Water Sources< Back
When day hiking portions of the Mason-Dixon Trail carrying water is pretty simple. You just take a water bottle or two or a Camelbak and you're good. However, when backpacking the Mason-Dixon Trail, whether it be for one night, a weekend, a week or an entire thru hike, you need to have water or you will have major issues.
When backpacking the Mason-Dixon Trail you need to treat all water found in springs, streams and rivers before you drink it. There is farm runnoff, industrial and commercial runnoff, acid rain and other factors that could make you very ill or worse if you drink untreated water. This page will first describe various ways to treat water along the M-DT. Then, we will describe stretches where there is no water, stretches where there is good water and stretches where there is just water or questionable water. A suggested level of water to carry along the M-DT is between 75 and 100 ounces for every 10 miles hiked.
Here are some ways that you can treat water while backpacking the M-DT. We do not endorse one way over another. Do the research and make an informed decision. There are water treatment drops that use chemicals to treat water in the backcountry. They are very light weight to carry. They work well but you may have to wait up to 30 minutes to drink your treated water. There are various types of gravity water filters on the market. Some use a replacable filter cartridge. These filters have a proven track record in outdoors water purification. The only downside is that you either have to carry a replacement filter cartridge with you when backpacking or risk having the filter clog and not be usable after so many hours of use. There are also water filters that utilize a ceramic filter cartridge. These cartridges, when they clog and accumulate enough sediment, can be cleaned with a course sponge multiple times. However, at some point, the cartridge element will wear away and need to be replaced. There are some mini inline water filters that utilize a micro filter membraine to filter water. They are very light and the extra replacement filter is small and also light to carry. The downside to these filters is that the volume of water filtered per minute is less than other types of filters. And there are some ultra-violet based water filters that use UV light to treat water. They are very light to carry but require a battery and/or occasional charging.
What follows is a high level description of water availability and quality along the Mason-Dixon Trail listed from west to east by map number. If you need a Mason-Dixon Trail mapset, Click Here. Mileage markers given are based on the M-DT 2016 map sets.
Map 1 Appalachian Trail at Whiskey Spring, PA to Pinchot State Park, PA- There is a stream at the western terminous. Map 1 lists a spring along Whiskey Springs RD. However, all of this stretch is private property so please respect the landowners on this stretch and don't go looking for the spring. There are 2 churches along this stretch where one could possibly get water. At mile 5.7 there is seasonal water in the rest rooms at Franklin Township Park. There is a trailer/RV dealer at US15 and Century Lane where one could possibly get some good water. There is no known water available between mile 6.3 and 10.0. There is good water available at Warrington Farm Meats. There are 2 streams between miles 12.5 and 13.1. There is no known water between miles 13.1 and 18.2.
Map 2- Pinchot Park at Squire Gratz Road, PA to Wago Junction at the Susquehanna River, PA- Between miles 0.0 and 7.1 there are streams, a lake, numerous rest rooms and water spikots. Between miles 7.1 Conley RD and 8.1 Bull RD there is no water. Water at 8.1 to 8.3 along Beaver Creek. There is water at mile 8.5 Boring Bridge but the gorge is very deep and very difficult to get to. So between miles 8.3 and 11.9 there is no known or easy to get to water. At mile 11.9 Steffes Corner there is a stream called Laurel Run. At mile 13.9 just before Greenspring RD there is a small stream called Pine Run. There is no known water between miles 13.9 and 15.4. At mile 15.4 you can get water at the Wendys, Rutters or the I83 Diner and Travel Plaza. There is no water between miles 15.4 and 17.0. Between miles 17.0 and 17.7 you will be walking parallel to Little Conewago Creek. Between miles 17.7 and 18.2 you will be walking parallel to Conewago Creek. Houses obscure water in creek between miles 17.9 and 18.2. There is technically no water between miles 18.2 and 22.3. However, at mile 20.3, you could keep walking on PA181 to the short and long term resupply points listed in the Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. You could probably also get water from the Police/Fire department or the country club along Board RD around miles 21 and 22 in a pinch.
Map 3- Wago Junction at the Susquehanna River, PA to Trinity Church Road South of Wrightsville, PA- There is water from Black Gut River Channel between miles 0 and 1.9, Codorus Creek at 3.9, Wildcat Run around mile 7, Dugan Run around mile 8, good water at the Accomac Inn at mile 10.6, the Broken Oar Tavern at mile 10.9, and west on PA462 at mile 14.3. It's probably a good idea to 'tank up' at this point. Then there is water at Krueutz Creek at mile 14.3. However, it is questionable since it is near a quarry. There is a small stream at mile 15.0. There is a culvert filled with water at mile 15.9. Then there is no known water between miles 15.9 and 17.9.
Map 4- Trinity Church Road South of Wrightsville, PA to Otter Creek Campground, PA- There is no known water between mile 0 and 3.4. There is water at Cabin Creek around mile 3.4. At mile 5.4 the trail is close to the Susquehanna River and water. There is also good water available at Shank's Mare. There is water at mile 6.0 at Fishing Creek. There is water at mile 7.5 Greenbranch Stream. There is water at Cuffs Run at mile 8.9. There is water at mile 11.2 in Apollo Park at Wilson Run and then at Mile 13.0 at Boyds Run. There is no water until mile 15.2 at Otter Creek, 16.8 just past Urey Overlook, mile 17.6 at Otter Creek and finally good water at mile 19.1 Otter Creek Campground.
