Trip Descriptions

Wye East River

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Eagles Eye

Eagle Eye

Every website and kayaking book describes trip options around Wye Island in Queen Anne’s County, MD. Following those directions means you will miss the hidden gem; the Wye East River. Located just across from the eastern end of Wye Island, the county owned boat ramp at the end of Wye Landing Road is the starting point.

Instead of preceding across the Wye East River to either circumvent or explore Wye Island turn to the north and paddle up the Wye East. Unlike around the island boat traffic is almost non-existent on the Wye East.

June 13, 2013 found us kayaking the Wye East River for the third time. A typical Maryland hot spell put the temperature in the upper 80s with humidity to match. While hot the slight breeze on the water made this trip manageable.

As you paddle the first thing you notice is Wye Conference Centers at Aspen Institute. Except for a few other homes in the first mile you quickly paddle into an unpopulated area with hardwood forests to the water’s edge. The vast marshlands found kayaking further east on Maryland’s Eastern Shore do not exist in this area.

The gem on this trip is always the incredible wildlife sightings. On an earlier trip we thought several immature bald eagles flew from a tree. This trip we confirmed the immature eagles since they always flew from the trees accompanied by a mature bald eagle. With eagle sightings too many to count the eagles were our constant companions throughout the day.

For the first time we spotted a Heron Rookery in the trees about 3 miles into the trip. We had not seen this on any of our previous trips and suspect it was the time of year.

Look closely to see the Heron.

Look closely to see the Heron.

Nearly a dozen nests appeared in the trees in this area with herons sitting still guarding their nests.

In less than 5 miles from the launch you reach a fork in the river. At this point marsh grass begin growing into the river. Previously we’ve followed the left folk wandering through some marsh and forests. This trip we chose the right fork but within 50 feet realized the tide was too low to paddle further. The left fork had been a better choice in the past and by watching for the channel you can paddle for another mile without becoming stuck in Eastern Shore muck. Tide levels are important on the upper reaches of this river and we confirmed a low tide with the TideDataFree app on an iPhone. On this trip we decided this was a good turn around point since the following day we would be kayaking Eastern Neck. Total mileage for the day was a little over 8 miles.

The Wye East River has become one of our favorites for solitude and bird sightings. Due to the hardwood forests this area has the potential to be an excellent fall paddle to view the foliage.

Logistics: Boat Ramp is at the end of Wye Landing Road. Signs are very confusing about whether you only need a county launch permit if you have a trailer, or if you also need one to park at the ramp. We play it safe and invest in a yearly launch permit which we usually buy from Angler’s Sport Center just off Rt. 50 eastbound before the Bay Bridge. This ramp is very popular and on weekends you may have to park up the road a way after unloading. However, if you arrive after 10 or 11 a.m. most of the early morning fisherman have pulled out and you’re more likely to find a parking spot at the ramp. Portajohns are located here also.

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2 replies »

  1. Love your new blog and look forward to your posts. Hubby & I have been talking about getting kayaks, your post just may entice us to go for it! 🙂 I am a birder & boater from Grasonville/Kent Narrows and am local to the Wye River area. I absolutely LOVE this river, it has so much to offer year-round. You are right, the birding along the Wye is the best. Right now, osprey, eagles GBH, oh my! I’ve sighted two eagle nests from the water, and just recently blogged about one of them that has three eaglets perching at it.


  2. Thank you Donna. You should definitely try out kayaks. You can see so much more. I’m going to write a blog on our equipment soon. Your photos are great. I’ve enjoyed looking at them already. I’m the writer and my husband is the photographer for our blog. We live in Frederick, MD, which of course has it’s own charm, but you live in a beautiful area.


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