The waters of the Patuxent River in Calvert County MD beckon to those who love the double-sided paddles. Its creeks and tributaries lure us in to explore the marshes and wetlands. Black Swamp Creek, directly opposite Kings Landing Park, is no different.
Along the shore of the mighty Patuxent River, Kings Landing Park’s history stretches back to Captain John Smith’s exploration and earlier. Once an active farm and later a YMCA camp, now Calvert County’s Natural Resources Division manages the park.
This small park offers some short wooded trails and a meadow maze, as well as a fishing dock. It’s also a great destination for kayakers. In fact, kayakers, canoeists and fishermen enjoy Kings Landing’s access to the river, nearby creeks and marshes.
The Black Swamp Creek Paddle
If you want to explore the wetlands adjacent to the Patuxent River, you have several choices: from Kings Landing, turn right and travel against the current to Cocktown Creek or cross the river on a slight diagonal to Black Swamp Creek. Paddling the open waters of the Patuxent River could be troublesome, especially if you’re fighting wind, current and tide (the river is tidal at that point).
We headed across the open river, and yes, that was the hardest part of the paddle. Despite heading nearly directly upriver, the current pushed us too close to the nesting osprey, but we persevered and made it to the slightly quieter waters of the shallow bay that Black Swamp Creek opens up into.
This creek is shallow and calm and winds do blow over wetlands and low marsh. The creek also is bordered by forested areas. We were there as low tide was at its lowest, limiting how far up the creek we could paddle. Still, at our leisurely pace, we were out for almost a full 3 hours.
All the Critters
We saw numerous birds. Eagles, of course — and still a thrill, no matter how many we see. The osprey screamed their threats at us when the current pushed us too close to their nest, which we had tried to avoid. The great blue heron were shy — we only observed one, and it was flying away from us. We saw ducks and a green heron flying, as well as red wing blackbirds and cardinals. Cormorants also antagonized the osprey by their proximity to the nest.
Did I mention the butterflies? They posed for us!
But what really fascinated us were the dancing fish. At first we thought they were small frogs, as they seemed to leap over the surface. One even danced right into my hand. We’re not sure what prompted them to dance. As we enjoyed our floating picnic (carefully prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), we saw the fish jump and leap like skipping stones across the surface. This continued almost the entire length of Black Swamp Creek.
Know Before You Go
There’s plentiful parking at Kings Landing Park. Although the parking lot is significantly far away from the river’s edge, you can take a handicap parking access road (through the gate) to unload your kayaks. The kayak launch is directly from the river shore.
Getting there: 3255 Kings Landing Rd, Huntingtown, MD
Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Website: Kings Landing Park
Check out the articles below for other fun things to see and do nearby:
- Annmarie Sculpture Garden
- Calvert Marine Museum
- Cedarville State Forest Hike
- Greenwell State Park
- Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
- Surratt’s Tavern
Looking for great paddles? Check out these kayaking adventures!