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By Canoe & Kayak

Deer Creek at Eden Mill Nature Center 

 

Location Eden Mill Nature Center in Northern Harford County, near Norrisville.
Rocks State Park, 410-557-7994
Access Site Access the creek where it crosses Fawn Grove Road, or put in below the dam at Eden Mill Nature Center. Turn left off of Route 165N (Federal Hill Road) onto Fawn Grove Road. To reach Eden Mill Nature Center, turn left onto Eden Mill Road from Fawn Grove Road.
River Trip Distance 4.6 miles from Fawn Grove Road to Route 24 in Rocks State Park
Time 1 hour
Water Conditions The creek is swift, flat water with some sections of gravelly riffles. Canoeable winter and spring within a week of hard rain. The U.S. Geological Survey gauge along Maryland Route 24 at the lower end of Rocks State Park should read at least 2.5 feet.
Skill Level Novice, should have experience on moving water.
Suitable For Families? Yes (with older children able to paddle)
Hazards/Restrictions Fences and fallen trees can obstruct the watercourse. Private property ajoins Deer Creek. Observe no trespassing signs and act with respect and courtesy. Class 3 rapids are located between Route 24 and Cherry Hill Road. Be sure to take out by Route 24, unless you are an expert whitewater canoeist.
Potable Water Carry in your own water.
Natural Features Deer Creek rises in the pasturelands of York County, Pennsylvania, and wanders across a corner of Baltimore County and the width of Harford County to join the Susquehanna River below Conowingo Dam. The creek winds about a narrow, rural valley. The scenery is composed of a mixture of woodlands, working farms and country estates. The banks are mostly unblemished by cottages, shacks or other eyesores. The creek has been designated by the State of Maryland as a State Scenic Creek.
Historic/Cultural Features At the beginning of the trip is Eden Mill, a former gristmill from the late 18th century. It now houses an impressive nature center with colorful displays on local wildlife, Native American history, and more. The former Ma and Pa Railroad bed transverses the creek. This railroad was a route for the dairy industry from 1860’s to 1958.
Guiding Eden Mill Nature Center staff offer canoeing programs.
Rentals Canoes can be rented in Jarrettsville. Kayaks can be rented in Chase from Ultimate Watersports, 410-666-WIND.
Camping None available.
Other Points of Interest The Eden Mill Nature Center provides natural and cultural history displays and programs. Numerous trails are located within Rocks State Park. Deer Creek is now a popular put and take trout stream. There are three picnic areas located within Rocks State Park along Deer Creek (Wilson’s, Hill’s Grove, and Rock Ridge).
Other Accommodations None
Fees or Permits A $2 per person service charge is in effect at the picnic areas within Rocks State Park.
Description This paddle trip is on swift flatwater with some sections of small riffles. The creek traverses wooded lots, rolling hillsides and undeveloped farms on this State Scenic Creek. Eroded mud walls on the banks block some of the views as the creek crosses farm fields. The trip begins near historic Eden Mill and ends in Rocks State Park. The put-in is located on Fawn Grove Road. Take-out at the Wilson’s Picnic Area in Rocks State Park on Deer Creek just before Route 24 crossed the creek.

 

