Monocacy River Water Trail
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description: The Monocacy River Water Trail is a self-guided tour of the river for canoeists and kayakers from the Monocacy Battlefield to the Monocacy Aqueduct in Maryland. The trail takes paddlers through landscapes once inhabited by Native Americans and early European settlers who were attracted to this fertile valley. It provides opportunities to observe diverse wildlife and historic sites. The trail also provides river travelers with a new perspective on the resources of the Monocacy that inspires commitment to conservation and restoration.

Please note that boating, canoeing, kayaking and other activities on rivers can be dangerous. Obtain a water trail map and guide in advance, plan your trip, and follow all safety precautions.

Location / Directions:

The Monocacy River is situated north-south through central Maryland; the rivers headwater streams are in the Gettysburg, PA region and the river ends at its confluence with the Potomac River near Dickerson, MD.

For more information about the water trail and to receive a complimentary map and guide, please contact: Community Commons, Inc., 49 South Carroll Street, Frederick, MD 21701, (301) 662-3000, email:

Mailing Address: Monocacy River Water Trail
P.O. Box 3692
Frederick, MD 21705-3692

The Monocacy is a Maryland scenic river used by canoeists, kayakers, and fisherman. It flows for 58 miles through Central Maryland before emptying in the Potomac River and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. Adequate water levels are needed to enjoy a float trip on the Monocacy. Scenery is rolling farmland with rock outcroppings, historic features and bridges, and overhanging trees.

Community Commons Inc., coordinates the Monocacy River Water Trail. Community Commons partners with the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department to offer paddle trips on the Monocacy River, Catoctin Creek and the Potomac River each year. Paddle trips are typically scheduled once monthly, May through September. For information on rates and schedules, contact Community Commons staff by email: or by phone 301-662-3000.

Birding and Wildlife Viewing Fishing Canoeing / Kayaking

Visitor Facilities: The Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department maintains boat launch facilities along the river; there may be picnic tables, nature trails and vault toilets. There are no public campsites along the Monocacy. The river trail flows through the Monocacy National Battlefield Park, although there is no developed water access to the park.
Length: 41 miles / 66 kilometers
Trail Map & Guide: A water trail map and guide is now available by visiting the Community Commons website.
Safety Info: Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Water trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, the National Park Service and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials. [View a list of water safety tips]
River Classification: Generally a relaxing Class I river, but some lower Class II water may be present depending on water levels. Read more about the different levels of River Classifications.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY