How Deep Is the Patuxent River?

Written by Sandy Porter
Published: October 21, 2023
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Entirely contained in the state of Maryland, the Patuxent is a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The Potomac River and the Patapsco Rivers also feed the bay, as the other major tributaries of the state. But just how deep is the Patuxent River at its deepest point? Where does that spot fall? What animals might be found in or near the waters?

Let’s take a look.

How Deep is the Patuxent River?

Autumn foliage glows in early morning light along the Patuxent River at Scotts Cove Recreation Area, Maryland.

How deep is the Patuxent River at its deepest? A massive 175 feet when it reaches to the Chesapeake Bay.

©Robert A. Powell/

Flowing for 110 miles, the Patuxent River reached the Chesapeake Bay with a mouth over one mile wide at this point. Here, the river is also its deepest, sinking down to 175 feet deep. This makes it the deepest river in Maryland, overall, and the deepest point of the Chesapeake estuary.

Where is the Deepest Point of the Patuxent River?

Marking the boundaries between Montgomery, Charles, St. Mary’s and Prince George’s counties to the west and Anne Arundel, Calvert, and Howard counties to the east, the deepest part of Patuxent River rests right at the Chesapeake Bay.

How Long is the Patuxent River?

Mouth of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay in the Distance

The stunning Patuxent River is one of the largest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. This is the portion of the river where it reaches its deepest depth.

©James Flynt/

The Patuxent River runs for 110 miles, from the historic town of Mt. Airy at the Piedmont Plateau to Chesapeake Bay.

Tributaries of the Patuxent River

The Patuxent River has three major tributaries: the Little Patuxent River, the Middle Patuxent River, and the Western Branch.

Animals Along the Patuxent River

Beautiful colours of a monk parakeet

It might surprise you to learn, but a species of parrot actually lives near the Patuxent River! The stunning, bright monk


calls Maryland and other surprising states home.

©Roel van Moorsel/

As you make your way along the Patuxent River, you could spot numerous wild animals. From turtles to orioles, they come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

  • Baltimore orioles
  • Striped bass
  • Blue crab
  • Diamondback terrapin
  • Little brown bats
  • Wilson’s storm petrels
  • Grebes
  • Geese
  • Swans
  • Teals
  • Shovelers
  • Wigeons
  • Scaups
  • Eiders
  • Ducks
  • Stilts
  • Avocets
  • Egrets
  • Herons
  • Bitterns
  • Storks
  • Roseate spoonbills
  • White ibis
  • Skuas
  • Gulls
  • Jaegers
  • Shearwaters
  • Terns
  • Tropicbirds
  • Yellow-nosed albatross
  • Loons
  • Sandpipers
  • Curlews
  • Godwits
  • Turnstones
  • Eagles
  • Ospreys
  • Falcons
  • Hawks
  • Kites
  • Vultures
  • Owls
  • Flycatchers
  • Kingbirds
  • Monk parakeets
  • Corn snakes
  • Eastern rat snakes
  • Common garter snakes
  • Eastern copperheads
  • Timber rattlesnakes
  • Eastern snapping turtles
  • Eastern mud turtles
  • Musk turtles
  • Box turtles
  • Painted turtles
  • Eastern spiny soft-shelled turtle
  • Red-bellied cooter turtles
  • Skinks
  • Racerunners
  • Bullfrogs
  • Mountain chorus frogs
  • Jefferson salamanders
  • Norther slimy salamanders
  • Red salamanders
  • Mudpuppies
  • Coyotes
  • Gray foxes
  • Red foxes
  • Black bears
  • Seals
  • Bobcats
  • Snakehead fish
  • Carp
  • Perch
  • Pikes
  • Silversides
  • Whitefish
  • Catfish
  • American eels
  • Eastern chipmunk
  • Eastern gray squirrels
  • Burrowing groundhog
  • Muskrat
  • Flying squirrel
  • Marsh rice rat
  • Beavers
  • American porcupines
  • Snowshoe hares
  • Black-tailed jackrabbits
  • Appalachian cottontail rabbits
  • Eastern cottontail rabbits
  • Minks
  • American river otters
  • American ermines
  • Least weasels

How Does the Patuxent River Compare to Other Tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay?

Five major tributaries feed the Chesapeake Bay: the Patuxent, James, York, Potomac, Susquehanna, and the Rappahannock rivers. The Patuxent stands as the longest and deepest river to feed the bay, with the 937-square mile Patuxent River Basin encompassing nearly 10-percent of the surface area of Maryland.

Compared to the Patuxent River, the other four rivers are still continued major tributaries, but they don’t provide nearly as much of the water rushing in as the Patuxent. Additionally, nearly 100,000 streams, creeks, and rivers, total, run through the Chesapeake watershed.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Robert A. Powell/

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About the Author

Sandy Porter is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering house garden plants, mammals, reptiles, and birds. Sandy has been writing professionally since 2017, has a Bachelor’s degree and is currently seeking her Masters. She has had lifelong experience with home gardens, cats, dogs, horses, lizards, frogs, and turtles and has written about these plants and animals professionally since 2017. She spent many years volunteering with horses and looks forward to extending that volunteer work into equine therapy in the near future. Sandy lives in Chicago, where she enjoys spotting wildlife such as foxes, rabbits, owls, hawks, and skunks on her patio and micro-garden.

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