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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 public landing is an excellent place from which to explore the rural farmlands of Church Hill, a town that dates back to the 1600’s. Named for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the hill from which it overlooks the town, Church Hill is a quiet farming town that seeks to preserve a small town identity while maintaining proximity to larger cities like D.C. and Baltimore. Paddlers heading upstream from the cement ramp at the landing can experience this small town feel as they sojourn through farmland and forests on the gradually narrowing Southeast Creek.
Another option from this location is to explore Island Creek. Located just downstream from the landing, this small tributary offers 4+ miles of paddling and high wooded banks and cattail marshes. Additionally, this landing is a good spot from which to access Chester River crabbing grounds. This makes the ramp crowded on nice summer weekends.
Paddlers on Southeast Creek have two prime options for a day of paddling. Upstream, the creek begins to narrow after about one mile and begins to wind past forests and marshlands for another 3.5 miles. In the other direction, paddlers may want to explore Island Creek. This tributary alone has more than four miles of navigable water with scenery such as high wooded banks and cattail marshes.
Those paddling Southeast Creek should be mindful of the wind and tides. If planning to paddle upstream, time your paddle with a high tide. If paddling near the Chester proper, be especially mindful of the weather.
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:
800 Southeast Creek Road
Church Hill, MD 21623
UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown
100 Brown St
Chestertown, MD 21620
Chester River Hospital Center
6602 Church Hill Rd #300
Chestertown, MD 21620
Limited, unmarked parking for approximately 12 vehicles
Seasonal portable toilets (April-November)
There is a concrete ramp at this site, but no additional soft launch. Small vessels may be launched at the concrete ramp.
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.