11 Top Waterfalls In Maryland (Best Spots + Hidden Gems)
Looking for the best waterfalls in Maryland?
The beauty of nature is often on display in the most unexpected places. One such place is Maryland, which is home to a number of stunning waterfalls. To show us the best waterfalls in Maryland, we turned to our friend Lola of Deyewa, a local travel expert.
Some of these waterfalls are well-known, while others are hidden gems waiting to be explored. No matter where you go, you’re sure to find a waterfall that will take your breath away.
From the mountains in the west, to Chesapeake Bay in the east, there are waterfalls scattered throughout the state waiting to be explored. Here are some of the top waterfalls in Maryland for you to check out on your next visit.
11 Best Waterfalls In Maryland
From the easy-to-access Cunningham Falls State Park, to the more remote and difficult-to-find falls in Swallow Falls State Park, waterfall lovers will not be disappointed with the selections available to them in Maryland.
1. Cunningham Falls, Thurmont
Cunningham Falls State Park is a great place to visit for those who want to see gorgeous waterfalls in Maryland. The park is home to the 78-foot Cunningham Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in the state.
There are also many other smaller waterfalls located throughout the park, giving you a good bang for your buck if you’re chasing waterfalls. Visitors can enjoy hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as other outdoor activities like camping and fishing.
You can view the falls from the boardwalk trail (which is also wheelchair and stroller accessible), or you can choose to climb up the rocks. The park also has two trails, with the falls at the end of the trail.
The first of the two trails is the Lower Trail, which is an easier half mile of trail to the waterfall, made especially suitable for older people or little kids. The second is the more challenging and longer route called the Cliff Trail.
Cunningham Falls State Park is also one of the best state parks in Maryland to visit with kids.
How much does it cost to get into Cunningham Falls?
Cunningham Falls is located in the William Houck part of the park. If you are visiting from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the cost ranges from $3-$5 per person for Maryland residents and $5-$7 for non-Maryland residents, depending on whether you visit on a weekday or weekend.
If you are visiting from the day after Labor Day until the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, the cost is slightly different as you are charged per vehicle. The cost is usually $3 per vehicle for Maryland residents and $5 per vehicle for non-Maryland residents.
2. Muddy Creek Falls, Oakland
Muddy Creek Falls, located in western Maryland, is a beautiful and serene spot that offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature at its finest.
This impressive 54-foot waterfall is a popular spot for hikers and nature lovers who come to admire the beauty of the rushing water and listen to the peaceful sounds of the falls. It is the largest waterfall in Swallow Falls State Park and also the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland.
3. Kilgore Falls
Also known as the Falling Branch Falls, Kilgore Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Rocks State Park, Pylesville, in Harford County.
The falls are approximately 17 feet high and cascade over a rocky outcropping into a large pool below. Kilgore Falls is Maryland’s second highest vertical drop waterfall.
The surrounding landscape is lush forests, with trees providing much-needed shade on hot summer days. The falls are a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers, and can be easily accessed from the parking lot at the top of the hill.
Swimming is also allowed here thanks to the amazing swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. That said, there are no lifeguards, so make sure to keep an eye on your kids.
4. Swallow Falls, Oakland
Swallow Falls part of the Youghiogheny River in Garrett County. It is a lovely spot to visit, with rushing waterfalls and beautiful scenery.
There is a 3-mile loop trail which provides a nice, easy hike to the falls and other nearby attractions. There are also multiple overlooks which is the best way to get breathtaking views of the falls.
Swallow Falls has been designated as an official state park, so visitors can enjoy plenty of amenities like picnic areas and restrooms.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or a challenging hike, Swallow Falls is an excellent destination.
5. Great Falls of the Potomac
The Potomac River has carved a spectacular gorge through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Great Falls of the Potomac are among its most impressive features.
The falls are located in Montgomery County, just downstream from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. They’re only about an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C.
The Great Falls are a series of 20-feet cascading waterfalls, plunging 76 feet in total. It is the second largest waterfall on the Eastern Seaboard, after Niagara Falls!
The falls are especially impressive during times of high flow, when huge volumes of water rush over the cliffs and create spectacular displays of white foam and spray.
