Trip Planner:   USA  /  Maryland  /  Thurmont  /  Nature  /  Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont

(200+ reviews on the web)
State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park is a state-run, public recreation area located west of Thurmont, Maryland, in the United States. The state park is the home of Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland, a 43acre man-made lake, and the remains of an historic iron furnace. The park is one of several protected areas occupying 50-mile-long Catoctin Mountain; it is bordered on its north by Catoctin Mountain Park and on its south by Frederick Municipal Forest.HistoryBefore the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans used the Catoctin Mountain area for hunting and fishing and also quarried it for rhyolite to make projectile points. During the 19th century, settlers began cutting the area's forests for charcoal to power the Catoctin Iron Furnace. "Charcoal flats"—square areas measuring approximately 25by, cut flat into the hillsides and linked by mule trails—were used to build charcoal kilns. The charcoal flats can still be seen in the park.Over two hundred years of abuse of the forest led to the destruction of the land. In the 1930s, after years of clearcutting for the making of charcoal, mountain farming, and timber harvesting, the land was purchased by the Federal government. Beginning in 1935, workers with the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps began constructing the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area to transform the area for recreational use. The site's northern portion was transferred to the National Park Service on November 14, 1936, and renamed and reorganized on July 12, 1954, as Catoctin Mountain Park. The southern were transferred to Maryland as Cunningham Falls State Park.
Use our Thurmont trip itinerary maker to visit Cunningham Falls State Park on your trip to Thurmont, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
Create a full Thurmont itinerary

Plan your trip to Thurmont

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.
  • This park has a lot to offer, depending on your interests. There are miles of trails, campsites and more secluded areas, but this review is based solely on the beach areas and the trails leading to th...  more »
  • This State Park is huge. It has entrances on the Eastern and Northern sides and costs $3 for MD cars and $5 for out of state cars on the honor system. It can be a bit confusing trying to figure out wh...  more »
  • Seeing this never grows old. I visit every time I get the chance. There is no parking. You must hike from the visitor center but I must say it is an easy and relaxing hike.  more »