Potomac State Forest: Home to Recreation & Wildlife

Potomac State Forest encompasses 11,535 acres. It is easy to lose your cares amid its hemlock and laurel.  It is situated between the towns of Oakland and Westernport and partially borders the headwaters of the Potomac River. This rugged mountain forest is known for abundant wildlife, excellent trout fishing, and miles of multi-use trails.

potomac state forest
Cascade Falls in Potomac State Forest

About Potomac State Forest

Made up of mountain forests, streams and valleys, Potomac State Forest’s diverse habitat supports an abundance of wildlife, including wild turkey, white-tailed deer, black bears, fox and songbirds. The tree species typically found are that of an eastern hardwood forest. Plantations of white pine, red pine and spruce were also planted between 1950 and 1970. A spring walk through the woods will reveal flowering plants such as saxifrage, rue and wood anemone, spring beauty, May apple, blue violet and other violet species. Summer brings milkweed, spiderwort, mint, butterfly weed and dogbane to the roadsides and meadows. Ironweed, aster and goldenrod varieties brighten the fields in the fall.

The forest drains into the Potomac River Basin. It also features the highest point in Maryland – Backbone Mountain, elevation 3,220 feet. Another high point in the forest is the rock outcropping near the intersection of Maryland Route 135 and Walnut Bottom Road. It offers a scenic view of Potomac State Forest, Savage River State Forest and Crabtree Creek.

Fishing

In addition to fishing, visitors can enjoy the miles of scenic trails that are open for hiking, mountain biking, ORV use, horseback riding and winter sports. Bring your camera when you visit this untamed environment and capture the breathtaking views no matter what the season.

Famous for its trout fishing, anglers can test their skills on a generally fast running Potomac. The premier fish of this section of the river is the rainbow trout. Early spring through fall stocking provides incredible fishing opportunities. Other designated areas, including Lostland Run and Laurel Run also offer excellent fishing spots.  Additional fish found in the Potomac and the creeks surrounding it include rock bass, sunfish and smallmouth bass.  Because of fast running water and the primitive environment, fisherman should be prepared to negotiate strong currents, large boulders and fallen trees in the water.

Hiking

Potomac State Forest is a natural area that presents certain hazards, such as poison ivy, rocky and slippery trails, venomous snakes and biting insects. Be sure to dress appropriately. All trails and roads are open to hikers and mountain bikers. Remember, you are responsible for having the necessary skills, knowledge and equipment for a safe and environmentally sensitive visit.  Some of the more popular trails include:

  • Lostland Run Trail 3.5 miles – moderate
    Take in the scenic beauty of Cascade Falls while visiting this trail, which takes approximately two hours each way. Enjoy the rhododendrons and towering hemlock trees along this trail. At the trail terminus, a short spur trail leaves a gravel parking lot to the Potomac Overlook where splendid views of the river and pristine mountains can be enjoyed.
  • Laurel Run Road 3 miles – easy
    Mountain bikers and off-road vehicle (ORV) users will enjoy this dirt road that runs southward from its intersection with Wallman Road to its terminus near the Potomac River. Views from the road offer a chance to see dense areas of mountain laurel. The laurel’s bloom during the spring months. This road is also open to motor vehicles.
  • Wallman Road 4 miles – easy
    This mountain bike and ORV road travels downhill from Laurel Run Road to a small parking lot near the Potomac River. The forest cover in this area is ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife, including wild turkey, white-tailed deer and black bears. Hikers and mountain bikers can make a circuit back to their starting point by using the 3.5 mile Loop Road.
  • North Hill Trail 2 miles – moderate (no blaze)
    This gravel road easily lends itself to mountain biking. Travel through the dense forest and enjoy the scenery year round – especially breathtaking views during the fall months.
  • CCC Fish Rearing Ponds Trail easy (no blaze)
    This is a short, easy hike through mixed hardwood forest. At the end, look closely and you will notice the subtle remains of several former, now dry, fish rearing ponds built by Civilian Conservation Corps members stationed at the “Potomac Camp” during the 1930s.

How to Get to Potomac State Forest

Directions: Follow Rt. 219 south to Oakland. Turn left onto Rt. 135 east. Travel to the intersection of MD Rt. 560. At the traffic light, turn right onto Rt. 560 south and travel 3 miles to Bethlehem Road. Turn left on Bethlehem Road and travel 2 miles to the intersection of Bethlehem Road and Eagle Rock Road. Turn right, staying on Bethlehem Road for 1.4 miles. Turn left on Combination Road and travel 1/2 mile. Turn left on Potomac Camp Road and travel 1/2 mile to the Forest Resource Center, which will be on the left.

For more information visit https://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/publiclands/western_potomacgarrettforest.aspx or call (301) 334-2038.

