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Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont

Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web
Cunningham Falls State Park is a publicly owned recreation area located on Catoctin Mountain to the west of Thurmont, Maryland, United States. The state park is the home of 78ft Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland. Other park features include a 43acre man-made lake and the remains of the historic Catoctin Iron Furnace. The park is bordered on the north by the National Park Service's Catoctin Mountain Park.HistoryThe Catoctin Mountain area around Cunningham Falls is rich in local history. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans hunted and fished the area. The area was also quarried by Native Americans for rhyolite to make projectile points. During the 19th century, settlers began to cut down the forests around the area to make charcoal to power the Catoctin iron furnace. The charcoal flats can still be seen in the park. The "charcoal flats" are approximately 25by square areas cut flat into the hillsides and linked by mule trails. They were used to build charcoal kilns. Over, two hundred years of clearcutting and abuse of the forest led to the destruction of the land.In the 1930s, after years of making charcoal, to fuel nearby iron furnaces, mountain farming, and harvesting of trees for timber, land was purchased by the Federal government, to be transformed into a productive recreation area, helping to put people back to work, during the Great Depression. Beginning in 1935, the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area was under construction by both the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The northern portion of the park was transferred to the National Park Service on November 14, 1936, and renamed and reorganized on July 12, 1954, with the southern 5000acre transferred to Maryland as Cunningham Falls State Park.
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  • We approached the falls and park from the national park site with an interest to photographing them. Unfortunately it was a sunshine day on the weekend in early spring. Good news: without leaves on th...  read more »
  • We went here during Colorfest. Park is beautiful. Hike to Falls is awesome. Bathrooms are clean. Cabins are nice with electric. Park staff was a bit zealous with the parking. 
  • We took our grandchildren here to camp for a long weekend when it was rainy one day, windy and very cool for two days. We had a wonderful time camping, hiking and playing. The half mile hike up to the...  read more »
  • Cunningham Falls boasts a myriad of activities. For the adventurous climbing the falls rewards you with amazing views. For the young at heart, spend an afternoon at the tire park or a weekend at the campgrounds. The beach, honestly is a bit off putting. To side of the beach(to the right of your facing the water) is an area that is muddy and mucky and I just can't delude myself enough into ignoring the fact that it is attached to the same body of water that I'm supposed to be swimming in. Aside from this Cunningham falls is beautiful and well worth the trip.
  • Good trails but if going in the middle of summer prepare for a crowd around the Falls. Also, very little water trickling down the falls, either because of the lack of rain, time of season, or high temperatures. Recommend for a nice hike. Keep in mind some of the trails are much more difficult than others but the trail to the falls is doable for all.
  • I'm so excited to be just look at it on the internet. We are going to have a fun time there. My good friend invited me to go with them.
  • We wanted to take our dogs somewhere that they could enjoy the outdoors. The lake was beautiful, a little crowded though. We were stopped short by a thunderstorm, so the staff advised everyone to exit the water and surroundings so we decided to leave. Will definitely be returning for some fun and sun.
  • Love it my and my family went there love that the water does not stain your white clothing todaly recomend it