Adventure Awaits at Maryland's Swallow Falls State Park

Swallow Falls State Park is located in the northwestern corner of the state on the banks of the Youghiogheny River, nine miles north of Oakland, Maryland, in Garrett County. Considered a must-see destination for visitors from all over, this park boasts historic hemlock trees, the beautiful Muddy Creek Falls, and endless outdoor fun for the entire family.

If you are anywhere in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, or Ohio, we highly recommend adding this state park to your bucket list.

History of Swallow Falls State Park

The land that is now the park belongs to the Native Osage and Massawomeck tribes. Donated by John and Robert Garrett of Baltimore, the area first became a state forest with 1,917 after western colonization. Now known as Garrett State Forest, the region included some modern-day Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor State Parks. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, the area has been visited by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone.

Activities at the Park

The main attraction at Swallow Falls is the 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls, which cascades beautifully over rock gorges and mossy ledges. The rippling rapids of the Youghiogheny River provide a welcome oasis for nature lovers, while the breathtaking scenery makes the perfect wedding backdrop.

Camping at Swallow Falls

If you want to camp at Swallow Falls State Park, the park offers sixty-five wooded campsites, each equipped with a fire ring, picnic table, and lantern post on a stabilized pad. Some of the sites are fitted with electric/water/sewer hookups.

Important things to note are that the sites are first-come, first-serve from mid-April until the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend, and the Tuesday after Labor Day until Mid-December (except for sites 40, 42, and 42A, which must always be reserved in advance).

Hiking & Biking Options

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Witness the tallest waterfall in Maryland when you traverse the old-growth forest on the 1.25-mile hiking trail that takes you to Muddy Creek Falls (among other waterfalls). Hikers will also enjoy hiking to Tolliver Falls and walking The Canyon Trail.

A 5.5-mile trail takes you through the beautiful Garrett State Forest that connects Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor State Park (this is good for mountain biking). You are now able to rent fat-tire mountain bikes at nearby Herrington Manor. This is a great option to explore trails in both parks.

Fishing Locations

Anglers will appreciate the fishing opportunities at Swallow Falls, including the four-mile-long trout fishing area on the Youghiogheny River that begins at the Deep Creek Lake Power Plant and ends Sang Run Bridge. You can also find rainbow trout stocked in the Muddy Creek spring.

Picnic Options

For group events and special occasions, you can reserve the pavilion, which is ADA accessible and offers electricity, picnic tables, and fits up to seventy people. Picnic areas with grills in the day-use section of the park are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How to Get There

The address for Swallow Falls State Park is 2470 Maple Glade Road, Oakland, MD 21550. The park is just over two hours southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and one hour east of Morgantown, West Virginia.

Please note that most cell phone providers do not get service in the park, so come prepared and download the directions before heading out for your grand adventure. For additional information on park fees and hours of operation, check here.

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