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Itinerary:

A Long History of Watermen at Long Cove

The landing at Long Cove is located in Langford Creek, in the town of Rock Hall. Today, Long Cove is home to working watermen; the location is prime for crabbing on the lower Chester River, just a short distance down from Langford Creek. The presence of these modern-day workers speaks to Rock Hall’s long history as a waterman’s community. As far back as 1707, Rock Hall was a village for fishermen. This reputation was owed to its location on prime fishing and crabbing grounds, as well as the fact that it was situated on a well-traveled “highway” of water that connected large cities on the western shore to the eastern shore. Over the years, Rock Hall has continued to grow and maintain this identity. The abundance of oysters, crabs, clams, and fish in this area makes Rock Hall a major supplier of these resources to markets all over Maryland and even those as far as New England.

Paddlers eager to explore the waterways that make Rock Hall a booming community of business and tourism have no shortage of options. The open waters of the lower Chester River lie just a little way down from the put-in site at the mouth of Langford Creek. A gentler paddling option would be to explore the east and west forks of Langford Creek just north of the landing. Another creek to investigate is Grays Inn Creek, just two miles south of the landing, and the Corsica River offers yet another paddling opportunity for those willing to cross three miles of open water on the Chester River to get to it. 

Image Credit: Chris Cerino / Sultana Education Foundation

Things to Know

Long Cove is located at the mouth of Langford Creek, making this the perfect locatoin for exploring both the east and west forks of the creek. Paddlers can also choose to venture across the Chester River for three miles to get to the mouth of the Corsica River. Yet another itinerary option is to head two miles downriver from the launch site to the mouth of Grays Inn Creek. 

Navigational Hazards

Long Cove places paddlers on the open waters of the Chester River; this area is moderately exposed, as well as a popular site for watermen. Be sure to check the weather before you attempt to launch here. For those looking to avoid such open waters, the east and west forks of Langford Creek are easily accessible from this area.

Water Safety

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 National Park Service, Chesapeake Conservancy 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. Learn more about water safety.

Marine Forecast

We STRONGLY suggested that you review the marine forecast ahead of heading out for a paddling trip. To review the forecast for this paddle trip, visit:

Emergency Information

Launch site address:
End of Crosby Road
Rock Hall, MD 21661

Nearest hospitals:
UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown
100 Brown St
Chestertown, MD 21620
(410) 778-3300

Chester River Hospital Center
6602 Church Hill Rd #300
Chestertown, MD 21620
(410) 778-3300

Parking & Shuttles

Paved parking for up to 20+ vehicles

Restrooms

No, but adjacent marina has restrooms

Equipment

  • ALWAYS wear a properly secured personal flotation device (PFD) when participating in paddlesport activities. Make sure that your PFD has a readily accessible safety whistle.
  • Bring a paddle float and water pump for self rescue.
  • A spray skirt is recommended for cold/foul weather.
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing that shields you from the sun (sunglasses, sunblock, hat, and a long-sleeved shirt that can get wet) and is safe to swim in. Water shoes with closed toes will protect you from abrasive hazards at launch areas that can cut your feet.
  • Bring water in bottles than can be secured to your craft. Bring more water than you think you’ll need and drink regularly throughout your journey.
     

Outfitters

Camping & Amenities

This site features a boat ramp for launching large and small vessels. There are basic marina amenities in the area due to the Long Cove Marina adjacent to the ramp.

There are no camping facilities at this site.

Trail History

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, American Indians inhabited the waters of the Chester River for over 10,000 years.  The river was teeming with fish, oysters, waterfowl, wild game, and edible wetland plants that provided all of the food needed to establish thriving communities.  Settlements were generally located at the heads of creeks or springs, with populations ranging from a few families to several hundred residents.  Ancient oyster middens, or trash piles, can still be seen eroding from the riverbanks where these American Indian settlements once stood.

The Chester River once contained some of the most prolific oystering grounds on the Chesapeake Bay, even attracting its own fleet of “oyster pirates” that regularly sailed under the cover of darkness to illegally dredge oysters reserved for hand-tonging.  While much of the Chester’s oyster population has been lost due to pollution, overharvesting, and disease, the middle portion of the river contains one of the last viable oyster bars on the upper Bay.  In late fall, watermen can still be seen anchored over this bar in front of Cliff City Landing using the ancient method of hand-tonging to capture the tasty bivalves.

Rock Hall’s location at the mouth of the Chester River made it an important ferry landing for colonists traveling north and south in the 18th century, including George Washington.  Today, Rock Hall is a haven for working watermen and a busy hub for recreational boating, with several marinas and three public landings within the harbor.  The town is also known for its numerous festivals including Waterman’s Day, 4th of July Weekend, Fall Fest, and Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend. 

Weather

Main image: Chris Cerino / Sultana Education Foundation