Deep Creek Lake Kayaking

Deep Creek Lake kayaking opportunities are abundant! Garrett County is home to numerous lakes and rivers that are perfect for paddling. You can experience peaceful flatwater or raging rapids.

deep creek lake kayaking

Deep Creek Lake Kayaking

When you arrive at Deep Creek Lake the popularity of kayaking will immediately strike you: it is possible to rent kayaks, schedule kayaking lessons and enjoy guided tours.  Easy and affordable, it’s not hard to understand why kayaking was among the top five sports with the most first-time participants. 

Flatwater Kayaking

Flatwater kayaking is ideal for family outings and there are seven lakes to choose from once you have your gear. High Mountain Sports and Wisp Outdoors both offer recreational kayak rentals that come complete with paddles, Personal Floatation Device (PFD) and a little instruction to get you started.  As an added convenience, they also both offer a delivery and pick up service that makes everything that much easier.  If you’re renting a home on the lake, a kayak is a great additional amenity to keep your group entertained.  Herrington Manor, Broadford and New Germany lakes offer quieter areas where no major wakes from motorized crafts will rock your boat. 

Continue reading Deep Creek Lake Kayaking

5 Favorite Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

My 5 favorite Deep Creek Lake spring activities celebrate this quieter season. It is a time of year that has a slower, more leisurely pace. You feel like you have the Deep Creek Lake area all to yourself. It is easy to enjoy outdoor recreation with friends and family.

Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

Here are some of the highlights of a few favorite things to do during the spring months.

Fishing

Deep Creek Lake spring fishing starts as soon as the ice melts on the lake. McHenry Cove is a popular spot where you will often see lots of fisherman lining the banks.

Deep Creek Lake State Park is also a great spot for fishing. You can go to the fishing pier or fish from the shoreline (excluding the beach area). You can get your fishing license at the Discover Center or you can buy one online as well. This is definitely my pick for fishing if you are taking your little ones. If they fishing loses their attention, there are several different playgrounds to enjoy. Plus, the Disovery Center has lots of great environmental exhibits.

Continue reading 5 Favorite Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

Deep Creek Spring Events Guide

Deep Creek spring events guide gives you the rundown on what’s happening at the lake. There is something for just about every age and interest this spring. Whether you are a resident or just visiting, you will find fun activities just about every weekend.

Deep Creek Spring Events

Deep Creek Spring Events

St. Patrick’s Day Party at the Honi-Honi
March 16, 8PM to Midnight
Wear your green and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Lady Invidia!

Annual St. Paddy’s Day Party at Mountain State Brewing Co.
March 17, 1-10PM
Enjoy corned beef and cabbage along with drink specials throughout the day. Team Bingo starts at 1, bagpipers play at 3 and Jason Shaw provides live music at 5.

Continue reading Deep Creek Spring Events Guide

Deep Creek Axe Throwing Company

Deep Creek Axe Throwing Company is the area’s newest indoor activity. It is brought to you by the some folks that run DCL Adventures. Their options for recreation include: Deep Creek Ninja Factory, Splash Island and Monkey Business Adventure Park.

Deep Creek Axe Throwing Company

About Axe Throwing

Axe throwing is the latest craze! It is like playing darts….but with axes! Over the past few years, it gained popularity as recreation in Canada. And now, it has spread to the U.S. with axe throwing bars and businesses popping up everywhere. This quick, competitive form of entertainment has really taken off. In more urban areas you can even find axe throwing leagues. When done on a regular basis, it has fitness benefits as well.

Continue reading Deep Creek Axe Throwing Company

Swallow Falls State Park Quick Guide

Swallow Falls State Park is a true Garrett County treasure. It is one of the most photographed spots in the area. With unrivaled scenic beauty, it is a great spot to visit throughout all four seasons.

Swallow Falls State Park

About Swallow Falls State Park

In 1906, John and Robert Garrett donated over 1,900 acres of land to the state. It is now known as Garrett State Forest. Swallow Falls State Park and Herrington Manor State Park are both part of this donated land. In the 1930s, they were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Continue reading Swallow Falls State Park Quick Guide

Deep Creek Ninja Factory

If you and the family follow and love the American Ninja Warrior program on T.V. as much as our family does, then I have something special for you here at Deep Creek Lake! Deep Creek Marina has cleared out a sizeable amount of boat inventory from the showroom and have moved in a fun and challenging Ninja Course. There are many super challenging obstacles for kids and adults at any level. For those who don’t want to partake in the fitness challenge, there are many arcade games to hold you over while the family masters their ninja skills! Call-1-866-325-7627.

 

 Obstacle Course Open Now!

Test your skills at the Deep Creek Ninja Factory!
We offer 4 different obstacle courses of varying difficulties and you can do whichever obstacle course as many times as time permits.
Sessions begin every 30 minutes, maximum of 8 participants per session.

