Deep Creek Dunk weekend is fast approaching! I’ll give you all the info you need to thoroughly enjoy this favorite winter event. The 2024 date for the dunk is Saturday, February 24. This year, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Deep Creek Dunk!
For the first time, a “community dunk” is being held. It is Thursday, February 22 at 4PM. It gives local dunkers a chance to take the plunge for Special Olympics Maryland.
About the Deep Creek Dunk
The MSP/NRP Deep Creek Dunk started in 1998. Dunkers plunge into Deep Creek Lake’s frigid water to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). Individuals and teams raise money to benefit this worthy cause. Prizes are awarded for the most money raised as well as for the wild costumes that help to make the event so much fun!
Goosebumps, Grapes & Growlers
The 2024 Deep Creek Dunk festivities kick-off Friday, February 23 at the Honi-Honi Bar. This wine tasting is held in the heated tent on the deck. A $20 donation benefits Maryland Special Olympics. Continue reading Deep Creek Dunk Quick Guide
Deep Creek holiday events offer something for everyone. There is a little bit of magic in our mountains during this festive time of year. It’s easy to catch the spirit of the season whether you’re taking the kids to see Santa or shopping locally for last minute gifts.
Deep Creek Holiday Events
Christmas in the Village December 1st and 2nd Held at Spruce Forest Artisan Village in Grantsville, this is a favorite area tradition. Enjoy strolling and live music in the Village Church, activities in the Village buildings, and luminaries throughout the Village and on the Casselman Bridge. More info.
A Great Small Town Christmas December 1st-3rd A Great Small Town Christmas includes a tree lighting, sleigh rides, carols, store specials, and visits with Santa! More info.
Joy of Christ Celebration November 24th-January 1st, 5-10pm nightly Holiday light show synced to music. More info.
A popular Garrett County event is the Festival of Trees Garrett County. It is held every year on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Fairground Exhibit Hall in McHenry, MD. If you’ve never been to it make this the year you treat yourself!
All proceeds benefit the Dove Center – a local facility that offers services for victims of domestic violence.
The event is held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes a vast array of activities for the whole family. On Saturday, the kids activities end at 4 p.m. to prepare for the live auction that starts at 5p.m.
Designer decorated trees, wreaths, and centerpieces are on exhibit, and will be auctioned off Saturday. Beginning at 5 p.m., registered bidders can enjoy refreshments and a cash bar provided by Dutch’s at Silver Tree. At 6 p.m., the auction begins.
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!
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.
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! Check out restaurants that are participating in the “turkey trail”.
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.
-Wednesday through Sunday the town of Oakland hosts a carnival complete with rides, games, and food.
Art in the Park July 8, 10AM-5PM and July 9, 10AM-4PM Browse artwork from more than 50 vendors at Deep Creek Lake State Park.
Victorian Chatauqua July 8 and 9 Celebrate the history of Mountain Lake Park. This is a free, family-friendly event with historical performances, live music, vendors and artisans, food, trolley bus tours, and more.
Mid summer events offer something to please every member of your family. There are tons of fun outdoor activities in the Deep Creek Lake area. Also, special events are happening weekly.
In addition to the events listed below, Firewater Kitchen & Bar, MoonShadow, and the Honi Honi have great live acts lined up.
Mid Summer Events
Little Yough Summer Music Festival Fridays through September 2nd, 7PM Held at the Mountain Fresh Pavilion in downtown Oakland, this longtime favorite brings a wide variety of musicians to the stage. Grab a drink at Sipside Lounge before hand or ice cream at Devler’s while you enjoy the tunes.
Mountain Fresh Farmers Market Wednesdays and Saturdays through November 2nd Also held in Oakland’s pavilion, the farmers market has a great selection of local produce, meat, and baked goods along with lots of handmade items.
Garrett County Agricultural Fair July 30-August 6 Head to the fairgrounds in McHenry for one of the favorite mid summer events! The fair is always a good time. You can check out the livestock exhibitions, ride the rides, play games, eat yummy food, or enjoy live entertainment.
Big Run State Park is made up of 300 acres in Savage River State Forest. Available activities include rustic camping, canoeing, fishing and miles of trails for cross country skiing and hiking.
It is well-known by fisherman for its smallmouth bass, walleye, crappie, channel catfish, yellow perch, brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. The popular hiking trail, Monroe Run, has its trailhead in the park as well. A variety of activities are available year-round. The changing scenery is both beautiful and rugged.
About Big Run State Park
Fisherman find a wide variety of both warmwater and coldwater species at Big Run State Park. It has access to Savage River Reservoir where fishing opportunities for species such as bluegill, black crappie, walleye, yellow perch, brown trout, channel catfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are abundant. Two tributaries, Monroe Run and Savage Run, are also good spots for fishing. Anglers may catch brown, brook or rainbow trout in Savage Run. Shoreline fishing is popular along the state forest roads where families can find easy access. Each spring the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocks trout in both Savage Run and Savage River Reservoir.
Savage River Reservoir provides paddling opportunities. Offering two boat launches (located at Dry Run and near the Reservoir dam), only boats with electric motors are permitted on the reservoir. When exploring 350 acres reservoir, you might see grouse, ducks, great blue herons, king fishers and minks.
Deep Creek spring activities offer something for every interest. There are lots of indoor and outdoor options for visitors and residents too.
It is an in-between season when the weather can be a bit unpredictable. You might not always be able to do every item on this list, but you can try! Also, be sure to check days/hours of operation – especially mid-week.
Deep Creek Spring Activities
Deep Creek Fun Zone – Winter hours are Thursday-Sunday. You can choose your own adventure and get something great to eat. They have an arcade and lazer tag. When the weather warms up in late spring, they usually open outdoor activities that include mini golf, go carts, and bumper boats. More info.
Fishing – Garrett County’s lakes and rivers offer tons of fishing opportunities. Get your Maryland fishing license and head out to one of our lakes or rivers. Deep Creek Lake State Park and Herrington Manor State Park are kid friendly spots. The Casselman and Savage Rivers are popular for fly fishing. Check out our fishing guide for more details.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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.
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
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 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.