Swallow Falls, Maryland

Swallow Falls is the namesake of Swallow Falls State Park, and it’s not a half-bad waterfall. In the park, there are three waterfalls, the others being the impressive Muddy Creek Falls, and the smaller Tolliver Falls. I’m not sure whether I enjoyed Swallow Falls as much, but that may have been due to the lighting conditions at the time.

Whereas Muddy Creek Falls was at angle where the sun didn’t cause problems, Swallow Falls was more difficult to photograph at the time of day that I visited. The sun was intense enough that it was washing out much of the interesting features surrounding the falls. I also visited in late October, when I’m assuming that there is a lower flow. In March or April, this falls might be more impressive. Still, at these water levels, it was pretty easy to explore at river level and try to get interesting shots at different vantage points.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, but the clearest way might be to access the park from US-219 in Maryland.
  2. In between McHenry and Oakland (two villages/towns) along US-219, you’ll find the road that leads to the park, Mayhew Inn Road. If headed south, you’d turn right onto this road.
  3. The road twists and turns, veers a bit left and is called Oakland Sang Run Road, and then turns right and is called Swallow Falls Road. This road will lead you into the state park.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 16′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Swallow Falls in late October 2010

Where in the World is Swallow Falls?

Tolliver Falls, Maryland

Tolliver Falls in October 2010

Muddy Creek Falls and Swallow Falls are the main attractions at Swallow Falls State Park, but I think that Tolliver Falls is just as interesting as its larger relatives. Tolliver Falls is only a few feet tall, and yet its location in the park is very scenic.

I visited the park in late October, and the trees were beginning to change colors. The fallen leaves created a blanket around the falls, which only enhanced the colors of the rock in the falls. It also helped that while the sun made it more difficult to photograph the other falls, the canopy above Tolliver Falls allowed for better photographs.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, but the clearest way might be to access the park from US-219 in Maryland.
  2. In between McHenry and Oakland (two villages/towns) along US-219, you’ll find the road that leads to the park, Mayhew Inn Road. If headed south, you’d turn right onto this road.
  3. The road twists and turns, veers a bit left and is called Oakland Sang Run Road, and then turns right and is called Swallow Falls Road. This road will lead you into the state park.
  4. Tolliver Falls is on a side trail that’s very easily accessed. You may have to wander around a little to find it, though.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Tolliver Falls?

Muddy Creek Falls, Maryland

Muddy Creek Falls in October 2010

Last year, my uncle took me to Gunpowder Falls…River, that is. I was excited to think that I would see a waterfall in Maryland, and yet when I got there, it was just a river with a series of very minor rapids. There may be a smaller falls somewhere along that river, but not where I was. So it was time to finally visit a real waterfall in Maryland. Swallow Falls State Park has three waterfalls that at least qualify as waterfalls.

Muddy Creek is the largest and the most interesting of the three falls in the park. It is believed to be one of the largest waterfalls in Maryland, not that it is terribly large. It is still very pretty. It’s also very easy to visit. The waterfall is even handicapped accessible. There is a boardwalk that leads to a relatively good view of the falls, but to get the full experience, head down the stairs/trail to get much closer. If you keep following this trail, you can see the other waterfalls very easily. It’s a very nice park, and it’s an added bonus to be allowed to explore around the falls. (Too often, waterfalls at state parks are blocked from better exploration…often with good reason.)

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, but the clearest way might be to access the park from US-219 in Maryland.
  2. In between McHenry and Oakland (two villages/towns) along US-219, you’ll find the road that leads to the park, Mayhew Inn Road. If headed south, you’d turn right onto this road.
  3. The road twists and turns, veers a bit left and is called Oakland Sang Run Road, and then turns right and is called Swallow Falls Road. This road will lead you into the state park.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 52′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Muddy Creek Falls?