Swallow Falls State Park is home to the oldest grove of white pine and eastern hemlock in Maryland, with some trees over 360 years of age. This pristine grove of trees lies along the only officially designated Wild and Scenic River, the Youghiogheny. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park's borders, passing through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. Tall hemlocks dominate the silent woods. The meandering trails through Swallow Falls guide hikers to some of the most breath-taking scenery in Western Maryland.
The park grounds offer opportunities for biking, camping,
Muddy Creek Falls
Muddy Creek Falls is a crashing 53-foot waterfall – a spectacular sight and the tallest single drop waterfall in Maryland. The water feeding the falls originates from the Cranesville Swamp in West Virginia and merges with the Youghiogheny within the park.The mix of decaying vegetation and tannins from the swamp give the creek and falls their distinctive color and name. Two other falls occur along the canyon trail on the Youghiogheny itself: the lower is a small hydraulic falls and the upper a cascading falls. Swallow Falls State Park draws its name from the rock pillar located below the upper falls where cliff swallows once nested by the hundreds.
Much to See
Swallow Falls State Park is popular not only for its natural wonder and beauty but for its picnic areas, 65-site campground, and five-and-a-half mile trail through the Garrett State Forest that connects the park with nearby Herrington Manor State Park. It is hard to hike the canyon trail without imagining the sounds that echoed forth from the sawmill that once sat atop Muddy Creek, or hearing the voices of such legendary entrepreneurs as John Burroughs, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison as they camped beside the falls long ago.
View from Top of Muddy Creek Falls
Labor Day-Memorial Day $2/vehicle.
Out-of-state residents add $1
Campsites with electric, water and sewer:
Picnic Shelters: (70 capacity)
Visiting the Park:
office is located inside the park for check-in and other park
business. If you need emergency assistance, call the Forest
and Park Service communication center at 410-461-0051 or dial
911. General park information can be obtained at 301-387-6938.
Pets are not allowed in the day use area from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Pets are permitted in the surrounding areas of Potomac/Garrett State Forests. Pet campsites are available. During the off-season pets are allowed in the day use areas as long as they are leashed.
Forest wildlife species, such as black bear, wild turkey,
bobcat and white-tailed deer have grown in numbers over the
past decades as habitat has improved and wildlife management
tools have been successful. Evidence of the activities of
small mammals such as squirrel, chipmunk, raccoon, skunk and
opossum, are frequently seen.
Swallow Falls State Park offers accessible campsites, picnic areas and two camp loop bathhouses.
The State Forest and Park Service offers four different kinds of park passes. Select the pass that best meets your needs and link to the appropriate application that can be downloaded and mailed to the State Forest and Park Service for your convenience.
Park passes provide substantial discounts for admission and services at all Maryland State parks.
- All Season Pass -- Entitles free day-use entry, for everyone in the vehicle, to Maryland's state forests and parks; free boat launching; and a 10 percent discount on state-operated concessions and boat rentals.
- Youth Group Pass -- Entitles youth groups free day use admittance to Maryland State Parks and free camping in those parks that have designated "Youth Group" areas subject to site availability. This pass is not valid for day use entry on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Golden Age Pass -- Entitles adults, ages 62 and older, free entry (cardholders only) to all State Parks that charge service fees. The pass is also valid for half price camping Sunday through Thursday.
- Access Maryland Pass -- Entitles free lifetime entry to State Parks for individuals with disabilities.