Discover the 5 Best Rivers for Whitewater Rafting in Maryland

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: September 13, 2023
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If you’ve been looking for a thrilling outdoor excursion in Maryland, look no further. Whitewater rafting is an exhilarating sport that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. Visit one of the many rivers throughout the state to paddle around and enjoy the stunning views of Maryland. 

Many creeks in the area lead to rivers, giving rafters a series of rapid classes. Whether you’re looking for something the whole family will enjoy, or a trip to give you an adrenaline rush, take a look at the best rivers for whitewater rafting below.  

1. Anacostia River – Northwest Branch

A view of the Anacostia River in Maryland. Landscape

The Anacostia River is less than nine miles long!


American Whitewater has rated this eight-mile stretch of the Anacostia River – Northwest Branch in Maryland with class one through three rapids. This mid-length route is appropriate for a journey in the late afternoon to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Because there are class I and II rapids, this could be a great place to start if you’ve never gone whitewater rafting before. There are numerous locations in this region for kayaking and whitewater rafting. Around the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, camping is available. Overall, it’s an excellent choice to experience Maryland and see wildlife

2. Antietam Creek

The scenic beauty of Antietam Creek that runs through Mount Alto State Park, Michaux State Forest, Franklin County,  Pennsylvania.

Antietam Creek extends into Pennsylvania.

©Scenic Corner/

Hagerstown-Martinsburg is not far from the put-in spot for Antietam Creek. The journey that eventually leads to the Potomac River is 11 miles long. It is classified by American Whitewater as a class I-II portion. 

It runs from Highway 68 to the Potomac River. The stretch from Highway 68 to the Potomac River is merely one of several possibilities for paddling in this river system. The huge trees on the shores of Antietam Creek, which is considerably narrower than the Potomac River, extend over the water to produce lengthy expanses of canopy, refreshing shade, and the impression of isolation and closeness to nature. 

Many beautiful and noteworthy locations, including century-old farmhouses, arching stone bridges, and deserted rail bridge piers, can be seen as you move along the water’s edge. 

3. Bennett Creek

Flowing river waterfall Bennett Spring

400 acres of parkland surround Bennett Creek.

©RobJohn Photography/

On this journey, you’ll spend approximately three to three and a half hours kayaking across sawgrass wetlands and sporadic small islands on broad coastal waters. Several of these are islands with higher shell middens that have fascinating plant life. 

Outfitters will arrange for visitors to stop at a few of the smaller, higher islands so they can stretch, eat, and take in some of the plant life. In this kind of setting, winds are the biggest worry. Outfitters won’t put in on extremely windy days. 

American Whitewater has decided that this eight-mile length of Bennett Creek in Maryland is class I-II portions. People come to Frederick County because of its breathtaking scenery and the lovely way the water flows through the stream. 

4. Casselman River

Casselman River Bridge, Maryland

Casselman River is 55 miles long.

©Hawkeye Aerial Imaging/

From Somerset, the put-in place is only a short drive away. If you move quickly, you can complete this whitewater rafting journey in a single day, but why not extend it? If you do, make sure to take a sleeping bag. 

There are numerous paddling parts in this river system, one of which is from MD Route 485 to Salisbury, PA. Naturally, there are also campers close by. This area provides beautiful views that you won’t find in other places in Maryland. 

Whether you’re on a raft with a group or kayaking solo, the Casselman River is a great place to spend an afternoon. This trip is just under 12 miles long. It has been classified with class I and class II rapids, making it a great option for novice paddlers. 

5. Deep Creek

Deep Creek Lake Maryland

Boating in all forms is exceptionally popular here.

©Infinitum Imagery/

If you’ve read this far, you’re in for a treat. Deep Creek is easily the best spot to raft in Maryland. It is the sole mountaintop whitewater circuit on the planet. Thousands of people travel to Maryland every year to experience Deep Creek for themselves. 

This artificial river is situated at the peak of Wisp Resort on Marsh Mountain. Controlling the water and the magnitude of the rapids is what keeps the route special. Therefore, it’s fantastic for expert-led whitewater rafting excursions, kayaking, or private sailing. 

This spot is excellent for everyone, regardless of your level of experience or desire to attempt paddling. Precision Rafting is an outfitter that is situated in Friendsville, MD about 15 minutes away from Deep Creek Lake. 

These top-notch rafting excursions leave from Friendsville and proceed around the numerous rivers in the region. There are easy routes for beginners, action-packed routes for those looking for a thrill, and extreme rapids for the adrenaline junkie in your life. 

Summary of the Best Rivers For Whitewater Rafting in Maryland

RiverClass Type
Anacostia RiverOne through five
Antietam CreekOne and two
Bennett CreekOne and two 
Casselman RiverOne through three 
Deep CreekOne through five 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tara Ballard/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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