All Things Kayaking

Chicone Creek (aka Osprey Alley)

On Labor Day, 2018 we chose a new kayaking site near Vienna, Maryland.  Putting in at the town boat ramp along the Nanticoke River we found the weather sunny and the waters perfectly calm producing beautiful mirrored reflections as we paddled north, less than a mile, to Chicone Creek.

20180903_102615_Boat ramp at Vienna

Vienna, Maryland boat ramp along the Nanticoke River

20180903_103304_Vienna Power Plant

Vienna Power Plant reflected in the still waters of the Nanticoke

Vienna features a beautiful grassy waterfront park along a street lined with old homes facing the river. It’s easy to unload kayaks on the grass and then use the boat ramp for launching. Parking for the ramp is about a block away at the community center and well labeled.

Putting in at the ramp we paddled upstream (to the left) less than a mile to the mouth of our destination waterway:  Chicone Creek.  Almost immediately we began to see Osprey working hard to fish and fatten themselves up for migration to southern locales.  The female osprey normally begin their migration before the end of August leaving the males and juveniles to start their trip during September. On this incredible calm day (also incredibly hot) we glided under the Rt 50 (Ocean Gateway) bridge which appeared as a beautiful silhouette in the morning sunshine.

20180903_103053_Paddling toward the Rt 50 bridge over the Nanticoke

Paddling north toward the Ocean Gateway bridge

With good planning this paddle was perfectly matched to the tides on this warm and muggy Labor Day.  Launching just before high tide provided us a gentle push upstream to the Chicone. By the time of our return the tide turned giving us a gentle push back to Vienna.

20180903_104502_Entering Chicone Creek

Entering the mouth of Chicone Creek

Chicone Creek is a beautiful small tidal creek that begins in an expansive tidal marsh and switches to narrow swampy hardwood lined creek banks.  At almost every point along the creek Osprey hovering overhead hunted for fish and emitted their high-pitched screech.  Here and there we found a few man-made structures, such as an old dilapidated duck blind and an abandoned boat house.


20180903_105147_Boathouse Reflection

Old boat house reflection

About a mile up the creek is the Indiantown Road bridge with its heavy creosote soaked wooden beams.  At the bridge large fish sauntered and made big splashes of alarm as our kayaks passed.  This observation solved the mystery of what the osprey were feeding upon.

20180903_112236_Indiantown Road Bridge

The Indiantown Road Bridge

All along our route we saw beautiful reflections of foliage in the still waters.  At one point we heard deer rustling in the grasses and running away from our approach.  What we did not see were turtles sunning themselves on logs.  Perhaps the water was so warm this day that sunning was unnecessary.

20180903_110723_Green Reflections

An example of foliage reflections in the creek waters

The end of our trip was 3.7 miles from the boat ramp where Chicone Road cuts across the creek and puts a stop to paddling.  As we approached the endpoint we began to encounter large fields of water lilies and some purple flowers along the banks. During low tide paddling in this area would have been difficult.


20180903_113457_Fluffy white clouds

Fields of water lilies

When we returned to the mouth of the Chicone we found a pontoon party boat anchored with several Labor Day celebrants floating on inflatable seats and drinking adult beverages.  One celebrant informed us that they were the Chicone Creek hydration station.

Entering the Nanticoke once again we were treated to big fluffy clouds in a dazzling blue sky.


20180903_131204_Big clouds over Ocean Gateway

Big fluffy white clouds over Ocean Gateway

Making our way under the bridge one more osprey flew over hunting fish and we noticed an osprey nest built on top of one of the concrete bridge supports.  Of course this late in the season the nest was abandoned but it could very well have been the birthplace of some the osprey flying about.

20180903_131733_Osprey nest on Rt 50 bridge

Osprey nest on the Rt 50 bridge

A few boats flew by as we made our return to Vienna but the wide Nanticoke River makes it easy to avoid the speeding vessels.  A trip to Chicone Creek is a beautiful paddle even on a hot and muggy day.  The final distance was roughly 7.2 miles.  In the map we put in at waypoint 045.

20180903_163734_GPS Topo Map

Our path north on the Nanticoke to Chicone Creek

Directions to launch: Rt 50 into Vienna; whichever way you enter Vienna you’re looking for Race St. which takes you directly to the waterfront and the boat ramp. Parking is limited on the street but the Community Center parking lot is well marked and labeled for boaters parking.

Facilities: None at launch site

For more Kayaking Delmarva blog posts visit our Blog Index.
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