Float Through History in Frederick
As the warm weather arrives in Frederick, there’s no better way to relax and have fun than by taking to the water. Whether you’re going solo or with friends, grab a kayak, a canoe, or any other paddle-powered vessel and spend a day on the river. In this picturesque city, there are two incredible trips that a Frederick native recommends, both of which promise a memorable adventure.
The first trip takes you on the Monocacy River, starting at Riverside Park and floating downstream for a little over 6 miles until you reach Pinecliff Park. This park, located just upstream from Monocacy National Battlefield, offers not only an idyllic setting but also a fascinating historical connection. Traveling along the river, you’ll pass the grounds where Union troops, led by Lew Wallace (who later wrote “Ben Hur”), successfully held off the Confederate advance on the right bank. While the Union forces eventually had to concede the ground, their valiant efforts provided crucial delays that allowed Washington D.C. to prepare itself against the Confederate invasion. For a deeper understanding of this historic battle, make sure to stop at Monocacy National Park’s Visitor Center en route to Pinecliff Park.
If you’re in the mood for a different river adventure, head to the Potomac River where you can start your journey in Brunswick and paddle your way downstream for approximately 6 miles until you reach the Point of Rocks Boat Ramp. Along the way, take a moment to reflect on the centuries of people who have lived their lives by the Potomac’s waters, fishing, hunting, and paddling. As you approach the end of the trip, you’ll catch a glimpse of Heater’s Island, which was once inhabited by the Piscataway people in 1699. Today, the Piscataway are recognized as the only indigenous groups by the state of Maryland, consisting of the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy, the Piscataway Indian Nation, and the Cedarville Band of Piscataway. After your river excursion, why not treat yourself to some delicious ice cream at the Rocky Point Creamery or grab a meal at Beans in the Belfry, where you can chat with the bikers and walkers of the C&O Canal? To top it all off, visit Smoketown Brewing Station, located in the town’s old firehouse, where you can enjoy locally inspired beers with a touch of history. For more details on these captivating river trails, you can find the Monocacy Scenic River Water Trail guide online or at the Frederick Visitor Center.
Together, these two water adventures offer a unique opportunity to float through history, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty and stories of Frederick’s rivers. So, grab your paddle, soak in the sunshine, and embark on a journey that will truly leave a lasting impression.
Monocacy River Riverside Park to Pinecliff Park
Start at Riverside Park and embark on a memorable journey downstream to Pinecliff Park. This scenic route spans a little over 6 miles, offering a perfect opportunity for both relaxation and adventure. As you paddle along the Monocacy River, you’ll be surrounded by stunning natural beauty.
In addition to being a picturesque river excursion, this route holds historical significance as well. Just upstream from Pinecliff Park lies Monocacy National Battlefield, where you can immerse yourself in the stories of the past. During the Civil War, Union troops, commanded by Lew Wallace, valiantly defended the right bank against Confederate forces. Their brave efforts delayed the Confederate advance long enough for Washington D.C. to prepare its defenses. Visiting this significant site will transport you back in time and provide a glimpse into the events that shaped our nation’s history.
Make sure to make a stop at Monocacy National Park’s Visitor Center. Here, you can delve deeper into the riveting history of the Battle that Saved Washington, D.C. Discover the stories of the men who crossed the same river over 155 years ago, and gain a profound appreciation for their bravery and sacrifice. The Visitor Center offers a wealth of information and exhibits that help bring this pivotal moment in history to life.
Potomac River Brunswick to Point of Rocks
Embark on an unforgettable journey along the Potomac River, from Brunswick to Point of Rocks. This scenic route will take you approximately 6 miles downstream, offering breathtaking views and a chance to connect with nature. The Potomac River has been the lifeblood of this region for centuries, providing sustenance and transportation for generations of people.
Your adventure begins in historic Brunswick, where you’ll launch your kayak from the Brunswick Boat Ramp, near the remains of the C&O Canal’s Lock 30. As you float downstream, take a moment to imagine the countless paddlers, fishermen, and hunters who have traversed these waters throughout history. The Potomac River holds stories of the past, and you have the opportunity to become a part of its legacy.
Near the end of your journey, you’ll have the chance to catch a glimpse of Heater’s Island. This is the site where a settlement of the Piscataway people existed in 1699. Over three centuries ago, approximately 300 individuals called this island home. Today, the Piscataway remain the only indigenous groups recognized by the state of Maryland – the Piscataway-Conoy Confederacy, the Piscataway Indian Nation, and the Cedarville Band of Piscataway. It is a humbling experience to contemplate the rich history and enduring presence of these native communities.
After your river expedition, take some time to explore the charming town of Brunswick and indulge in local delights. Rocky Point Creamery awaits, offering delicious homemade ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re in the mood for a meal, head over to Beans in the Belfry, where you can join the bikers and walkers of the C&O Canal for a delightful dining experience. To top it off, pay a visit to Smoketown Brewing Station, located in the town’s old firehouse. Here, you can sample a variety of beers inspired by local history and mingle with fellow enthusiasts.
For more detailed information and guidance, make sure to consult the Monocacy Scenic River Water Trail guide. It is available online or at the Frederick Visitor Center, providing valuable insights and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
Embarking on a kayaking adventure through these historic waterways not only connects you to nature but also allows you to delve into the rich tapestry of our nation’s past. With each stroke of the paddle, you become a part of the history that has shaped these rivers, making for an experience that is both enriching and memorable. So grab your kayak, gather your friends or family, and embark on a journey full of natural wonders and captivating stories. Kayak through history and create memories that will last a lifetime.