The town of Crumpton was once the site of much anticipated growth, due to the McCallisters Ferry that operated there and connected the north and south banks of the river, and because of the steamboat lines that ended there from Baltimore and other places along the Chester. However, such growth slowed when the steamboats stopped operating. The deep water channels that carried these vessels to Crumpton now extend only as far as Chestertown. Crumpton also has a history as a scandalous town due to the presence of speakeasies during the temperance movement.
These days Crumpton is the home of the famous Dixon Furniture Auction that takes place every Wednesday and that still draws hundreds of antique collectors to this small town on a regular basis. This stretch of river offers several smaller, protected tributaries for those looking to explore further, or for windy days when the fairly exposed public landing becomes too strenuous. Crumpton’s historic qualities mixed with its variable paddling options make this a stimulating spot for paddlers of all interests.
Upstream, the water opens up for about one mile after passing under the Crumpton Bridge. Red Lion Branch is on the right shortly after the bridge. This is a great opportunity for a side trip. The river eventually narrows again as it heads toward Millington.
Heading downstream, Pearl Creek lies a few hundred yards from the landing on the left. There is also a creek about one mile downstream of the landing on the Kent County side of the river. This creek is unnamed and offers beautiful marsh scenery for paddlers.
For a more strenuous journey, head downstream for 8.5 miles and you will reach Chestertown and the wider stretches of the Chester River.
The water in front of this landing can be exposed to southerly winds, so take caution when launching and be aware of the weather. There are several creeks near the landing that offer protected waterways when the wind is problematic.
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:
400 Market Street
Crumpton, MD 21651
UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown
100 Brown St
Chestertown, MD 21620
Chester River Hospital Center
6602 Church Hill Rd #300
Chestertown, MD 21620
Side of the road parking for up to 15 vehicles
Seasonal portable toilets (April-November)
The launch at this site is concrete, but sits in shallow water and is suitable for anything but a motorized vessel.
There are no camping amenities at this site.
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.