(Anne Arundel, Prince Georges, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties)
The region of Southern Maryland is a peninsula bordered by the Potomac River to the west and the Chesapeake Bay to the east. While predominantly rural, the landscape of the Southern region has areas with dense population and suburban development, particularly along the Route 301 corridor and closer to the Washington D.C. area. Steep cliffs can be found along the Chesapeake Bay shoreline and along areas of the Potomac River. Most of the streams, creeks and rivers experience tidal influences and have brackish water (a mix of fresh and salt water.) The Lower Potomac, Anacostia, Patuxent and Wicomico rivers are among the major waterways in the region, but hundreds of smaller streams, creeks and rivers abound providing numerous opportunities for recreational boating.
St. Mary’s County Water Trails
(St. Mary’s County) (Existing)
In partnership with St. Mary’s County, the Town of Leonardtown, and a committee of local paddling enthusiasts, Maryland DNR assisted in the development of a series of water trails along the western side of the St. Mary's peninsula. A water trails guide, published in July 2010, provides maps and detailed information on access sites and paddling routes along the Lower Potomac, Wicomico and St. Mary’s Rivers as well as McIntosh Run, Herring Creek, and Smith and Jutland creeks. The guide also features historic, cultural and tourist resources. Copies of the water trails guide are available from the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks, St. Mary’s Division of Tourism, and Maryland DNR Boating Services. An electronic version of the guide can be viewed and downloaded at www.visitstmarysmd.com. To receive a free copy, call 800-327-9023 or visit www.dnr.state.md.us/boating for more information. View a PDF fact sheet.
Potomac River Water Trail: (Lower Potomac)
(Prince Georges, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties) (Existing)
This water trail guide covers approximately 115 miles of the lower Potomac River from Washington DC to the Chesapeake Bay. The six-map set shows access and support facilities along the Maryland and Virginia shorelines and is a great resource for paddlers, boaters, anglers or outdoor enthusiasts interested in the Lower Potomac. These maps are printed regular paper and are packaged in a cardstock folder. They are not waterproof. This map is currently out of stock. Click here to view or download an electronic version of the guide. View a PDF fact sheet.
- Charles County Water Trails
(Charles County) (Existing)
This map and guide depicts four paddling routes in Charles County including trails along Mattawoman Creek, the lower Potomac River, Port Tobacco River and Nanjemoy Creek. The water trails were developed though a partnership between Maryland DNR and Charles County. The guide features colorful maps and information on launch sites and support facilities such as restrooms, picnic areas and parking. The map is printed on waterproof, tear-proof paper and is available free of charge from Charles County by calling 1-800-766-3386. The map is also available in electronic PDF format for viewing or downloading by visiting www.thenationsbackyard.com. For more information on Charles County water trails call 301-885-1340. View a PDF fact sheet.
- Point Lookout Water Trails
(St. Mary’s County) (Existing)
The Point Lookout water trails are located at Point Lookout State Park - the southernmost tip of St. Mary’s County where the Potomac River meets the Chesapeake Bay. The State Park offers a variety of paddling experiences that range from an hour or two to all-day excursions with overnight camping options. In addition to the water trail routes, the water trail map/guide also provides information on special features and points of interest on the Point Lookout peninsula. Originally printed in 2003 and reprinted in 2007, the guide features over 7 miles of water trails along three different routes in and around the Park. The map is printed on waterproof, tear-proof paper and is available at the Point Lookout State Park visitor center, from the DNR Online Store by clicking this link or send an e-mail request to email@example.com with “map request – Point Lookout” in the subject line and include your name, complete mailing address, email, and phone number. View a PDF fact sheet.
- Kingfisher Canoe Trail
(Prince Georges County) (Existing)
This water trail guides paddlers down the Anacostia River. Set in a very urban environment, this trail features some surprisingly natural areas as it passes by the Kenilworth Marsh and Aquatic Gardens and the National Arboretum. The trail begins at the Bladensburg public boat ramp and continues down the river to end at the Anacostia Park boat ramp. The trail was developed by the Anacostia Watershed Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the Anacostia River. This map is printed on regular paper and is not waterproof. To get a copy of the trail guide, contact the Anacostia Watershed Society at 301-699-6204 or visit www.anacostiaws.org. View a PDF fact sheet.
- Patuxent River Water Trail
(Anne Arundel, Prince Georges, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties) (Existing and Developing)
The Patuxent River is approximately 110 miles long and is the largest river, completely within the state boundary of Maryland. The river corridor is rich in scenic beauty, wildlife, history. Many public parks and launching sites for recreational boating provide additional access for visitors to enjoy the river’s resources. The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) created a map of the upper section of the Patuxent River Water Trail between Montgomery and Howard counties. The map shows access points and public lands along the corridor and is available in PDF format to view or download. View the map by visiting www.patuxentwatertrail.org/pdf/WaterTrailMap_v051909.pdf
The Patuxent River Commission in partnership with a host of other agencies and partners in Maryland has been working to create a larger, more comprehensive map of the Patuxent River Water Trail. To date, a concept map of the trail has been created and can be viewed online at www.patuxentwatertrail.org/pdf/Patuxent_RiverTrail_v2006.pdf. Additional information, maps and access information for paddling the Patuxent River can be found by visiting www.patuxentwatertrail.org. View a PDF fact sheet.
Chesapeake Bay Hotline
Call 1-877-224-7229to report any of the following
- Boating accident or reckless activity
- Fish kill or algal bloom
- Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
- Illegal fishing activity
- Public sewer leak or overflow
- Oil or hazardous material spill
- Critical area or wetlands violation
- Suspicious or unusual activity