Self-Guided Opportunities
Canoeing and Kayaking
Location Rocks State Park in Northern Harford County, to Route 136 near Dublin.
Rocks State Park, 410-557-7994
Access Site Access the creek at the gauging station along Route 24 in Rocks State Park north of Forest Hill and take out where Deer Creek crosses Route 136 on the north side of the river, downstream of the bridge.
River Trip Distance 15.5 miles from the gauging station within Rocks State Park to Maryland Route 136. Or shorten your trip by taking out at Grier Nursery Road (3 miles), Maryland Route 543 (6.5 miles), or Sandy Hook Road (9.6 miles).
Time 8 hours
Water Conditions The creek is swift, flat water with some sections of gravelly riffles. Canoeable winter and spring within a week of hard rain. The U.S. Geological Survey gauge along Maryland Route 24 at the lower end of Rocks State Park should read at least 2.5 feet.
Skill Level Moderately difficult, should have experience on moving water.
Suitable For Families? Yes (with older children able to paddle)
Hazards/Restrictions Fences and fallen trees can obstruct the watercourse. Private property ajoins Deer Creek. Observe no trespassing signs and act with respect and courtesy while on the river. A short violent series of narrow chutes are located between the Route 24 bridge and the gauging station on Route 24. Put in your canoe at or below the gauging station to avoid this segment, unless you are an expert whitewater canoeist.
Potable Water Carry in your own water.
Natural Features Deer Creek rises in the pasturelands of York County, Pennsylvania, and wanders across a corner of Baltimore County and the width of Harford County to join the Susquehanna River below Conowingo Dam. The creek winds about a narrow, rural valley. The scenery is composed of a mixture of woodlands, working farms and country estates. The banks are mostly unblemished by cottages, shacks or other eyesores. The creek has been designated by the State of Maryland as a State Scenic Creek. The section of river just below Route 1, the Palmer tract of Rocks State Park, is especially scenic. Here the tight twists and turns of the river between undeveloped wooded ridges provide a sense of remoteness found nowhere else on this segment of the creek.
Historic/Cultural Features This section of the river just below Route 1 passes by ruins of an iron forge and a flint mill that is now within the Palmer section of Rocks State Park.
Guiding Check with Rocks State Park office for a listing of park-sponsored programs.
Rentals Canoes can be rented in Jarrettsville. Kayaks can be rented in Chase from Ultimate Watersports, 410-666-WIND.
Camping Camping is available at Susquehanna State Park. Accommodations include mini-cabins. Call 1-888-432-2267 for reservations.
Other Points of Interest Numerous trails are located within Rocks State Park, including ones that visit the King and Queen Seat rock formation with views of the Deer Creek valley. Deer Creek is now a popular put and take trout stream. There are three picnic areas located within Rocks State Park along Deer Creek (Wilson's, Hill's Grove, and Rock Ridge).
Other Accommodations Bed and breakfasts are located in Darlington and Havre de Grace.
Fees or Permits A $2 per person service charge is in effect at the picnic areas within Rocks State Park.
Description After putting in at the gauging station, the swiftly moving creek decelerates through a series of gentle rock gardens. The creek then slows down into an easy pace that meanders through the rolling countryside. Views are of working farm fields and country estates. Below Route 1 the creek tightly winds through two wooded ridges in the Palmer section of Rocks State Park. This wooded gorge provides a lively boulder garden, before slowing once again before the take-out.

Resources Recommended Gear and Safety Tips
  • Spare paddles
  • Knee pads
  • Hat
  • Water
  • Insect repellant
  • Canoe or kayak
  • Personal flotation devices (life jackets)
  • Appropriate shoes that can get wet
  • Throw ropes and a bowline