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Seneca River in Maryland

Trip Overview

I couldn't resist the 70+ temperature for January. My sister and her husband came along. We experienced some moderate to heavy rain the day before, so even the quiet Seneca River (near the C&O Canal) was moving at a quicker pace. The depth also allowed us to go up from the launching ramp at the C&O Canal, up to under the bridge on River Rd.

We spend 30 minutes on the Seneca then paddle through the C&O Canal Aquaduct out to the Potomac. It was a bit windy and the river was high. We turned upriver, into the wind, water splashing over our bow. We paddled nearly 25 minutes up river, then with the current only 5 minutes to come back to the Seneca.

Saw two avians: one an apparent flicker (almost blue-jay colors) and some gull-like (all white) that perched on a tall tree top. I wasn't familar with gulls purching on tree tops, but when it perched it didn't look like a gull, but when it flew it did.

Anyway, the trip only lasted an hour, but a good day for January.


one porta potty (in the winter). Also nearby C&O small visitor's house.


NO permits, just be aware of conditions. Water is cold this time of year. You can't afford a spill.


From Capital Beltway, take MD 190 North - towards Great Falls. Keep on River road for many miles (7-8?), then when you get to a stop sign turn left. On Riley's Lock Rd make a left. Go to bottom of hill; parking on left, ramp on right.

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip