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The Absolute Best Hiking Trails Near Deep Creek Lake

The Best Hiking Trails Near Deep Creek Lake

There are so many great things to do in Deep Creek Lake but hiking is perhaps the most popular activity. These are the best hiking trails near Deep Creek Lake!

Garrett County and the state parks in the Deep Creek Lake area offers some amazing trails for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. Going for a hike is a great way to reconnect with Mother Nature and create fantastic memories.

hiking trails near deep creek lake

Deep Creek Lake State Park

Many people visit Deep Creek Lake State Park for the sandy beach and water access, but there are also some great hiking trails.. and many of them are easy enough for kids to tackle too!

You can go hiking too and there are great options for kid friendly trails. Most of these trails are not only great for hiking, but also biking and snowshoeing in the winter! Pick up a trail map at the Ranger Station before you head out so you don’t get lost.

Deep Creek Lake

Beckman’s Trail 

This is an easy 2 mile trail and probably the most popular trail in the park. Follow the Red blaze and you will not only hike through some gorgeous forest, but the trail has historical significance too. This is also the Brant Mine trail and the trail runs right by the Brant Coal Mine.

To get to the trail, start at the day-use overflow parking lot and follow the Meadow Mountain Trail back once you get to the end of the Beckman’s Trail.

Snakeroot Trail

If you are looking for a short trail, this is a great one! This is a very easy 1/4 mile trail. You can access this short loop via the Meadow Mountain Trail. This trail is more an interpretive nature trail than anything else. You can pick up a brochure in the Ranger Station and learn about the plant life in Garrett County.

Discovery/Sensory Trail

This lovely sensory trail follows right along the water. It’s only 1/5 mile long (so perfect for really young kids). Start at the Discovery Center and just follow the lake. If you keep walking you will eventually make it to the beach area. However, don’t miss the playground and aviary along the way!

The Discovery Center at Deep Creek Lake State Park is a great nature center too. Your kids (and you) will love hanging out and learning about the wildlife in Garrett County.

Indian Turnip Trail 

This 4.5 mile trail is rated as moderate and great for hikers who want a little more of a challenge. Follow the Orange Blaze for this trail and be prepared to hike uphill a bit. This is a rocky trail that features about 600 ft in elevation before it levels out at the top of the ridge. 

The Indian Turnip flowers are particularly lovely in the Spring. Park at the Ranger Station and combine this trail with the Meadow Mountain or Beckman’s Trail for a complete loop.

Meadow Mountain Trail

Another moderate trail for more experienced hikers. This is a 5.5 mile trail that lines up along a roadbed. There are fantastic wildflowers in the summer and this is a popular trail for snowshoeing in the Winter. 

Swallow Falls State Park

Swallow Falls State Park is EPIC! Seriously, this is now my favorite Maryland State Park! There are 4 (!!!!) amazing waterfalls in a very kid friendly hike that is less than 2 miles long!

The Canyon Trail is the main trail and it’s a very easy trail. Once you walk through the main gate sign, you can veer right or veer left. Trust me… go to the right. Muddy Creek Falls is a quick walk to the left, but if you want to see all four waterfalls (you do), going right will not only take you to all of them (Tolliver Falls can be a little tricky to find), but for the most part you will be doing the hike all downhill instead of all uphill. Also, you start with the shortest and end with the biggest falls.

Tolliver Falls is really gorgeous. Saying it’s a small waterfall is kind of dismissive. It’s beautiful and pours into a pool of water that would be great for splashing around in the summer.

If you do the Canyon Trail counter-clockwise you will hit Tolliver Falls, then Lower Swallow Falls. Continue your hike along the river. There are spots you can walk up higher above the river, but we loved taking the river side trail. There are plenty of places to walk down to the river and see the falls, etc… from different angles. Doing your hike counter-clockwise also means you will see the smaller waterfalls before you get to the largest waterfall.

