Monocacy River, Maryland, US
|Usual Difficulty||I(II) (for normal flows)|
|Monocacy River near Frederick at Interstate 70|
|noaa-fdkm2||1.00 - 6.00 ft||I(II)||01h58m||5.2 ft (running)|
|Upper range is estimated.|
This stretch of the Monocacy is a great way to take a break from the surrounding urban and suburban sprawl on a beautiful and relaxing river punctuated by a couple of short but fun Class I-II rapids. The put-in is located at the county-maintained Buckeystown Park just upstream of the MD Rt 80 bridge. The park opens at 7 AM and closes at dusk giving you plenty of time to get down the easy 5.85 miles at a leisurely pace. It's not challenging but does present a good training ground for young paddlers thanks to the inclusion of several cobble bars and two good rapids. The first of these is formed by the ruins of the old Lilypons Road bridge debris. The second is the only naturally occurring rapid on the Monocacy at Greenfield Mills which consists of several short drops punctuated by jutting boulders and bedrock with short pools in between. There is generally enough water to float the trip any time of year. It is recommended to skip the early mornings or late evenings during Maryland's waterfowl hunting season however as this is one of the three streams where "sneak boating" (hunting from a drifting boat, kayak, or canoe) is allowed.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|3.4||Lilypons Bridge Rapid||I|
|5.8||Monocacy River Boat Ramp||N/A|
Put in at Buckeystown Park at MD 80 and Michael's Mill Rd.
The remains of the old Lilypons bridge and ford just downstream of the new bridge. Higher flows allow you to head around the island on river left if you want to avoid any fun. The best route is to hug the island as much as possible taking the right side route. At about 2' a gap in the rubble creates a nice tongue with a generous wave train good for a nice splash. Straightforward and easy rapid
This is the only naturally occurring rapid on the Monocacy. Greenfield rapid consists of several small drops interspersed with boulders and bedrock outcroppings. At lower levels your path will be defined by these obstacles while higher levels result in a much more fun experience. Some maneuvering between drops is necessary, but there are enough eddies and short pools between to allow even novice paddlers to make the right moves. This are can collect wood, especially near the islands in the middle of the section. River left around the first island is an easier route should newcomers get nervous. At the bottom of the fall line, the old Park Mills Road bridge pier and abutments are visible and mark that you are approaching the take-out. At good levels this rapid is a solid Class II. At lower levels it's a 1+/II-
State maintained boat ramp at Park Mills Bridge. This is the end of this reach. The boat ramp is almost immediately after the old bridge pier in the shadow of the modern park mills bridge.