Obstacle Course 1 – Slanted Steps, Traverse Box, Low Bridges, Sea of Poles, Devils Bridge
Obstacle Course 2 – Mushroom Steps, Cheese Walls, Floating Poles, Tilting Ladders, Jungle Swings
Obstacle Course 3 – Spider Wall, Cannon Ball Alley, Inverted Cargo Crawl
Obstacle Course 4 – Ascending Steps, Tilting Ladders, Zig Zag Planks, Trapeze to Cargo Net Bag, Spinning Baskets, Triple Warp Walls with Fire Pole : 8′, 10′, 12′

ACTIVITY DETAILS:

  • Price: $20 for first hour.

    Each additional hour is $5

    $10 for local students (Fridays only) *

Sessions begin every 30 minutes, maximum of 8 partcipants per session

*Local Special Fridays only!
*MUST BRING REPORT CARD TO QUALIFY

Locals Day is for students from the following counties:
– Garrett County, MD
– Somerset County, Pennsylvania
– Allegany County, Maryland
– Mineral County, West Virginia
-Grant County, West Virginia
-Preston County, West Virginia
Tucker County, West Virginia

  • Season: Available year round

  • Opening hours: Friday 3pm – 9pm

    Saturday 11am – 9pm

    Sunday 11am – 5pm

Sessions begin every 30 minutes, maximum of 8 participants per session

  • Location: 2010 Deep Creek Drive

    McHenry, MD 21541

  • Included:– Guide on obstacle course to facilitate course and maintain safe environment

    – We offer 4 different obstacle courses of varying difficulties and you can do whichever course as many times as time permits.
    Obstacle Course1– Slanted Steps, Traverse Box, Low Bridges, Sea of Poles, Devils Bridge
    Obstacle Course2 – Mushroom Steps, Cheese Walls, Floating Poles, Tilting Ladders, Jungle Swings
    Obstacle Course3 – Spider Wall, Cannon Ball Alley, Inverted Cargo Crawl
    Obstacle Course4 – Ascending Steps, Tilting Ladders, Zig Zag Planks, Trapieze to Cargo Net Bag, Spinning Baskets, Triple Warp Walls with Fire Pole Exit: 8′, 10′, 12′

  • Participation requirements: Minimum age: 5 years old

    Minimum height: 48″

    Maximum weight: 250 pounds

  • What to wear: Athletic clothing

  • Footwear: CLEAN Athletic shoes – Closed toed shoes

                                                        

Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory

Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory is an exciting addition to indoor fun at Deep Creek Lake! Brought to you by the same folks that also operate Monkey Business and Splash Island, this is great fun for the entire family!

Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory

What Is Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory?

Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory is an indoor obstacle course for ages four and up. You can test your skills on 4 different lanes that vary in difficulty. You can choose your obstacle course. A guide is on site to facilitate the entire experience as well. Continue reading Deep Creek Lake Ninja Factory

Deep Creek Lake Fall Festivals

Deep Creek Lake fall festivals fill this favorite season with fun family activities. Autumn festivities are one of the best things about life in Garrett County. The brilliant foliage inspires you to enjoy the outdoors while celebrating the season.

deep creek lake fall festivals

Deep Creek Lake Fall Festivals

Fall Fest

Fall Fest 2018 is Saturday, September 29. Deep Creek’s newest state park, Sang Run State Park, is the venue. Bring the kids for pumpkin harvesting and painting, cider pressing, hayrides, crafts and demonstrations! Best of all, this is a free event! Get More Info

Springs Folk Festival

Within a half hour from the Deep Creek Lake area, you will find the historic village of Springs, Pa. It takes place October 5 and 6 from 9AM-5PM.  It is a celebration of the arts, skills and labors of our forefathers. Bread baking, weaving, basket making, old-time hayrides and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch foods are just a few of the highlights. Additionally, numerous artisans are on-hand displaying and selling their work. Get More Info Continue reading Deep Creek Lake Fall Festivals

Gearing Up for Autumn Glory at Deep Creek Lake

The Autumn Glory Festival is one of the most popular events in the Deep Creek Lake area. It draws thousands of visitors to the area each year. In fact, it was named MSN’s number one fall festival in the world!

The 2019 festival dates are October 9-13. Click here for a complete schedule of activities.

So, what is all of the fuss about? Aside from admiring beautiful leaves, there are tons of fun activities for the entire family to enjoy.

autumn_glory

History of Autumn Glory

Before it was known as “Autumn Glory”, it was actually a turkey festival. Local turkey growers started an annual event to promote turkey dinners. In the 1960s, folks started to think about turning it into a larger festival. It eventually evolved into the extravaganza that we know today. Of course, turkey dinners are still part of the tradition!

Favorite Autumn Glory Activities

The festival kicks-off on Wednesday and continues through Sunday. I put together a few of my favorite “must-dos” for the festival.

-The Autumn Glory Kick-Off Dinner & Reception is Wednesday night at Wisp Resort. You can mingle with the festival king and queen while you dance the night away.

-Thursday night, enjoy German-style dinner and drinks from 4-7PM at the Oakland Fire Hall. Afterwards, you can watch the Fireman’s Parade that starts at 7PM. Continue reading Gearing Up for Autumn Glory at Deep Creek Lake