Deep Creek Lake Hikes at Swallow Falls State Park

One of our monthly blog posts on what to see, do, or where to eat on Deep Creek Lake and Western Maryland.

Swallow Falls State Park, photo of Muddy Falls in Maryland

Swallow Falls State Park is easily one of Maryland’s most beautiful and popular state parks. The park is situated on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River, and, lucky for us, it’s just 15 minutes from our Deep Creek Lake hotel. There’s plenty to do at Swallow Falls State Park any time of year, spring and summer are great for hiking and exploring, autumn is a magical season when fall foliage begins to appear, and winter is perfect for snowshoeing. You’ll find some of the best Deep Creek Lake hikes here too! 

Muddy Creek Falls is the biggest attraction in Swallow Falls State Park; the 54-foot falls is the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland. The park is also known for its notable collection of towering hemlock trees, some more than 300 years old, making them the oldest in the state. For those fascinated with history, Swallow Falls State Park was once the camp location for Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone.

Just like any adventurous day in the Deep Creek Lake area, a visit to Swallow Falls State Park is best followed up by plenty of relaxing at our luxurious waterfront hotel. Our beautiful Arts and Crafts style Inn is ideal for romantic getaways, couples retreat, or even solo trips to refresh and relax. Our 12 guest suites are each unique but all elegantly appointed with everything you’ll need for a restful and unforgettable stay. We can’t wait to host you at our Deep Creek Lake hotel; book your room today!

Swallow Falls State Park, happy middle-aged couple hiking to a waterfall outlook in Maryland

Things to do at Swallow Falls State Park

There are plenty of things to do at Swallow Falls State Park, including waterfall viewing. It’s a great place to enjoy hiking, fishing, and forest bathing in the warmer months. But guests also love to cross-country ski or snowshoe in the winter. No matter the season, this park is absolutely a natural treasure. 

Here are the best things to do at Swallow Falls State Park:

  1. The Canyon Trail is the perfect 1.4-mile trail for hikers, and it hits the highlights of Swallow Falls State Park all in one go. Following this trail, you’ll pass several waterfalls (including Swallow Falls) and the impressive 54-foot Muddy Creek Falls. The trail meanders through a beautiful old-growth forest of Hemlocks and more hardwoods. Connector trails also lead to the Garrett State Forest and other state parks from here.
  2. Tolliver Falls is the perfect place to cool off in the summer! While the falls are only about five feet tall, they offer a 20×20 foot pool for wading and swimming. The beach and sandy bottom here are more enjoyable than the rocky subsurface of Muddy Creek Falls, but caution should still be exercised on wet rocks to avoid slipping. (Swim at your own risk).
  3. The Youghiogheny River is also popular for river kayaking and whitewater rafting, an activity best reserved for the truly adventurous (and experienced) among us. Watching kayakers practice in the rapids is a perk of visiting the park. 
  4. Enjoy some fishing on the Youghiogheny River. It’s a catch and release Trout Fishing Area supported by the trout fishery’s annual stockings of brown and rainbow trout.
  5. In 1927, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone set up camp at present-day Swallow Falls State Park. The visit by these three self-proclaimed “vagabonds” led to the movement to protect and promote forest conservation and outdoor recreation in Maryland. 
  6. Rent a bike and navigate to Swallow Falls State Park from Herrington Manor State Park on the 5.5-mile-long connector trail. Fat tire bikes are available to rent year-round at the Herrington Manor State Park lake house, weather permitting. The cost is $14 per hour or $35 per day. Rental hours are 10 am until 4 pm. All rentals must be returned by 5 pm.​

Other Deep Creek Lake Hikes Nearby: 

  1. Deep Creek Lake State Park is a favorite hiking destination in Maryland; you must find out for yourself! And while it’s the largest of our state parks, it stands out for its extraordinary views of the Deep Creek Lake area. Popular hiking trails in the park include Beckman’s Trail, the Meadow Mountain Trail, and the Indian Turnip Trail.
  2. If you’re an advanced hiker, try the Lostland Run Trail in the Potomac-Garrett State Park. The seven-mile trip will weave you alongside a babbling brook to Cascade Falls. Head to the top, where you’ll enjoy the breathtaking river and mountain views from the Potomac Overlook.
  3. As a guest at our Deep Creek Lake hotel, head just across the street to Wisp Resort. Where you’ll find eight miles of trails to explore with beautiful views. Though Wisp is a ski resort, there are activities in all four seasons worth checking out during your stay.
  4. The Green Trail at New Germany State Park is well worth the trip and is a great choice for novice hikers. Look into their guided hikes before you head out!
  5. If you’re looking for a private nature retreat without the foot traffic you might find at places like Deep Creek Lake State Park or Swallow Falls State Park, head to Savage River State Forest. You’ll feel like you have this stunning forest all to yourself!
After a Deep Creek Lake Hike at Swallow Falls State Park relax by our fire pit with s'mores. Photo of happy couple enjoying a special treat

The Best Deep Creek Lake Hotel for Outdoor Lovers

For those who crave adventures out in nature, Swallow Falls State Park is calling your name! After you’ve explored the trails, updated your Instagram story with waterfall pics, and worn yourself out, our Deep Creek Lake hotel will be a welcome reprieve. We love to light up the bonfire in the evenings (weather dependant), and our guests can sip their wine, roast a s’more or two, and join in on the lively conversation. 

If you’re totally spent from your day on the nearby Deep Creek Lake hikes, head back to your guest room for a soak in our whirlpool tubs or sit in the sauna for some healing heat. Slip on your robe, cozy up in your big comfy bed, and relax those tired bones. Like most of our Deep Creek Lake hotel guests, they wake up refreshed and ready to hit the trails all over again! 

Be sure to join us for breakfast in the dining room for the hearty entrees of your choice, fruit courses, and baked goods. Always paired with our proprietary coffee blend and with a various assortment of teas and other beverages. Mornings at our Deep Creek Lake hotel are part of your unforgettable getaway to Maryland. Join us at our Deep Creek Lake hotel this year and book your room today.

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