folks at Hashawha Environmental Center/Bear Branch Nature Center have multiple events coming up!
February 27— Maple Sugarin’ Sunday
From the naturalists at Bear Branch Nature Center: “Participants will take a short hike to the maple stand to tap a tree for collecting sap. Then return to the nature center to learn how to make some delicious maple syrup and other treats from our sap. A sample of maple candy will be provided to each participant.”
Advanced registration required—$7/person for Carroll County residents $8/person for non-residents
Learn more here: Maple Programs at Hashawha and Bear Branch
March 5 and 6—Maple Sugarin’ Days and Pancake Breakfast
Stop by the Nature Center for a guided hike to visit the maple grove, tap a tree, then enjoy a maple treat as you learn how to make maple syrup from the sap. Hikes include a maple sugar sample! Sunday only, they will offer a pancake breakfast at Hashawha Environmental Center!
Advanced registration required—$2/person for hike, $4/plate for pancake breakfast
Learn more here: Maple Programs at Hashawha and Bear Branch
While You’re in the Area: Take in the picturesque countryside on a barn quilt tour around Carroll County.
Cunningham Falls State Park—Thurmont
March 12, 13, 19, and 20
Maple sugaring demonstrations will be taking place every thirty minutes at two boiling sites. The demonstrations end at 2pm, but the park is open until sunset and you are able to hike an interactive trail to learn about the maple sugaring process if you missed the demonstration. There will be some light refreshments available, including hot beverages, and there are plenty of picnic tables in the area. There will also be maple syrup for sale, as well as shirts whose proceeds go back into the park.
Registration is not required. There is a $3 donation to enter the park (children in car seats and boosters are free).
Learn more here: Maple Syrup Festival 2022 | Events in Frederick, MD
While You’re in the Area: Take advantage of exploring the park (hiking trails, a playground, and an aviary) before heading to downtown Frederick for dinner.
Lead Photo: Marshy Point Nature Center
About the Author
Rachel Zillig was born and raised in the Baltimore area, and currently resides in Parkville with her husband and two daughters. She is a full-time stay-at-home mom, with a part-time job that she does from home. She graduated from Towson University with a bachelor's degree in Sociology, and in her spare time enjoys hiking, and going on adventures with her family. She also runs the Baltimore Family Fun Instagram page, which she uses as a resource for local families looking for family-friendly things to do in Maryland.