Click here to view our statement on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak is evolving across the Chesapeake watershed. Chesapeake Gateways sites and events are managed at the discretion of individual locations and event organizers. Please contact local sites and organizers in advance for any potential schedule changes or closures. The health and safety of residents, visitors, staff, volunteers, and partners is our top priority.
This is the only Chester River Water Trail launch site located on Kent Island, an area rich with history as it is known to have been inhabited for almost 12,000 years. Prior to European settlement, Kent Island was home to members of the Matapeake tribe of the Algonquin nation. The Matapeakes were a fairly peaceful tribe, and were slowly pushed out of their lands by colonizing Europeans. William Claiborne established a settlement on Kent Island in 1631, making it the first European settlement in what would eventually become Maryland. A series of clashes with the Calvert family in the 1630s resulted in Kent Island becoming part of Maryland, despite Claiborne’s assertions that it was part of Virginia.
Visitors should be aware that this landing is one of the most popular for launching into the Chester River in Queen Anne’s County. The site can be very crowded throughout the summer months. Paddlers should also use caution when on the water due to the heavy boat traffic and swift currents in the Narrows. Those willing to deal with the traffic will find this an exciting area to explore.
This landing is very popular and thus heavily trafficked during the summer, and is also subjet to swift currents. Though the Narrows are relatively protected, the lower Chester River just beyond can be open to strong winds. Paddlers are urged to use this location with caution, but can paddle north out of the Narrows to explore Ferry Point Park and scenic Piney Creek.
The landing at Kent Narrows requires a strong paddler. Though the water is protected, this landing opens quickly into a very wide portion of the lower Chester River. This is also a very popular spot for boaters in the summer months; take caution of boat traffic if launching from this site. Additionally, be aware of strong tidal currents. The currents in the Narrows can run up to three knots. Paddlers are urged to take caution at this launch site.
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.
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:
Launch site address:
End of Piney Narrows Road
Chester, MD 21619
UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown
100 Brown St
Chestertown, MD 21620
Chester River Hospital Center
6602 Church Hill Rd #300
Chestertown, MD 21620
Paved, marked parking for up to 85 vehicles
Seasonal portable toilets (April-November)
This site features two double wide cement boat ramps that are ideal for putting in larger vessels. There is no small vessel specific soft launch, but kayaks and canoes can be launched from the ramps. Amenities are available at nearby marinas.
There are no camping amenities at this launch.
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.
During his exploration of the Chesapeake Bay in August 1608, Captain John Smith visited an American Indian community at the mouth of the Chester River which he referred to as “Ozinies.” This site was most likely located in the vicinity of present-day Rock Hall. Smith did not travel up the Chester River’s main stem, in part because the river offered little promise of providing the elusive “Northwest Passage” to the riches of the Orient. However, Smith did chart the river’s mouth, Kent Island, and the forested interior of what would become Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.