Map 5- Otter Creek Campground, PA to PA - MD State Line- Between Sawmill Run and Furnace Run you have water between miles 0 and 1.5. There is no water between miles 1.5 and 4.0. Starting at the 'bamboo thicket' you have water from mile 4.0 to 6.9. There is water at mile 8.4 Mill Creek. There is water at mile 9.4 Anderson Creek. There is a sign at the rest rooms at mile 9.9 saying not to drink the rest room water. There is water at mile 10.0 Peavine Island. There is water at mile 11.6 Lock 15 and 11.8 boat launch. Then there is no water between mile 11.8 and 17.1 Muddy Creek. There is water between miles 17.1 and 19.9. There is no water between miles 19.9 and 24.7. There is water at the boat launch at mile 24.7. There is no water again until Michaels Run at 29.3 and a small stream at 30.0.
Map 6- PA - MD State Line to Quarry Road North of Havre de Grace, MD- There is no water between mile 0 and mile 2.9 Broad Creek. There is water at the mile 3.1 boat launch. No water again until mile 6.4 shoreline, then mile 6.6 Peddlers Run. There is good water at Glen Cove Marina. Around mile 7.2 there are 3 small streams. There are 2 small intermittant streams around mile 9.3. There is good water at mile 9.4 at the Conowingo Pool and Visitors Center. Between miles 10.9 and 14.0 there is indirect access to water along the Susquehanna River along the Greenway. Water at mile 15.3 within Susquehanna State Park campground. There is a small stream at mile 16.4. Then there is no known water between mile 16.4 and the end of this section at mile 21.3.
Map 7- Havre de Grace, MD to North East, MD- Between miles 0 and .9 there is water available from the Susquehanna River. There is a public rest room with water at mile 1.3. At mile 1.8 west of the Susquehanna River there are various businesses that one could obtain water. See the Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. At mile 1.8 east of the Susquehanna River there is water available at various businesses. Again, refer to the Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. At this point you should tank up on water. There is a stream called Mill Creek at mile 4.2. However, it is right next to a sewage treatment plant so this water source is questionable. One could possibly obtain water at an event center at mile 4.8 at the intersection of Ikea Way and MD7. One could also possibly obtain water at the church along MD 7 around mile 5.5. There is water at mile 6.8 Principio Creek but it is tough to get to and questionable due to farm runoff. The next water is a stream at mile 9.5 within the Principio Business Park. Another stream is crossed at mile 9.9. There is a stream at mile 11.9 called Stony Run where one could filter water. At this point there is no water available until you get to mile 12.8 from various businesses.
Map 8- North East, MD to Pleasant Valley Road, DE- At mile 0 refer to the Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site to obtain good water from local businesses. There is a stream at mile 2.3. At mile 4.4 there is water in Plum Pond Creek and Plum Pond. There is a stream at mile 4.8. At mile 7.2 there is water .5 miles to the right at Woodlands Camping Resort. There is no water between mile 7.2 and mile 10.8. At mile 10.8 there is water at Elk Creek. Water is available at various businesses in Elkton as per our Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. Between mile 13.1 and 13.6 there is water available at the fish propagation ponds. At mile 15.0 there are a number of businesses just past the left turn that one could obtain water from. There is no water between mile 15.0 and 16.4.
Map 9- Pleasant Valley Road, DE to White Clay Creek Preserve at London Tract Road, DE- There is water at mile .9 Muddy Run. There is then no water available until mile 5.2 along the Christina River. There should be water available until mile 10.5. At mile 11.4 there is water available at numerous businesses. Refer to our Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. At mile 12.6 you will be walking along a creek. At mile 18.2 there are rest room facilities with water. At mile 18.9 there is water at the park office. There is a stream at mile 20.1. There should be water available from various creeks between miles 16.1 and 21.9.
Map 10- White Clay Creek Preserve at London Tract Road, DE to Chadds Ford, PA- At mile 0 there is water at the east branch of White Clay Creek. There is a stream as well as water available from Hockessin Library at mile 4.3. At mile 5.0 water can be obtained from various businesses. please refer to our Food Resupply/Mail Drops page elsewhere on this site. Near mile 7.1 the trail crosses Red Clay Creek. The trail crosses a stream at mile 9.9. The trail crosses a stream and a pond inlet at mile 15.7. The trail crosses a stream at mile 16.7. At mile 16.8 there is water in Brandywine Creek, though access my be difficult. The trail passes a pond at mile 17.4. There is no water available until beyond the eastern terminous of the M-DT. There is water available from the Brandywine River. There is good water available about .54 miles north on US1 at the Brandywine River Museum of Art on the right and at a restaurant on the left.
Know of any other pertanant information about water sources that would help those planning a long distance hike along the Mason-Dixon Trail? If so, please send that information as well as any corrections or deletions to The Webmaster.
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