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Difficulty I(II)
Length 5.85 Miles
Gauge Monocacy River near Frederick at Interstate 70
Flow Range 1.00 - 6.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 3.91 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 02/05/2018 11:27 am

River Description

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. 

Rapid Descriptions

Put In

Class - N/A Mile - 0
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Put in at Buckeystown Park at MD 80 and Michael's Mill Rd. 

Lilypons Bridge Rapid

Class - I Mile - 3.4
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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

Greenfield Rapid

Class - II Mile - 5.5
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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-

Monocacy River Boat Ramp

Class - N/A Mile - 5.8
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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. 


Gage Descriptions

Use the Monocacy River Gauge just downstream of US 70 in Frederick for reference. 1.5' minimum boatable flow. Upper limit currently unknown. 

Directions Description

From the takeout at the DNR-maintained boat ramp at Park Mills road, head west on Park Mills Road until it intersects with MD Rt. 28. Make a right and head north/west on MD 28 until MD 28 diverges west. At this point bear slightly to the right and stay on MD 85 "Buckeystown Pike." Head north on MD 85 until you reach the intersection with MD 80 "Fingerboard Rd." Take a right on MD 80 until you reach the bridge. Take the last left before crossing the bridge onto Michael's Mill Road. The park will be immediately on your right. The canoe launch is just upstream of the parking lot across the small footbridge over the drainage ditch. 

No Accident Reports




Colin Abernethy


Tony Allred Jr


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208844 02/01/18 Colin Abernethy n/a
1208845 02/01/18 Colin Abernethy New Reach
1208851 02/05/18 Tony Allred Jr 2-9-2018 - Added low and high runnable