Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Rivers in Maryland

Have you ever wondered how many rivers there are in Maryland? That question, however, is one that has no absolute answer, because there is no quantitative definition of "river." In general, rivers are bigger than creeks, and creeks are bigger than brooks. But how big does a creek have to be before we call it a river? There is no widely or generally accepted answer to this question. In fact, some so-called "creeks" may be bigger than some named "rivers."

In an effort to provide an answer to the question of how many rivers there are in Maryland, it was arbitrarily decided to simply count those bodies of water having "river" as part of their names. The names listed below were taken from the Official State Highway Map of Maryland. Rivers with branches (e.g., North, Middle and South Branches of the Patapsco River) are included only once in this listing. The numbers 1-42 refer to the numbered locations (approximate) on the map below. 

Rivers in Maryland
(links lead to more information beyond MGS)
1 Youghiogheny 12 South 23 Bohemia 34 Transquaking
2 Casselman 13 Severn 24 Sassafras 35 Chicamacomico
3 Savage 14 Magothy 25 Chester 36 Honga
4 Potomac 15 Patapsco 26 Corsica 37 Nanticoke
5 Monocacy 16 Back 27 Wye 38 Wicomico
6 Anacostia 17 Middle 28 Wye East 39 Manokin
7 Port Tobacco 18 Gunpowder 29 Miles 40 Big Annemessex
8 Wicomico 19 Bush 30 Tred Avon 41 Pocomoke
9 St. Mary's 20 Susquehanna 31 Choptank 42 Saint Martin
10 Patuxent 21 North East 32 Little Choptank  
11 West 22 Elk 33 Blackwater
Index Map of Maryland's Rivers
Index Map of Maryland's Rivers

Compiled by the Maryland Geological Survey, 2300 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
This electronic version of "Fact Sheet No.3 " was prepared by R.D. Conkwright, Division of Coastal and Estuarine Geology, Maryland Geological Survey. Please send comments on this page to Dale Shelton (