Barren Creek Paddle

Duration: 2.5-5 hours
Distance (one-way and round trip): approximately 4 miles from the boat ramp to the Nanticoke River; it is an additional 1.5 miles to Vienna; 8 or 11 miles round trip.
Starting Location: Mardela Springs Boat Ramp (Hard landing, parking, no restroom)
Latitude: 38.4540881
Longitude: -75.7558443
Link to county page: http://www.wicomicorecandparks.org/parks-and-facilities/water-access-and-launch-sites/mardela-boat-ramp.html
Difficulty: Intermediate/Difficult

 

Perhaps the best way to explore Barren Creek is to start in Mardela Springs and first explore the creek from the banks, stopping at the historic spring house or the Adkins Historical and Museum Complex.  After sightseeing in town, hop in a canoe or kayak at the Mardela Springs Boat Ramp and head west (downstream) toward the Nanticoke River.

Bring your binoculars for this trip as Barren Creek is a great spot for bird watching; it is not uncommon to see Bald Eagles patrolling the creek in Mardela Springs. This paddle is much like the Chicone Creek paddle, except you will experience the habitat change in reverse. Starting from Mardela Springs, forested stream banks will later give way to open marsh. Take note of the different species that can be seen as this transition is made.

Once at the mouth of the creek, you can return to Mardela Springs or make the sometimes strenuous paddle across the river to the town of Vienna. Make sure to assess your fitness level and suitability of your craft as paddles can experience strong wind, waves, and tides on the Nanticoke River, especially in the afternoon. Those prepared to cross the river will have a picturesque view of Vienna’s waterfront and the US Route 50 Bridge. Visitors to Vienna will find a small town with many well-maintained historical homes, a historical museum, and an art gallery. There is a short riverwalk at the boat ramp and a family restaurant called Millie’s a few blocks from the river. In addition, Jeanne Cakes, a confectionary delight, is open usually from Thursday to Sunday and offers cake balls, cupcakes, cookies, and other sweets. Layton’s Chance Winery is another six miles from town and is much closer to the Chicamicomico Boat Ramp but may be a terrestrial target for the prepared visitor who arranges bicycles or other transportation ahead of time.

A paddler exploring Barren Creek.

A paddler exploring Barren Creek.

The bank along Barren Creek.

The bank along Barren Creek.

The opposite bank along Barren Creek.

The opposite bank along Barren Creek.

A blind along Barren Creek.

A blind along Barren Creek.

 

Links to attractions in Mardela:

http://www.barrencreekheritage.org/

http://www.adkinsmuseum.com/tours

 

Links to attractions in Vienna:

Jeanne Cakes: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeanne-Cakes/181594495219783

Millie’s Roadhouse: http://www.tourdorchester.org/attraction.php?attraction=47

Vienna Heritage Museum: http://www.viennamd.org/vhf.html

Layton’s Chance Winery: http://www.laytonschance.com/

 

More information is also available under the “Along the Trail” tab in the menu at the top of the page.
Attractions near this trip itinerary can be found under the “Wicomico County” (for Mardela Springs) and the “Dorchester County” (for Vienna) drop-downs on each subpage.