Two loop water trails are under development on Virginia's Eastern Shore: the Onancock Creek Loop Trail and the Saxis Water Trail Loop. These trails will soon provide tremendous paddling opportunities for experiencing this special part of the Chesapeake Bay.
Onancock Creek Loop Trail: Paddlers can launch a canoe or kayak from the town of Onancock's public dock and enjoy a 14 mile roundtrip to the mouth of the Bay and Parker's Marsh. A kayak friendly dock will be built in 2005 at the White/Ingleside park across the street. A water trail guide/map will be available to the public in September of 2005.
Saxis Water Trail Loop: Saxis Wildlife Management Area (WMA) contains more than 5,800 acres of marshland and creeks bounded by the Pocomoke Sound and salt and freshwater creeks. Thousands of migrating shorebirds, waterfowl, marsh birds and land birds use the area as a stopover. The WMA is managed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for hunting, fishing and other activities. A water trail guide/map for paddling the area will be available to the public in September of 2005. The WMA is next to the town of Saxis and Its salt marshes are ideal habitat for black ducks, clapper rails and black rails, but a navigation challenge even for experienced watermen and hunters. First time visitors are encouraged to use an outfitter or guide and avoid paddling during hunting season.
Boat ramps along both developing water trails are open during daylight hours. Some areas of Saxis WMA are seasonally restricted.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
County and VDGIF boat ramps in and around Saxis are free of charge. Onancock public dock charges $5 for launching powerboat; canoes and kayaks are free of charge.
Onancock Creek Loop Trail: Paddlers can launch a canoe or kayak from the town of Onancock's public dock and enjoy a 14 mile roundtrip to the mouth of the Bay and Parker's Marsh. Enjoy the view of farmland, trees, marsh and birds by paddling outside the main channel, but respect the rights of private property owners along the creek. Find out more about other activities in the town of Onancock.
Saxis Water Trail Loop: Saxis Wildlife Management Area provides opportunities for hunting, saltwater fishing, and bird-watching. In addition to geese and the wide array of ducks, there are grebes, loons, herons, egrets, shorebirds and songbirds to be seen on the area. Public boat launch ramps are available at Saxis, Messongo Creek and Marsh Market.
For a list of outfitters serving the Eastern Shore, call (757) 787-2786.
For fishing and crabbing, have the proper permits and know species limits (numbers and size). Rules can change monthly.
Please check weather forecast before your departure. High winds create dangerous conditions for small boats.
Currently, there are no maps and guides available for both the Onancock Creek Loop Trail and the Saxis Water Trail Loop trails of the Virginia Eastern Shore Water Trails. We'll make sure to provide access to resources as they become available.