 Deer Creek at Rocks State Park 

Location Rocks State Park in Northern Harford County, to Route 136 near Dublin.
Rocks State Park, 410-557-7994
Access Site Access the creek at the gauging station along Route 24 in Rocks State Park north of Forest Hill and take out where Deer Creek crosses Route 136 on the north side of the river, downstream of the bridge.
River Trip Distance 15.5 miles from the gauging station within Rocks State Park to Maryland Route 136. Or shorten your trip by taking out at Grier Nursery Road (3 miles), Maryland Route 543 (6.5 miles), or Sandy Hook Road (9.6 miles).
Time 8 hours
Water Conditions The creek is swift, flat water with some sections of gravelly riffles. Canoeable winter and spring within a week of hard rain. The U.S. Geological Survey gauge along Maryland Route 24 at the lower end of Rocks State Park should read at least 2.5 feet.
Skill Level Moderately difficult, should have experience on moving water.
Suitable For Families? Yes (with older children able to paddle)
Hazards/Restrictions Fences and fallen trees can obstruct the watercourse. Private property ajoins Deer Creek. Observe no trespassing signs and act with respect and courtesy while on the river. A short violent series of narrow chutes are located between the Route 24 bridge and the gauging station on Route 24. Put in your canoe at or below the gauging station to avoid this segment, unless you are an expert whitewater canoeist.
Potable Water Carry in your own water.
Natural Features Deer Creek rises in the pasturelands of York County, Pennsylvania, and wanders across a corner of Baltimore County and the width of Harford County to join the Susquehanna River below Conowingo Dam. The creek winds about a narrow, rural valley. The scenery is composed of a mixture of woodlands, working farms and country estates. The banks are mostly unblemished by cottages, shacks or other eyesores. The creek has been designated by the State of Maryland as a State Scenic Creek. The section of river just below Route 1, the Palmer tract of Rocks State Park, is especially scenic. Here the tight twists and turns of the river between undeveloped wooded ridges provide a sense of remoteness found nowhere else on this segment of the creek.
Historic/Cultural Features This section of the river just below Route 1 passes by ruins of an iron forge and a flint mill that is now within the Palmer section of Rocks State Park.
Guiding Check with Rocks State Park office for a listing of park-sponsored programs.
Rentals Canoes can be rented in Jarrettsville. Kayaks can be rented in Chase from Ultimate Watersports, 410-666-WIND.
Camping Camping is available at Susquehanna State Park. Accommodations include mini-cabins. Call 1-888-432-2267 for reservations.
Other Points of Interest Numerous trails are located within Rocks State Park, including ones that visit the King and Queen Seat rock formation with views of the Deer Creek valley. Deer Creek is now a popular put and take trout stream. There are three picnic areas located within Rocks State Park along Deer Creek (Wilson’s, Hill’s Grove, and Rock Ridge).
Other Accommodations Bed and breakfasts are located in Darlington and Havre de Grace.
Fees or Permits A $2 per person service charge is in effect at the picnic areas within Rocks State Park.
Description After putting in at the gauging station, the swiftly moving creek decelerates through a series of gentle rock gardens. The creek then slows down into an easy pace that meanders through the rolling countryside. Views are of working farm fields and country estates. Below Route 1 the creek tightly winds through two wooded ridges in the Palmer section of Rocks State Park. This wooded gorge provides a lively boulder garden, before slowing once again before the take-out.

Deer Creek to Susquehanna State Park 

Location Harford County, Route 136 to Susquehanna State Park.
Susquehanna State Park, 410-557-7994
Access Site Access the creek on the downstream, north side of the Route 136 Bridge over Deer Creek. Take out at the mouth of Deer Creek, just before the railroad trestle.
River Trip Distance 8.9 miles
Time 3 hours
Water Conditions The creek is swift, flat water with some sections of gravelly riffles. Canoeable winter and spring within a week of hard rain. The U.S. Geological Survey gauge along Maryland Route 24 at the lower end of Rocks State Park should read at least 2.5 feet. There is also a canoe gauge painted on the right downstream concrete support of the Sandy Hook Road Bridge.
Skill Level Moderate to difficult
Suitable For Families? No
Hazards/Restrictions Fences and fallen trees can obstruct the watercourse. This section of the creek traverses two low-head dams at Nobles Mill and Wilson’s Mill. Carefully scout them before crossing them. Experienced canoeists can run them (run middle). Private property ajoins Deer Creek. Observe no trespassing signs and act with respect and courtesy while on the river. Water levels rise rapidly in the Susquehanna River due to releases from the Conowingo Dam. Carefully check water levels before entering the Susquehanna River and watch for the signals warning of a release.
Potable Water Carry in your own water.
Natural Features Deer Creek rises in the pasturelands of York County, Pennsylvania, and wanders across a corner of Baltimore County and the width of Harford County to join the Susquehanna River below Conowingo Dam. The creek winds about a narrow, rural valley. The scenery is composed of a mixture of woodlands, working farms and country estates. The banks are mostly unblemished by cottages, shacks or other eyesores. The creek has been designated by the State of Maryland as a State Scenic Creek. A gorge-like section within Susquehanna State Park preceding Stafford Bridge is especially scenic.
Historic/Cultural Features Several former gristmills are found along this section of the creek. The first one encountered is Nobles Mill (1854) about 2 miles after the put-in. Wilson’s Mill (1684) is located 4.8 miles past the put-in. A former iron blast furnace is found near Stafford Bridge. Finally, the Rock Run Historic Area of Susquehanna State Park includes the operating Rock Run Mill, the Jersey Tollhouse, Tidewater Canal and lock, Archer Mansion and Rock Run Grist Mill.
Guiding Check with Susquehanna State Park office for a listing of park-sponsored programs.
Rentals Canoes can be rented in Jarrettsville. Kayaks can be rented in Chase from Ultimate Watersports, 410-666-WIND.
Camping Camping is available at Susquehanna State Park. Accommodations include mini-cabins. Call 1-888-432-2267 for reservations.
Other Points of Interest Numerous trails are located within Susquehanna State Park, including the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail that parallels the river, providing excellent views and great birding and wildflower watching opportunities. An interesting lunch spot is on Wood Island, owned by Susquehanna State Park and located just across from the Rock Run Historic Area. To visit Wood Island continue past the take-out into the Susquehanna River and onto the long narrow island (watch for other boat traffic and water levels — Conowingo Dam has scheduled releases). Call Conowingo Dam for a list of scheduled releases, 410-457-4076.The island has remains of bridge piers that once supported a covered bridge over the Susquehanna River. These are located just opposite the Jersey Tollhouse. Return via the same route to take out at the mouth of Deer Creek. Fishing for trout, shad and numerous species during spawning seasons is popular in Deer Creek and the Susquehanna River. Be careful of the anglers’ lines and avoid opening day after stocking season.   

