Elk River

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Elk River Today

  Elk River is a lovely river, but it's location near the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal means that the recreational boater encounters a lot of commercial traffic, especially barges. The river is also more developed than the Northeast or Sassafras, especially near the river's head.

  Smith explored all the way up to the town of Elkton, MD, but today the headwaters have silted in and Elkton is no longer accessible by boat. However, the river is worth a quick peek and is a nice place to anchor for lunch, swim, fish or waterski.

Elk Neck State Park

   Approximately 2 miles upriver on the western shore is Elk Neck State Park's Rogue's Harbor, where you can dinghy ashore and go hiking or enjoy the nearby beach. There is also a snack bar and angler's store. See: Elk Neck State Park

Bohemia River

   Smith chose not to explore the Bohemia River, which ironically became home to the next famous Chesapeake map maker, Augustine Herrman. He produced the next major Chesapeake map in 1670. Veazey Cove, the first cove on the southern shore offers a scenic anchorage, a nice beach and protection from commercial traffic. 

For details see: Augustine Herriman 

Cross Controversy

   If you are interested in trying to find the correct location of Smith's Elk River Cross yourself, the most convenient places to hire a cab are from the town of Northeast off the Northeast River or Chesapeake City off the C and D Canal (Both are 8 miles away from Elkton.) If you wish to visit by bike, Triton Marina, off Plum Point, on the Elk River is about an 8 mile ride from Iron Hill Park, DE.

See: Topo Map of Elkton

Smith's 1612 Map



Elk River 1608

   The Elk River is one of the few places on the Chesapeake where Smith's map does not fit nicely with today's topography. Perhaps some of the discrepency is due to the building of the C and D Canal and its affect on the river's currents.

    Smith either missed the Bohemian River -- hard to believe -- or maps it much further upstream than it is in reality. To see one theory of how Smith's map can be stretched to fit today's topography go to:



Where's Peregryn's Mount?

  Historians disagree where Smith's cross is located. Some believe that Smith hiked up Elk Creek for a couple miles and climbed Gray's Hill, the only hill you can see from the creek bed.

  Other's say that the Peregryn's Mount is farther East and is today's Iron Hill, DE, which provides a much better vista. (George Washington used it to spy on the British coming up the Bay.) However Iron Hill is in a different watershed and can't easily be seen from the Elk River.

  Still other's believe that Peregryn's Mount is more north at Fair Hill, MD.

   A key question is whether Smith's mapping of Delaware Bay is from Indians' descriptions or from his own eyes. See links to left.


See Smith's journals:

Northeast Journals