Frederick CountyCunningham Falls State Park14039 Catoctin Hollow Road,Thurmont, MD 21788
The William Houck Area, located three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77, has the lake area, falls and camping. The Manor Area three miles south of Thurmont off Route 15 has the Scales and Tales Aviary, camping and the historic Catoctin Iron Furnace.
8 a.m. to Sunset, April-October10 a.m. to Sunset, November-MarchBy regulation, vehicles are not permitted to be parked after sunset. Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.
Cunningham Falls State Park is located in the picturesque Catoctin Mountains. It is divided into two separate but unique areas. The William Houck Area located three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77 has the lake area, falls and camping area. The Manor Area off Route 15 three miles south of Thurmont has the Scales and Tales Aviary, camping and the historic Catoctin Iron Furnace.
Outdoor activity is everywhere at Cunningham Falls State Park. Leisure opportunities like swimming, hiking, fishing and canoeing are available. For those who wish to get away for either a night or longer there are campsites and camper cabins available for rental from April through October.
The staff and volunteers at Cunningham Falls State Park strive to make your visit a pleasant one. If you have any questions or concerns please let us know.
A trip to Cunningham Falls State Park would not be complete without a visit to the scenic 78-foot waterfall, for which the park is named. Cunningham Falls are the largest cascading waterfall in the state. The falls, locally known as McAfee Falls, can be accessed via a short trail from the lake area or a boardwalk from Route 77 for those visitors with mobility impairments. This trail terminates at the falls from either access point and is not a through trail. In order to protect this sensitive natural area, we ask that all visitors stay on the boardwalk and viewing platforms.
Many Maryland State Parks have been approved as partners of Maryland Green Travel, a free and voluntary self-certification program that promotes and recognizes sustainable environmental practices by businesses in the tourism industry. These practices include energy efficiency, waste reduction, recycling and water conservation methods.
Click on this link to view the green profile and the list of sustainable practices for Cunningham Falls State Park.
A new map of the trails at Cunningham Falls State Park can be downloaded for free from this website. Please make sure to read the printing instructions and information for how to download the file to cell phones. The map is in a PDF format that requires Adobe Reader. To get the free Adobe Reader go to Adobe.com.
Swimming is allowed in three designated areas of Hunting Creek Lake, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Lifeguards are on duty daily between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Memorial Day to Labor Day. Lifeguard coverage may be adjusted during periods of inclement weather. For your safety and the protection of the natural resource swimming is not allowed at the Falls. Please remember to arrive early as the park often reaches capacity by mid to late morning on weekends and holidays. If the park reaches capacity, visitors will be turned away.
Reservations are required for buses and vans (vans containing 15 passengers or more) at Cunningham Falls. There is a non-refundable reservation charge, plus a day use service charge. There is a maximum of 8 buses/vans permitted per day (depending upon staffing levels). If you do not have a reservation and arrive at the park, entry into the area may be denied. There are special supervision requirements for youth groups. No buses/vans are permitted on summer weekends and holidays. To make a reservation, call 1-888-432-CAMP (2267). For more information, call the park directly at (301) 271-7574.
The Cunningham Falls State Park trail system varies in terrain from short, flat hikes to steep and rocky ascents that will challenge even the experienced hiker. Trail distances vary from .5 mile to 7.5 miles.
Picnic tables and grills are available near the lake area on a first come, first served basis. There are no cover pavilions or shelters in this area. Please remember to arrive early as the park often reaches capacity by mid to late morning on weekends, holidays and even some weekdays during the summer swim season.
Picnic tables and grills are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A picnic shelter is available by reservation only. The shelter holds 150 people. The shelter was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) out of native stone many years prior to the installation of Route 15. It is recommended that you visit the shelter prior to making your reservation due to its proximity to the highway.
A boat ramp for launching private watercraft onto Hunting Creek Lake is available for a small service charge. Only electric motors are permitted, no gasoline motors. A boat concession on Hunting Creek Lake rents boats during the summer season. Please contact the Park Office in advance as staffing levels may affect availability.
Hunting is permitted on 3500 acres of wildlands in accordance with statewide hunting regulations. The hunting area consists of forested terrain with steep access routes.
A reservations only deer hunting area is available for hunters with a Hunt from the Vehicle Permit. Reservations are required. Reservations are taken starting the day after Labor Day at 8:00 am. Reservations can be made either in person at the Park Administration Office or by calling 301-271-7574. Reservations can be made for Deer Firearm Season and the first week of Muzzleloader Season.
Be sure to consult your Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for season dates and bag limits.
Hunters may enter / remain on park property outside of the regular posted hours provided that they are engaged in legitimate, authorized hunting activity.
Cunningham Falls State Park has several opportunities for fishing. A Maryland Freshwater Sport Fishing License is required for all fishermen over 15 years old. Be sure to consult the Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for creel and size limits prior to your fishing trip.
Hunting Creek Lake is a put and take trout area. An accessible fishing pier is located off of Catoctin Hollow Road next to the boat ramp. Fishermen can also fish for bass, bluegills, sunfish, crappie and catfish.
Big Hunting Creek along MD Route 77, as well as its tributaries within Cunningham Falls State Park, is a catch and release trout stream limited to artificial fly fishing only. Use of conventional fly fishing tackle and artificial flies must be used.
Little Hunting Creek in the Manor Area is a catch and release trout stream limited to the use of artificial lures and flies only. Spinning gear may be used.
Cunningham Falls State Park has campsites in both the William Houck Area and the Manor Area.
The William Houck Area Campground has 107 basic sites, 33 sites with electric hook-up. The William Houck Area campground is open April through October. Click here for map and site descriptions.
CAMP OFFICE HOURS: The Camp Office is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day. Check in during other times is subject to change. Please call 301-271-7574 to verify during other times.
The Manor Area Campground has 23 basic sites and 8 sites with electric hook-up. The Manor Area Campground is open April through October. Primitive camping at the Manor Area Campground is available from November 1 through the second weekend of Deer Firearms season. This means that the bathhouse is closed for the winter, but a portable toilet is available. Click here for map and site descriptions.
Each site is approximately 23’ X 23’ made of stone dust and has a picnic table and fire ring. There is a bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets centrally located in the middle of each camping loop.
Reservations are recommended for both areas, since they often fill weeks or months in advance.
Campground Check In Hours:Hours for checking into a camper cabin or campsite will be: Sunday through Thursday 3 p.m. until 7 p.m., Frieday and Saturday 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Beginning the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, hours for checking into a camper cabin or campsite will be: Sunday through Thursday 3 p.m. until 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.
All cabins and campsites are to be checkout out and vacated by 1 p.m. on the last day of the reservation to allow for cleaning and turnover for newly arriving reservations.
The William Houck Area Campground has 9 four-person camper cabins and 4 six-person camper cabins. Each cabin site has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. All cooking must be done outside the cabin. The cabins have no heat. Campers may bring an electric heater or fan. Heat sources should not be left on while the cabin is unattended. No propane heaters are allowed. Campers must provide their own linens.
Reservations are recommended since the camper cabins often fill weeks or months in advance.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in all State Park areas, including campgrounds. The only exception at Cunningham Falls State Park will be the Manor Area Shelter if you purchase an alcohol permit, upon making a reservation.
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