Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland

I'm that rare American not fond of driving. I drive, and drive daily, but I find no joy in it. So when I'm faced with a long drive I find places to stop along the way. When headed to Western Pennsylvania I use Samuel S. Lewis and Caledonia State Parks as places to stop and walk around. I've done the same when I've been headed to Western Maryland or West Virginia. And on the latest WV trip I stopped at Maryland's Cunningham Fall State Park and hiked the Falls Trail.

Tumbling seventy-eight feet, Cunningham Falls is Maryland's largest cascade, and there are multiple ways to approach it. One way is the Falls Trail I took, running a half mile from the parking area up and down rolling climbs. The state park abuts Catoctin Mountain National Park, and there are two trails to the falls on the NPS side - a walk of a third of a mile from an ADA accessible parking area, and a 2.8 mile hike from the visitor's center.  The two parks have different observation platforms, on either side of the stream. 

I have to admit that while I'm glad I went, and I enjoyed viewing the falls, I found them difficult to photograph from the state park platform. If I hadn't been planning a twenty-five mile bike ride the next morning I'd have done some rock-hopping and wading to get a better and closer photo. The platform wasn't well placed and struck me as overgrown. Next time I'll go to the national park and hike their longer trail, and try for better photos. 

My hike went OK, but no better. My stamina is my weak point these days. It used to be my knees, but I had little difficulty hiking this trail after a day of driving and a hike at Samuel S. Lewis Park a couple of hours previously.

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A Taste For The Woods: Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland

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Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland