Monocacy Scenic River Water Trail

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Jul 8, 2015
I've had fun over the years combining my interest in the Civil War with the enjoyment of river canoeing. Last week I had a great trip with my brother and my son on Maryland's Monocacy River, entering the river near Frederick and canoeing about 10 miles downstrean to where river empties into the Potomac.


The photo is a stock photo that I lifted off the internet (I am not a good photographer) but it gives a good idea what the river is like. It's very woodsy, as most of the riverbanks are within state parklands or similar protected areas.

We actually got on the water within the confines of Monocacy Battlefiled Park just a few miles ouside of Frederick. I lifted this map from another thread (thanks Saphroneth!) and it shows the position of the armies about a week before the Battle of Antietam, so you can see the whole aea was swarming with thousands of soldiers during the Maryland campaign of 1862.


It was a great trip, although were pretty tired at the end. The water is slow moving for most of this stretch so we had to work to push our way downriver. The highlight was the bird life -- we got a close up view of a wild bald eagle and also saw herons and other water birds. We ended at the Monocacy Aqueduct, which used to carry the C&O Canal over the river, which the Rebs tried to destroy back in 1862. Thank goodness they failed!


Forum Host
Nov 27, 2018
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I noticed one night when I was on google earth, there is a cart path running on the north side of the Potomac that you can actually get a ground level view upon. That 'street level' icon works for the cart path and it is a wonderful virtual reality trip.