Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area is located along the scenic banks of the Sassafras River and Turner's Creek in Kent County and operated by the Maryland Park Service. The area is noted for the spectacular views of the Sassafras River and Chesapeake Bay from the high banks that face toward the South. Hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trail riding are popular activities. Birding enthusiasts will also find a surprising mix of songbirds, waterfowl and raptors on their visit. For history buffs, Knock's Folly, a federal style dwelling, is open on weekends from May through October with displays and information on the local farming community, Native Americans and the journeys of Captain John Smith in the Chesapeake Region and the Sassafras River.
Trails for Hiking, Biking and Equestrian Riding
The trail system at Sassafras is open to non-motorized trail users from Sunrise to Sunset. There are approximately 9 miles of trails that travel through a variety of terrain that includes old dirt roads, field edges and paths within the young forest. Visitors will also find additional trails at Turner’s Creek County Park. The trail systems interconnect near Turner's Creek Road. Trail users can enjoy several scenic vistas that provide views of the Sassafras River and long sloping hillsides of grain fields. A variety of wildlife species might surprise quiet hikers and riders as deer, rabbits, turkey and many songbirds travel on or across the same paths. Riders are asked to please take care and stay on the trails as the sloping hillsides are prone to erosion.
Picnicking at Sassafras
Picnicking is available at two locations. Visitors can take a break for lunch at Knock's Folly in the picnic grove or at the small pavilion by the pond near the parking area. Picnic tables and a pavilion are available at Turner's Creek County Park, a short distance from Knock's Folly. Restroom facilities are available at Turner's Creek County Park or at the vault toilet at the pond.
Knock's Folly Visitors Center
Henry Knock operated a granary and farm in the Turner's Creek Community. He began construction of the dwelling with the log cabin section in 1759. Donald Yeates purchased the property in 1770 and began planning construction of the larger Federal style portion. He passed away prior to completion of the house and his family completed the brick portion in 1796. The main portion of the house is a three story dwelling with one main room on each floor. Each main room has a fire place for warmth. The central staircase is open from the first floor to the attic. A large front porch provides a resting place and shade from the summer sun.
Knock's Folly is open as a Visitor Center on Saturdays and Sundays (May through September) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exhibits highlight the history of the farming community, the local Native American Tockwogh tribe and the visit of Captain John Smith to the Turner's Creek area. Future exhibits under development will focus on the rich natural history and wildlife of the Sassafras area.
Sassafras NRMA has excellent opportunities for hunting. White Tailed Deer hunting is available during most of the legal hunting seasons. Small game species abound and a limited season is permitted. Waterfowl hunting from blinds is available via lottery. Applications and Information is available in the Maryland Hunting Guide or by calling the park office at 410-820-1668. Trapping is not permitted on the Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area.
Hunters may enter / remain on park property outside of the regular posted hours provided that they are engaged in legitimate, authorized hunting activity.
Fishing at Sassafras
Anglers can try their hand at freshwater pond fishing at the small pond located near the parking area. The pond maintains a healthy population of large mouth bass and blue gill. Fishing is also available along the shores of the Sassafras River or in the dynamic tidal pond. Species that may be caught include catfish, large mouth bass, perch, pan fish and striped bass. Appropriate Maryland licenses are required for fishing on Sassafras NRMA.
Youth Group Camping
Primitive youth group camping is available during the camping season from May through October. The site has picnic tables, grills and fire rings. Groups must bring in their own potable water. To reserve the site, call the main park office at 410-820-1668.
- Pets are allowed in Sassafras NRMA.
Local Areas of Interest
Kent County Museum
The Kent County Museum is located on Turner's Creek Road across the road from the Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area. The museum focuses on farming history and has an interesting display of vintage farming equipment and household goods. The museum is open the third Saturday of every month and can be contacted at 410-348-9149.
Turner's Creek County Park
Turner's Creek County Park has a variety of facilities including a picnic pavilion, trails, historic tree grove and restroom facilities. A boat ramp is available for launching small craft, kayaks and power vessels. A county ramp permit is required. Fishing is also available along the shoreline at the ramp. There are two historic buildings at Turners Creek. The Lathim House, a wooden dwelling was at one time a store for the local community and was built in the early 1700’s. The Granary, which is located along the landing at Turners Creek, was at one time used to house grain and crops for local farmers. Sail and Steam powered cargo ships would make scheduled stops and haul the grains to Baltimore or other markets along the Chesapeake Bay.
For more information on Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area, please contact the main park office at 410-820-1668.
Knock’s Folly Visitors Center
13761 Turners Creek Road
Kennedyville, MD 21645
Directions - Sassafras NRMA is located near Kennedyville, Maryland in Kent County on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
From the North: Travel south on Rt. 301. Turn right on Rt. 313 toward Galena. In Galena, turn left on Rt. 213 and travel for approximately 2 miles and turn right on Rt. 298. Travel approximately one mile and turn on Turner's Creek Road. Go approximately one mile to Sassafras, Knock's Folly and Turner's Creek County Park.
From the South: Travel north from Chestertown on Rt. 213. When you reach Kennedyville, turn left on Kennedyville Road. Cross Rt. 298 and go approximately one mile to Sassafras, Knock's Folly and Turner's Creek County Park.
Hours of Operation
Sunrise to Sunset
Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.
Contact the Park Service
- Toll Free: 1-800-830-3974
- Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
- Park Watch: 1-800-825-7275
- Email Us