The Great Falls are a popular destination for hikers, kayakers, and photographers alike, with numerous trails and overlooks that provide the best views of the river rapids.
Alongside the falls is the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, which provides visitors with an insight into American history as they explore this former transportation route.
6. Raven Rock Falls, Parkton
This is a beautiful 25-feet cascading waterfall located in Gunpowder Falls State Park.
It is best to see this waterfall after it rains, as the flow rate varies depending on the weather. It looks different from some of the other waterfalls with its sliding landscape, and it warrants much caution when climbing on the slippery rocky terrain.
Fall season is also a great time to visit Gunpowder Falls State Park because it’s one of the best places to see fall foliage in Maryland.
7. Gunpowder Falls
Gunpowder Falls State Park is a nature lover’s paradise and is Maryland’s largest state park.
The park features more than 120 miles of hiking trails, as well as fishing and boating on the Gunpowder River. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, camping, and horseback riding.
And when it comes to the park’s main attractions, Little and Big Gunpowder Falls, there’s no doubt that their scenic beauty has turned this park into a hotspot for photographers and sightseers across Maryland.
The central area of the park is where you find both the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls. With its deep forests, rushing streams, and towering cliffs, the park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, squirrels, wild turkeys, and bald eagles.
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway in a beautiful natural setting, Gunpowder Falls is the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.
8. Tolliver Falls, Oakland
Tolliver Falls is another waterfall located in Swallow Falls State Park. While is is not as big or as popular as the others within the park it is still a nice site to see and definitely one of Maryland’s hidden gems.
Swallow Fall State Park is also a great place for swimming, camping, hiking, picnicking and more. If you are looking for a calm and relaxing experience, this is a great waterfall for you.
9. Cascade Falls, Elkridge
Although only a short waterfall of about 9 feet, Cascades Falls in Maryland is a beautiful and serene place to visit. The waterfall is located in the Patapsco Valley State Park, and is easy to get to.
The Cascade Falls trail is a loop that is about 2 miles long. While the trail is a bit steep in places, it’s not overly challenging.
One of the best features of this falls is its plunge pool below, where visitors can take a quick swim in the hot summer months.
The park has a lot of different activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, and camping and over 200 miles of trails.
10. Amos Falls, Oakwood
This waterfall can be found in Cecil County as a part of the Susquehanna River. Locals also know these falls as Smyth Falls.
It’s best if you visit Amos Falls after a heavy rain to really see this waterfall at its best. The falls drop in elevation about 20 feet, and are perhaps better described as descending rapids than falls.
11. Gilpin’s Falls
Gilpin’s Falls is another waterfall located in Cecil County. The trail to get to this waterfall is only a short distance but can be difficult to find. When you do find it, be careful as it can be very steep and slippery, especially when it rains.
One of the most popular things to do around this waterfall is the Gilpin’s Falls covered bridge which was constructed in 1860. From one of the windows of the bridge you can see some great views of the top of Gilpin’s Falls. It’s also not in use so you do not have to worry about traffic!
Waterfalls In Maryland Map
Waterfalls in Maryland FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to the top waterfalls in Maryland.
What is the largest waterfall in Maryland?
The largest cascading waterfall in Maryland is Cunningham Falls which is 78 feet tall.
Does Gunpowder Falls have a waterfall?
Yes, Gunpowder Falls State Park has the Raven Rock Falls and also the Little and Big Gunpowder falls
Can you swim in any of the waterfalls in Maryland?
Yes, you can swim in some of the Maryland waterfalls like Kilgore falls, Tolliver falls, Cascade Falls, and Swallow Falls. They do not have lifeguards on site so you would need to pay close attention if you are swimming with little kids.
Wrap-Up: 11 Top Waterfalls in Maryland
If you’re in search of the best waterfalls in Maryland, these falls should definitely be at the top of your list. Make sure to bring your camera – you’ll want to take lots of pictures.
Visiting waterfalls is a fun family activity which you can make an even more memorable adventure by exploring some more road trips around Maryland.
Are you traveling to Maryland? Check out some of Maryland’s best Airbnb vacation rentals with an indoor pool for an unforgettable stay in the Free State.