Scorton Creek in Massachusetts
Scorton Creek is a tidal river on Cape Code in East Sandwich, MA. It is a pleasant paddle through salt-water marshlands with an optional trip down to the East Sandwich Beach.
We put in off of route 6A, just before the Scorton Creek bridge going eastbound. From there, we paddled up the river (towards inland) through some nice marshland. We made the mistake of going to the "end" of the creek (a road) before exploring the creeks that come off the main one. I would recommend exploring those, first.
The creeks that jut off from the main one can be interesting and fun, given the fact that they meander through the marshes in some tight quarters. It was fun to see fellow paddlers off in the distance, as all you could see were the paddlers, themselves, and not their vessels - as if they were floating atop the marshes.
We stopped for lunch back at the put-in and shuttled cars down to the beach. After lunch, we headed down towards Cape Cod Bay. This section is rather short but still has nice scenery, including several obscenely rich homes. There were many birds to be found all along the Scorton Creek paddle.
Down at the Bay, make sure and take out on the left BEFORE you begin to enter the channel as the tides can make it very difficult to get back inland. After a nice walk on the beach we packed up the equipment and headed back to the campground (Shawme-Crowell State Forest.)
TIDES: The idea is to put-in off of route 6A and head inland at about high tide or an hour earlier. You need to turn back towards the put-in about 2 hours after high tide peaks to ensure you don't get stranded with no water. The paddle down to the Bay should be considered a one-way as fighting the tide back up, though possible, may not be your idea of fun.
There are no facilities at either the put-in or take-out. See driving directions for location. Shawme-Crowell State Forest is probably the best-kept camping secret on the Cape. It's a state park, so there's no alcohol. It is quiet (except for the route 6A highway sounds), it's cheap ($10/site) and the sites are large.
There are no fees or permits required. Parking at the Bay takeout can get crowded. Suggest spotting one car there and leaving the other(s) at the put-in.
From the Sagamore Bridge crossing the Cape Cod canal, take route 6A East (heading towards Barnstable/Provincetown.) Follow 6A through Sandwich. After passing Ploughed Neck Road (on your left) the put-in is about 1 mile on your right, just before the bridge. It is a gravel road, about 0.2 miles long to the actual put-in. The take-out for the Bay is down Ploughed Neck Road to the end, take a right and follow that to the virtual end, taking a right onto a small road that leads immediately to the Bay.
Paddling Cape Cod is a good book that describes this, and many other Cape Cod paddles.
- Sport/Activity: Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)