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The Absolute Best Places To See Fall Foliage In Maryland

The Absolute Best Places To See Fall Foliage In Maryland

Maryland may be best known for the Eastern Shore and delicious crabs, but don’t miss the chance to see Maryland shine at peak fall foliage time! From the C&O Canal to Seneca State Park, Maryland has attractive places to take in the fall viewing of leaves changing colors.

Maryland’s color changes tend to peak in mid- to late-October, so make your plans to take full advantage of the beauty. Here are our picks for the best places to see fall foliage in Maryland!

Related: The Ultimate Fall Fun In Maryland Guide!

fall foliage in maryland

C&O Canal 

Once, it served as a lifeline for transportation needs along the Potomac River. The canal ran nearly 185 miles long. Today, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park serves as a reminder of times past while providing visitors an area to enjoy nature and history.

It affords a perfect route to enjoy fall foliage as it changes colors in October. The route follows along the canal’s old towpath. As you visit, check out Billy Goat Trail, which includes an opportunity for rock climbing as well as hiking.

The trail has other trails that offshoot from it, so be prepared for whatever type of hiking you’d like to do. Or, just enjoy the drive among the colorful leaves clinging for life on the threes hugging the roadway.



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Deep Creek Lake/Swallow Falls State Park

Deep Creek Lake is Maryland’s largest lake, with nearly 40 miles of shoreline. Situated among the mountains in western Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is a four-season lake, and provides majestic views of the autumn colors.

Deep among the changing trees are several state lakes, including Swallow Falls State Park. With a 53-foot waterfall along the Youghiogheny River, Swallow Falls State Park has some of the best scenery in the state. Hike area trails to take in the fresh air and the beauty of fall up-close. Stay at any of the area resorts or hotels and make a weekend trip of your leaf adventure.


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Sugarloaf Mountain

Located a short drive from Gaithersburg in Dickerson, Sugarloaf Mountain is the result of erosion that took about 14 million years to create. Today, the 1,282-feet mountain offers nature enthusiasts an opportunity to hike unique areas and marvel at the beauty of the landscape, knowing it’s a special geologic gift to the world. As you hike through the woods, enjoying the colors and nature, be on the lookout for wildlife such as white-tailed deer. 


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Maybe not quite known as a fall leafing destination, but it may be the best time to visit Annapolis. Home to the US Naval Academy, a walking tour in the crisp air and changing leaves create a memorable experience.

With temperatures still warm enough for some water activities, such as kayaking, visitors will have the area to themselves as the summer crowds have returned home. The Naval Academy isn’t the only place to admire the fall foliage;  the annual renaissance festival takes place at Greenstreet Gardens, which offers its own nature views.


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Chestertown is a great town to use as an anchor to take in the fall colors along the Eastern Shore. A short drive is the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge, home to several birds, including ospreys and bald eagles, as well as impressive fall foliage. The refuge’s trails offer excellent views of the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay

If you prefer a nice drive in the country, hop in the auto and head along one of the scenic byways to take in the sights and sounds of fall. The Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway are two impressive routes to follow. Running more than 120 miles, the Tubman byway includes 36 attractions along the way, where you can stop and learn history while taking in fall colors.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

The lush forests of the various parts of Gunpowder Falls State Park are gorgeous in the fall. A particularly gorgeous area for fall foliage is the Hammerman Area, where you can enjoy the autumn colors alongside the beach!

Seneca Creek State Park

Stretching along 14 miles of Seneca Creek, Seneca Creek State Park and in particular, Clopper Lake, is the perfect place to see breathtaking fall colors.
The view of the trees reflecting in the water of Clopper Lake is unforgettable.

Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State park is a great place to go for a fall hike and the fall colors area amazing, both around the waterfall and the William Houck Lake! There are loads of scenic trails throughout the park as well!

Loch Raven Reservoir

Loch Raven Reservoir is incredibly beautiful and offers quite a few easy hikes for kids. You can go for a short 1 hour hike, bring a picnic and hang out by the water, or even rent a kayak! The colors in the fall are absolutely stunning!

Kid Friendly Trails

Here are a few of the most kid friendly trails:
Glen Ellen Trail Short Loop:  A great 2.8 mile hike that also offers great water views and is quite easy for kids. Also, this trail is known for its wildflowers. Sounds blissful!
Merryman’s Mill Lower Trail Loop:  This trail is a 1.9 mile loop and is very popular with hikers of all levels. This is by the water and can be steep but overall fun for kids. There are lots of chances for them to scramble of trees and such.


fall foliage in maryland

As you plan your fall foliage viewing, ensure you include the most beautiful spots in Maryland to create a memorable experience. Autumn presents a small window to take advantage of the vibrant colors that illuminate the landscape. Why not take full advantage of nature’s gift? Safe travels and enjoy your leafing expedition.

Check out these Fall Fun In Maryland ideas too!

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