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Wildlife In Leonardtown

A loop paddle down McIntosh Run to Leonardtown Wharf Park and back to Port of Leonardtown Park is a quick but enjoyable trip through a narrow creek surrounded by forest. . The trail here meanders through a sheltering canopy of trees which is home to Bald Eagles, Baltimore Orioles, wild turkeys and other bird species. There are also beavers, muskrats, and otter that call McIntosh Creek their home. Aside from a short section parallel to Route 243, the forest remains uninterrupted on both sides which makes this paddle a good escape into nature and solitude.

A little known secret hidden along the McIntosh Run in Leonardtown is the Port of Leonardtown Public Park. This developing passive park and winery is the launch point of a nearly three mile serene canoe/ kayak trail. As you paddle along the McIntosh Run you will pass thru a 58 acre FIDS (Forest Interior Dwelling Species) Habitat. This area is home to bald eagle families, Baltimore Orioles, wild turkeys and many other bird species. As you wind through this wooded trail you will be amazed by the peaceful tranquility. The trail terminates at the beautiful, new Leonardtown Wharf Public Park. Bring a picnic lunch or stroll up to Leonardtown Square and enjoy lunch at one of our many fine restaurants.

Public launches, parking, and restrooms are located at both Port of Leonardtown and Leonardtown Wharf Park.

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.

Image Credit: Elvert Barnes

Things to Know

  • McIntosh Run can be shallow in some parts. Walking the kayak to get short stretches of shallow water may be necessary during low tide in the summer months.
  • There are a few obstacles like fallen trees, but they are cleared away if they inhibit paddling access.
  • This paddle can be extended beyond Leonardtown Wharf Park to Abells Wharf, which has portable toilets available seasonally
  • Lots of bald eagle nesting pairs throughout McIntosh Run, with osprey arriving later in the spring. Muskrats, beavers, and otter can be found here also.
  • Handicap accessible soft launch for canoes and kayaks only
  • Leonardtown Wharf is handicap accessible.

Navigational Hazards

  • During the summer, there is a slalom water skiing course in Breton Bay


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

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
25500 Point Lookout Road
Leonardtown, MD 20650

Parking & Shuttles

  • No Parking Fees
  • Port of Leonardtown: Handicap accessible soft launch for canoes and kayaks only
  • Leonardtown Wharf: Handicap accessible


  • Restrooms are located at both the Port of Leonardtown and at Leonardtown Wharf.


  • 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.


Trail History

  • In July 1813, British troops began raiding and burning this region of Maryland and terrorizing residents.
  • The British seized St. Clements and St. George Islands on the Potomac River and established a base at Point Lookout. Between 2,000 and 3,000 British troops landed at the point.  In the summer of 1814, they ramped up their assault with a series of raids along the Potomac side of St. Mary’s County, beginning with Leonardtown.  On July 19, British troops approached the town from the east and the west while Royal Marines landed at the waterfront.  A regiment of local militia was stationed in Leonardtown, but they fled before the British arrived.  Because they met no resistance, the British did not destroy the town. Some nearby communities, including Chaptico, were not so lucky.