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“Great weekend campout”

Cunningham Falls State Park
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in Thurmont
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located in the Catoctin Mountains, this park is well-known for its history, scenic beauty and various recreational facilities including campsites, hiking trails, picnic areas and fishing piers.
Annapolis, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great weekend campout”
Reviewed July 28, 2013

Had a great weekend of camping on Bear Loop. Plenty of things to do with the family. Spent much of one day at the beach area. Water was nice, but not a very deep beach. Everything was clean and they had lifeguards on duty. The concession stand was a little weak but had the basics. The bear Loop campsite was great. The shower houses were nice and clean. There was a nice rock formation for the kids to climb on in the center of the loop. The Falls hike was a nice hike, but the Falls werent as big as we were hoping though. Will definitely try to go back again.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank MDreviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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224 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
New Market, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Great Summer fun”
Reviewed July 16, 2013

It was 95 in the shade and we needed someplace to take the grandkids for the day. Cunningham Falls is just 30 minutes north of Frederick MD so we took the ride. We had camped here on multiple occasions so we knew of the basic quality of the place. We were not disappointed. The park was clean and comfortable. It was not crowded yet busy enough for our grandkids to quickly make some new friends. The lake water was clean, refreshing , and warm enough to make you stay in the water all day. Clean restrooms and a snack bar made it a very enjoyable day. All this for $6. 3 bucks apiece for adults and kids are free.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank KevinJ3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockville, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“We loved the raspberry picking”
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We went up for a long weekend, staying Friday and Saturday night. They do a very good job maintaining the campsites and the bathroom facilities. It's nice to be able to take a warm shower after hiking all day. We wandered around quite a bit and filled up on the wild raspberries. We took the cliff trail to the Falls and spent some time at the lake. We will come back later this fall to see if we can some mushroom picking.

Visited July 2013
Thank Rick F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“PERFECT weekend”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We had a perfect 4th of July weekend at Cunningham Falls State Park. There was a lot things to do in the area. We took mountain bikes to Gambrill State park on the way up there. We hiked to the falls, swam in the falls, star gazed, had great campfires, and explored Cotactain Mountain National Park. The Obamas were even in the area for the weekend! We saw the helicopters come in on Friday afternoon when we were setting up camp, and then we saw them leave when we were riding our bikes around Frederick on the way home on Sunday.

Even on the busy weekend, we were able to check in to Cunningham at 2:30pm - 1/2 an hour before the official time. The campsite were impeccably well kept, smooth, mostly level gravel, fire rings, and movable picnic table. It was super helpful to be forewarned from the other reviews about the over-zealous camp hosts, so we were ready for it. We were prepared to mask our adult beverages in dark plastic cups when they came to introduce themselves. They were very pleasant and friendly, but definitely felt like they were checking us out pretty thoroughly - eyes scanning our campsite while chit-chatting with us. They also made daily rounds around the camp loops checking on things, and at 10pm on the dot, asked our neighbors to turn off their music for quiet hours. It really was ok since we were expecting it, thanks to other reviews, and as long as you play by the rules (or at least appear to) you are fine.

We were pretty surprised/disappointed they were out of trail maps, but the state park referred us to the national park which gave us the maps for free, as opposed to selling them for $3 like the state park. Also, the firewood was $6 a bundle - serious gouging. They say you can harvest your own wood, so definitely bring an axe, hatchet, and a hand saw.

Friday, there was no line to get into the swimming/beach area, but there was a LONG one on Saturday. We decided to not go back to the falls/swimming area because it was most likely so crowded. We did find out, however, that there is a 1 mile hiking trail from the campground area to the falls (it leaves near the trash dumpster near the camp store and connects to the upper yellow cliff trail to the falls). We would have done that if we didn't think it was going to be so busy.

We dont have kids, but lots of people brought kids and it seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun. There are nature talks in the evening for kids, the falls and swimming area, and lots of kids riding bikes around the camp ground loop.

There seemed to actually be quite a lot of water in the falls - probably because of the unseasonably wet summer we have been having. One thing to remember about waterfalls is in Maryland they often dry out towards the end of the summer (August-September) and are best seen with the snow-melt, spring rain flow in spring and early summer. Just keep this in mind and set your expectations appropriately.

One thing to note is that Cunningham Falls park and Cotactain Mountain National Park are not mountain bike friendly, but Gambrill State Park, on the south end of the forest, is quite friendly to biking, but are some pretty serious trails.

All in all it was a perfect weekend - lots to do and excellent weather (not humid and not so many bugs).

Visited July 2013
7 Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
86 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great campground & lake”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Stayed at this state park campground. Very nice, mostly quiet, lots of trees, about a mile to the lake. Lake free if you are camping there, get there early (before 10) on holidays and weekends. Parking lots fill up, then they stop letting people in, but plenty of room with grass and trees. Snack bar with food, canoe rentals. Had a lot of fun

Visited July 2013
Thank DawnStone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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