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Life’s a Peach at Shadding Reach

Shadding Reach is another launch site located on the upper Chester River, just south of Millington. For paddlers, it is almost equidistant from the town of Millington heading upstream, and from the Crumpton Public Landing heading downstream (about a 3.5 mile paddle to each). This location is a representative of the way Millington used to be and how much of it still is today. You will find the put-in site at the end of a country road that is surrounded by farmland. This landscape hearkens back to Millington’s days of growing corn, wheat, and fruit before the Civil War.  Once the Kent and Queen Anne’s Railroads connected Millington to other towns in Maryland and Pennsylvania, this small town grew to be one of the largest peach shippers in the county.

This landing is excellent for canoes and kayaks, as it can be shallow, particularly at low tide. Though this paddle site is well sheltered from wind by wooded shorelines, the tidal currents can be moderate to strong, so paddlers should be aware of which way the tide is running and plan accordingly. Along the way, be on the lookout for marsh plants such as cattails, wild rice, arrow arum, pickerel weed, and yellow pond lily.

Things to Know

From Shadding Reach, it is a 3.5 mile paddle to Millington and the head of the Chester River. Heading downstream, it is about 3.5 miles to Crumpton and the public landing located there. 

Navigational Hazards

This is a protected area with flatwater that is good for windy days, but tidal currents can be strong and so particular attention should be paid to the direction of the tide. Also, a high tide is preferable here due to the shallow nature of the water.

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 Shadding Reach Road
Millington, MD 21651

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

Limited side of the road parking for approximately 6 vehicles, unpaved, 5 am - 10 pm




  • 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.


Camping & Amenities

This site is soft launch only, with a gravel ramp for launching small vessels (<14').

There are no camping amenities 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.

Before the Civil War, the farmlands of Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties began to be known for their bounty of corn, wheat, and fruit. The introduction of the railroads to these areas opened them up for shipping to other counties in Maryland and beyond, which bolstered the economy of these places greatly. This growth was also accelerated by technological improvements in farm machinery. Shipbuilders in the 18th century enhanced trade by building small boats for local transportation, in addition to larger-masted vessels for trade internationally. Eventually the great steamboats of the early 20th century allowed for increased trade and tourism, bringing products and people to and from the eastern shore. Though the eastern shore is largely characterized by wide open spaces and vast farmlands, advancements and innovations in transportation have allowed for the spread of products, a boost to the economy, and the movement of people to these less-habited shores. 


Main image: Chris Cerino / Sultana Education Foundation