Maybe the rain contributed to the impressiveness of the falls, but we loved Lower Swallow Falls as much as Upper Swallow Falls. The Youghiogheny River was so powerful!

As you hike along the trail, the rock formations are just super impressive too.. as is the 300 year old Hemlock grove of trees. Super fun to explore!

Muddy Creek Falls

Finally, the piece de resistance! Muddy Creek Falls does not disappoint. Wow. It’s so powerful. Check it out from below and up top! There are some seriously breathtaking views of the falls!

There is a wheelchair accessible viewing platform at the top of Muddy Creek Falls! This is super cool! If this applies to you, you can drive much further into the park, and take the nice boardwalk trail (wheelchair friendly) to the viewing platform. I was really impressed with this.

Herrington Manor State Park

There are 12 mile of hiking trails inside Herrington Manor State Park. One of the more popular hikes is a 5.5 mile (one way) hike that connects Herrington Manor State Park with Swallow Falls State Park. 

There are four main trails that range from easy to moderate difficulty. The trails are wide and grassy, and are used for cross country skiing in the winter. 

Herrington Manor Park Loop is an easy 3.4 mile loop that is well maintained and there are some great views of the small lake!

The Rock Maze

About 10 minute drive away from Swallow Falls State Park is a super cool and relatively unknown (although that’s changing) place affectionately called the Rock Maze. Check. This. Out! It’s an explorer’s play land!! And yes, it really is a maze, albeit a maze that is very much off the beaten path. This trail, along with many of the other trails in this area are part of the greater Garrett State Forest.

Basically, you hike out about 1/2 mile through a pretty but relatively non-descript forest trail. Then BAM! You come up on all these boulders that seemingly were dropped in the forest by mountain trolls thousands of years ago.

How to Find the Rock Maze Trail and not get lost!

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. 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!

hiking trails near deep creek lake

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.

The trailhead for the Rock Maze is not well marked. Use the address below and when you get there, look for a small parking area. The trail is well worn and obvious, but apparently not well marked to discourage overuse by mountain bikers. The hike out to the Rock Maze is basically flat and even little kids can easily do this. There are zero facilities here. Go potty before you head out!

Address (plug this into GPS):

3739 Snaggy Mountain Rd

Oakland, MD 21550

New Germany State Park

This gorgeous state park in Grantsville has 10 miles of trails that go through various terrain like hemlock and pine forests, along the river, and more! The trails are wide enough for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter too. Here are some of the more popular trails:

The Turnpike

This is an easy .8 mile trail that follow the Poplar Lick native brook trout stream. This is a great hike for kids and is a favorite with beginner mountain bikers and skiers as well. The bike trail is basically the same as the hiking trail.

Gazebo Loop

Another super easy .8 mile hike that features a unique log gazebo. The gazebo is located on a cliff and has great views of the river.

The sandy beach area has some great picnic areas .

hiking trails near deep creek lake

Savage River State Forest

There are more than 54,000 acres of wild forest in this area of Maryland. This trail system is meant for more experienced hikers. However, there are still some very popular trails for hikers of all abilities. 

The most popular trail is the Meadow Mountain Trail. This moderate 12 mile trail was originally created as a fire control measure and parts of it are approved for off-road vehicle use. The trail follows the crest of Meadow Mountain and there is a gorgeous overlook, also referred to as the top of meadow mountain. A spur trail that is 1.5 miles roundtrip gives access to the overlook. 

What else is there to do in the Deep Creek Lake area?

The entire Deep Creek area has a small town vibe to it. You can check out Oakland or McHenry for some great family fun ideas.. and awesome restaurants. In the summer, Wisp Resort has tons of fun activities like the Mountain Coaster, challenge courses, and the gondola ride. Garrett County is really a great spot for family fun for a day trip, weekend, or even longer!

Related: For more info on hiking in Deep Creek Lake area, check out Garrett Trails!

Now that you have checked out the best hiking trails near Deep Creek Lake, check out these fun ideas too!

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