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.
The Monocacy is usually runnable in the spring and early summer up to mid-July and from late fall through winter unless extreme drought conditions exist.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
The trail is free.
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.
Water Trail Segments
The trail has been divided into 3 segments but visitors can make their trips shorter or longer according to their time and ability.
Section 1: Maryland Route 77-Rocky Ridge to Devilbiss Bridge
Section 2: Devilbiss Bridge to Gambrill Mill
Section 3: Gambrill Mill to the Monocacy Boat Ramp
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)
This map and guide provides information on water access sites, facilities, and cultural and historic information along 41.8 miles of the Monocacy Scenic River, from Rocky Ridge on Maryland Rt. 77 to the Potomac River. This colorful guide is printed on waterproof, tear proof paper and was designed primarily for those touring by kayak or canoe. The water trail has been divided into three segments which allows visitors to make their trips shorter or longer according to their time and ability. The Monocacy Scenic River Water Trail map is available by request or download from the Frederick County Division of Parks and recreation. Visit their web site or call 301-600-1646.
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.