Falling water is one of nature’s most captivating sights, and Maryland has no shortage of stunning waterfalls to explore.
From Cunningham Falls State Park in north-central Frederick County to Swallow Falls State Park in Garrett County, Maryland offers plenty of scenic spots to hike and enjoy waterfalls.
The Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. This dramatic scene makes Great Falls and Mather Gorge a popular destination for locals as well as tourists from around the world.
This mighty river has been a gathering place for American Indians since prehistoric times, where they would honor the river spirit with ceremonies and trade. It also became an important trading route for colonists.
In the 18th century, George Washington designed a canal that skirted the Falls and created the first navagible waterway in this country. Despite the challenges of this project, it was instrumental in expanding trade with the West and helped the nation grow.
Swallow Falls State Park, a 257-acre preserve north of Oakland in the extreme western part of the state, features some of Maryland’s most spectacular scenery and waterfalls. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park’s borders, passing through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids.
You’ll also find tall hemlocks that plow through the silent woods, and the state’s highest waterfall at a crashing 53 feet: Muddy Creek Falls. The Youghiogheny is the only official wild and scenic river in Maryland, meaning its beauty changes over time.
Swallow Falls is a popular destination for hiking and fishing, but the park also offers nature programs, cabins, and campsites. You can even camp out under the stars, a special experience for families.
Swallow Falls State Park is home to Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall, Muddy Creek Falls. It’s surrounded by tall hemlock trees and a spectacular old-growth forest that is ablaze with color in the fall.
This is a great spot for a family adventure. There are plenty of trails to choose from for a fun hike, and there are several viewpoints to take amazing pictures of the falls.
While the trails aren’t as well maintained as some of the other spots on our list, they’re still worth checking out if you have a chance to visit. The main trail is 1.25 miles long, and there are several spots to stop along the way for a nice view.
The trail also leads you to Muddy Creek Falls, which is a gorgeous sight no matter the season. The falls are 53 feet high and can be seen from several different viewpoints.
If you’re looking for a unique destination in Maryland, check out Gilpin’s Falls. It’s a beautiful waterfall that is located on the North East Creek and has a covered bridge that is one of six remaining in the state.
The waterfall is located just north of Cecil College and is a fun family adventure for those who are interested in hiking. You can start by parking on the side of a road near a very old covered bridge that will take you to the top of the waterfall.
Once you get to the top of the falls, take some time to explore this natural wonder. You’ll find a few rock formations and some ruins from the area’s milling history. During your visit, you can also try to spot some wildlife in the area. There are also a few picnic areas and some outdoor activities you can participate in while you’re there. You can even rent a kayak or a canoe to take on the water!