Western Maryland is home to a secret trail of great rock formations that will wow you and your kids. The Rock Maze Trail in the Garrett State Forest is located about 10 minutes away from both Swallow Falls State Park and Herrington Manor State Park, but most people have not heard of this hiking trail and if you don’t know how to get there, it is likely you won’t be able to find the trail head.
This guide will tell you about this super cool place and give you insider tips on how to find it! You will definitely want to find it because it’s an explorer’s play land.. and yes, it’s really a maze!
How to Find the Rock Maze Trail
There Isn’t A Big Sign Announcing The Rock Maze Trail. Actually, the only sign is a small trailhead sign that says: 3739 Snaggy Mountain Road, next to a fairly small parking lot area.
If there isn’t parking available in the lot, you can park along the side of the road. Walk to the trailhead sign and you will find the trail is well worn and obvious, just not glaringly obvious. There is an effort to discourage overuse by mountain bikers.
This is a super kid friendly trail and even small children could probably handle it. It is a short hike to the rock maze, clocking in at about 1 miles round trip.
The trail to the maze is relatively flat (but not stroller friendly) and goes through an old growth forest area. The forest bed has a fern meadow that is quite peaceful. If you time in right you can also see wildflowers along the path.
The trail to the maze is fairly standard, but as you are walking, all of a sudden- BAM!– you come up on all these boulders that seemingly were dropped into the forest by mountain trolls a thousand years ago.
Once you arrive, drop a pin in your starting point because you will very easily get lost. Don’t worry.. no one has ever stayed lost. But there are so many nooks and crannies to explore, you can get turned around.
You will be completely mesmerized by the massive boulders which seem to be stacked on top of each other like a set of blocks for a giant’s child.
Tall person alert!– the brush overgrowth around the outskirts is very low… my tall husband was not a fan of the low crouching to get through it. Lol. Anyway, this is not the place to lose sight of your kids. … because you might lose sight of them for a while!
Check out the vegetation though! The way the trees have grown up over the boulders is absolutely fascinating and really lends an aura of mystery and excitement to the experience. It seems like some of the tree branches and roots have grown in a way that wraps around the boulders.
For a trail area that is only 1/2 mile from the parking area, you really feel like you are deep in the forest. In the springtime especially, green moss covers the boulders and the forest is just so incredibly green.
There are zero facilities here. Go potty before you head out!
There is not an entrance fee and the hours are generally dawn until dusk. This trail is generally a day use area trail.
The Rock Maze trail is definitely not a strenuous hike and it’s one of our favorite trails in the Deep Creek Lake area. This short trail is a great place to go either before or after a trip to Swallow Falls State Park.
Plug this address into your GPS: 3739 Snaggy Mountain Rd; Oakland, MD 21550
Or click here for the Google Map link
Typically dawn until dusk. However, this is a mostly unmanaged area of the Garrett State Forest.
Nope. This hike is completely free!
There are no restrooms or port-a-potties. Go the the bathroom before heading to this trail.
There is a small parking area next to the trailhead. If that is full, you can park along the side of the road too.
Dogs are permitted on the Rock Maze Trail but they must be leashed.