(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. View the water trail map and learn more about water access in St. Mary's County by visiting http://www.visitstmarysmd.com/activities-attractions/water-activities/ or call 1-800-327-9023. Copies of this map can also be obtained by sending an email request to Lisa.Gutierrez@Maryland.gov with “map request – St. Mary's County” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, complete mailing address, email address, and phone number.
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.
- 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. Originally produced in 2008, this map was updated and reprinted in 2014. It is printed on durable, waterproof / tear-proof paper and is available free of charge from the Charles County Parks Department by calling 301-932-3470 or by sending an email request to Lisa.Gutierrez@Maryland.gov with “map request – Charles County” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, complete mailing address, email address, and phone number.
- 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 can be obtained at the Point Lookout State Park visitor center or by sending an e-mail request to Lisa.Gutierrez@Maryland.gov with “map request – Point Lookout” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, complete mailing address, email address, and phone number.
- Anacostia Water Trail
(Prince Georges County) (Existing)
The Anacostia Water Trail map and guide was created in 2014 through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Anacostia Watershed Society. The guide has information on historic and cultural resources, access sites and other features associated with the Anacostia River. The trail covers a ten mile stretch of the River extending from Bladensburg, Maryland through Washington, DC to the Anacostia’s juncture with the Potomac River, about two miles south of Capitol Hill. Download a copy of the map and guide and learn more about recreational opportunities on the Anacostia River by visiting www.anacostiaws.org/anacostia-water-trail.
- 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.
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