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Itinerary:

Gateway to the Blooming American Lotus at Turners Creek Landing

Turners Creek, a shipping center that once provided wheat to George Washington’s army at Valley Forge, also has ties to the War of 1812. In May of 1813, British troops landed at the mouth of the creek and forced a local man named John Stavely to guide them to Fredericktown, which they raided and burned along with Georgetown, which lies across the river. This done, they returned Stavely to Turners Creek, where they plundered more properties for supplies.

Turners Creek is one of the best places to explore on the Sassafras River. The creek alone boasts two miles of navigable water (at high tide), and paddlers can also choose to venture onto the Sassafras proper. Turners Creek is also an excellent place to see the American lotus in bloom; peak blooming season is from mid-July through mid-August. 

Things to Know

Turners Creek offers about two miles of navigable water by itself,  but the Sassafras River and smaller tributaries are also viable options for paddling. Downriver from the mouth of Turners Creek, it is three miles to Lloyd Creek and 5.4 to Betterton. Upriver and heading away from the open waters of the Bay, it is six miles to Georgetown.

Navigational Hazards

Turners Creek itself is well protected from the elements. Those looking to duck out of the creek into the river should be aware that this will open them up to an area with greather exposure to winds.

Water Safety

Remember: safe use of rivers and any designated trails, at any time, is your responsibility! Water trail maps are for informational and interpretive purposes only and are not meant for navigational purposes, nor do they take into account level of skills or ability required to navigate rivers. The National Park Service, Chesapeake Conservancy and/or the individual trail associations assume no responsibility or liability for any injury or loss resulting directly or indirectly from the use of water trails, maps or other printed or web-based materials. Learn more about water safety.

Marine Forecast

We STRONGLY suggested that you review the marine forecast ahead of heading out for a paddling trip. To review the forecast for this paddle trip, visit:

Emergency Information

Launch site address: End of Turners Creek Rd, Kennedyville, MD 21645

Nearest hospitals: UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown (100 Brown St, Chestertown, MD 21620; 410-778-3300) and Chester River Hospital Center (6602 Church Hill Rd #300, Chestertown, MD 21620; 410-778-3300).

Parking & Shuttles

There is limited parking on a small paved lot adjacent to the ramp. ADA accessible spaces are available here. For greater parking options, use the unpaved lot at the top of the hill just before the ramp. There is space for more than 50 vehicles here. 

Restrooms

There is a temporary restroom at this site. 

Equipment

  • ALWAYS wear a properly secured personal flotation device (PFD) when participating in paddlesport activities. Make sure that your PFD has a readily accessible safety whistle.
  • Bring a paddle float and water pump for self rescue.
  • A spray skirt is recommended for cold/foul weather.
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing that shields you from the sun (sunglasses, sunblock, hat, and a long-sleeved shirt that can get wet) and is safe to swim in. Water shoes with closed toes will protect you from abrasive hazards at launch areas that can cut your feet.
  • Bring water in bottles than can be secured to your craft. Bring more water than you think you’ll need and drink regularly throughout your journey.
     

Outfitters

Camping & Amenities

Turners Creek has a picnic pavilion as well as hiking trails.

There are no camping amenities at this location.

Trail History

On August 1, 1608, Smith's shallop moved cautiously into the Sassafras River, wary of the Tockwoghs after learning of them from the Massawomecks. However, Smith and his men were welcomed by the Tockwoghs sent to attack them, who assumed that the English had battled successfully against the Mattawomecks because Smith's men carried their weapons. The crew was taken seven miles upriver where they feasted and relaxed before heading back down the Sassafras the next day, escorted by a Tockwogh Indian who would lead them to the Susquehannock tribe. 

Mount Harmon Plantation is famous as a 17th century center for shipping tobacco that was given as a land grant from the second Lord Baltimore to Godfrey Harmon. Today it features a restored manor house as well as a nature preserve, and offers nature trails and formal tours. It is located on the Cecil County side of the Sassafras, across the river and north from Turners Creek. 

Knock's Folly is an 18th century house turned Visitor Center that was initially built by Henry Knock, a farm and granary operator in the community of Turners Creek. Knock built the log cabin section in 1759; in 1770 Donald Yeates owned the property and began building the Federal style portion; and finally in 1796 his family completed the building by adding on with brick. Today the house operates as a Visitor Center and is a resource for understanding the farming community of the time, as well as the historical importance of John Smith in the area and the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the land. 

There are numerous sites along the Sassafras River and its smaller tributaries that lay claim to events of the War of 1812. In May 1813 and July 1814, dwellings all along the river and other waterways were subjected to raids by British forces. In some instances, locals fought back and defended their homes; in others, towns and buildings were burned by the invading troops. Most notably, British Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn led troops up the Sassafras to raid the ports of Georgetown and Fredericktown on May 6, 1813.