Deep Creek Lake hiking trails are plentiful! With seven state parks, there are almost endless paths winding through Garrett County. They range from easy to difficult. Many do offer more rugged terrain, but there are quite a few Deep Creek Lake hiking trails that are less challenging.
Whether you live here year round or own a second home in the area, area trails are a fantastic benefit of “lake life”. Enjoying the natural beauty of the area is something that everyone can experience on a regular basis.
I put together a list of 5 easy Deep Creek Lake hiking trails that are family friendly. Of course, you should gauge your family’s ability level before heading out to explore.
Deep creek lake hiking trails
This is ideal for beginner hikers. It is fairly flat and follows a native brook trout stream called Poplar Lick. In the winter, it is popular with cross country skiers. Park naturalists lead guided hikes that give you great info about the environment.
New Germany State Park also has a thirteen acre lake with a sandy beach for swimming. Spring through fall, you can rent kayaks, canoes, row boats and stand up paddle boards too.
This easy circuit hike is in Swallow Falls State Park. It takes you through a mature hemlock forest along the scenic Youghiogheny River. One of the highlights is Muddy Creek Falls. It is Maryland’s tallest waterfall standing at 53 feet high.
This is a good option when hiking with small children or friends and family that aren’t overly “outdoorsy”. Picnic tables and a pavilion give you a place to have a snack or a packed lunch.
Managed by the Nature Conservancy, Cranesville Swam offers a network of 5 different trails including a 1,500 ft. boardwalk. They are all under 2 miles long. Cranesville Swamp is located in a frost pocket. The surrounding hills capture moisture and cold air. So that creates a landscape similar to that found in Canada.
The area is home to over 48 rare plants and animals, including Jacob’s ladder, southern water shrew, and mountain earth snake. Also, there are more than 100 species of birds.
If you are looking for a paved path (great for strollers!), Oakland has fitness/walking trail includes a 1 mile loop. It follows along part of the Youghiogheny River. It also connects to the Historic Oakland Train Station and the Mountain Fresh Pavilion.
Take the spur at the northwest corner of this trail to the site of a the Civil War era Fort Alice. It was a Union troop blockhouse built to house troops that protected the 88 Bridge of the B&O railroad. It was taken over by Confederate troops in 1863 during a raid that burned the bridge and briefly occupied Oakland. You can follow interpretive signs along the trail that tell the history.
Located in Potomac State Forest, you can hike up to the depression-era fish hatchery site built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. This 1/2 mile, gravel trail travels through dense forest that offers delightful scenery, especially during the fall months.
While you are there, you may also want to check out Cascade Falls Trail. It is a short trail that leads you to lovely slide waterfall.
Garrett County truly fosters a lifestyle where the outdoors are to be enjoyed and appreciated. It is a great way to get the kids to disconnect for a while. From hiking and biking to skiing and snowshoeing, there are almost endless ways to go outside and play.
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