Other Accommodations Bed and breakfasts are located in Darlington and Havre de Grace. Motels are located in Perryville and Aberdeen.
Fees or Permits A $2 per person service charge is in effect at the picnic area within Susquehanna State Park.
Description This section of creek begins as swift moving flatwater. Some excitement soon happens as the creek approaches the site of Nobles Mill, a former gristmill, approximately two miles after the put-in. A crumbling 3.5 foot dam above the mill provides a rapid. Experienced whitewater canoeists can run it in the middle (scout first). In approximately another three miles, just before Route 161, a sloping three-foot dam at Wilson’s Mill is runnable, although canoes will “clunk over.”Anglers and visitors are attracted to this dam, which is surrounded by trees and shrubbery forming an enchanting scene of rustic beauty and rural life. After passing under Route 161, the next three miles visit a wooded gorge-like setting in Susquehanna State Park, just prior to the Stafford Bridge. Nearby the bridge are the remains of an iron blast furnace. The last mile of the creek slows considerably. The take-out is muddy due to the creek dropping its debris at the mouth. Take out is on the right just before passing under the railroad trestle at the junction of Deer Creek with the Susquehanna River. For variety, canoe on toward Wood Island in the Susquehanna River across from Deer Creek for a lunch stop, then return to the creek for take-out.   

Twilight Canoe Trips at Eden Mill Nature Center 

1617 Eden Mill Rd.
Pylesville, Maryland
Date: May - September
Time: 5:45 pm - 8:00 pm

These trips help acquaint the paddlers with the natural surroundings on Deer Creek. Exploration of the environment, both the land and the water, is enhanced by the use of canoes to travel along Deer Creek. During these excursions, environmental education and interpretation are provided by the naturalist accompanying the group. Basic paddling instruction is provided before the trip. Canoes, paddles, and personal floatation devices (lifejackets) are provided. All trips originate and end at the Eden Mill Nature Center. Trips are offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, May through September, as available. The program starts at 5:45pm and ends approximately at 8:00pm. The cost is $8.00 per person for non-members / $5.00 per for members. Small groups can be accommodated. Pre-Registration IS required by calling 410-836-3050 or emailing eden_mill@hotmail.com.

By Tube

Deer Creek in Rocks State Park

Location Deer Creek in Rocks State Park, 410-557-7994
Access Put in at Hills Grove picnic area. Take out at Wilson’s picnic area. Take Route 24 north into Rocks. Turn left on St. Clair Bridge Road. Start at the second picnic area on the right.
Distance 3/4 mile
Time Approximately 1 hour depending on water level
Skill Level Easy
Flat with some riffles
Suitable For Families? Yes, children must use life jackets
Hazards/Restrictions Tubing below Wilson’s picnic area restricted due to dangers of class 3 rapids. Spot cars at both Hills Grove and Wilson’s picnic areas to avoid walking along St. Clair Bridge Road and Route 24.
Potable Water Water is available at the picnic areas.
Natural Features Deer Creek is a Maryland State Scenic Creek that is a popular put and take trout fishing site. Surrounding the creek are hills with mature hardwood forest.
Historic/Cultural Features The former Ma and Pa Railroad bed transverses the creek. This railroad was a route for the dairy industry from 1860’s to 1958.
Camping None
Other Points of Interest There are three day use/picnic areas: Wilson’s, Hill Grove and Rock Ridge. Hiking trails visit the ridge and valley topography surrounding Deer Creek and the King and Queen Seat rock formation with impressive views of the Deer Creek valley.
Other Accommodations None
Service Charges or Permits $2 per person service charge at picnic areas during summer weekends and holidays
Description Easy access to Deer Creek provides a family outing through the State Scenic Creek, which drains farmland through the majority of Harford County. The trip provides pools and riffles on the creek. Water levels vary throughout the summer season.
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