Launched at Mattingly Park at mid-tide and headed left (upstream). Lots of lily pads but there is an open channel so paddling is not hindered by underwater vegetation. Mattawoman Creek above this launch point meanders this way and that and is a peaceful paddle mostly protected from the wind.
We passed quite a few folks fishing in power boats and kayaks, but still had many sections where we were paddling alone. Made it almost to the headwaters, but a fallen tree prevented us from checking out the launching site at the Route 225 bridge. The uppermost section of the river is quite shallow but passable. Turned around (not easy in a shallow, narrow section of creek when you are paddling a 14' sea kayak) and headed back downstream.
Once back downstream, there are a couple of place to beach and get out for a picnic. One spot where we stopped for a picnic lunch has just enough elevation to give you a beautiful view of the river and surrounding marshes. We lost track of how many white and blue herons, hawks, and red-winged blackbirds we saw!
After lunch, we paddled downstream past the launch site and made it to a section of the river with quite a few pilings. It seemed to us that this was a dividing point between the more peaceful upper section and the lower -- also beautiful, but shared with many more power boats. As usual, if you stay close to shore you will not have any trouble and will likely see more shore birds and critters.
Most fittingly, for the Independence Day weekend, we saw a mature bald eagle soar overhead.
Headed back upstream to and pulled out at Mattingly. About 2 1/2 hours on the water and a half hour for lunch. We will definitely go back in the fall -- the colors should be beautiful.
Conrete launch ramp and roller launch for yaks and canoes. Day outfitter renting kayaks and canoes and bikes (the Indian Head rails to trails path comes through here). Restrooms up the hill at the larger parking area; sani cans at the launch site. Parking for cartoppers directly next to the concrete launch.
Maryland route 210 south to Indian Head. Turn left on Mattingly Drive -- launch is at the end of the road.
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)