Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland

It was a stressful day at work and when I got my days off, I definitely deserved a change of scenery. Thus, I have decided to do a road trip outside Ohio. I surfed the net and saw a natural wonder just a couple of hours drive, then, I drove all the way to that place. It is located in Maryland and since I really haven’t seen the state that well so, it was a plus. I got to my destination at 1145H in Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland.md01

Swallow Falls State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River which is in Oakland in Garrett County, Maryland. The state park has the highest free-falling waterfall. The park is known for its stand of old hemlock trees which are more than 300 years old and are the last stand of its kind in Maryland.md04md03

The park has a lot of events and activities that guests and visitors will surely love. Swallow Falls State Park is a great place to escape the busy city life.

One of the state park activities is hiking. The state park is famous for its tall hemlocks that dominate the silent woods. The 1 1/4 mile trail through S​wallow Falls guides hikers to witness some of the most breath-taking vista in Western Maryland. It is also a good location to hike under the shade of the old hemlock trees and pine trees.

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Hiking

Hikers won’t get lost due to presence of signs, maps and directions within the trail. The whole vicinity is not as massive as any other state parks. It is just enough for an hour or two walk in the park pace.

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Signage/ Directions

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Other activity is white water rafting. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park’s borders which passes through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. With the Youghiogheny River and Muddy Creek which are white water rivers, the rivers contain severe natural hazards, such as waterfalls, violent rapids, swift currents, deep pools, underwater hydraulics, cold water, slippery rocks and rough terrain.

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Notice to Guests

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White water river

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White Water Rafting

Travelers can also do waterfalls sightseeing for the reason that it has 3 waterfalls, namely Upper and Lower Swallow Falls, Tolliver Falls and Muddy Creek Falls.

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Closer view of Upper Swallow Falls

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Upper Swallow Falls

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Lower Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls is the namesake of the state park. Youghiogheny River is the water source of this waterfall. There are two drops, each around 15 feet high. The upper drop is the more distinctive of the two.

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Tolliver Falls

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Closer View of Tolliver Falls

Tolliver Falls is just as interesting as its larger relatives. It is only a few feet tall and yet the location in the park is very scenic. It is on a side trail that is very accessible but have to wander around to find it.

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Muddy Creek Falls

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Closer view of Muddy Creek Falls

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On top of Muddy Creek Falls

Muddy Creek Falls is the highest crashing and free-falling waterfall at 53-foot tall which is a spectacular sight. The waterfall is even accessible by disabled individuals.  There is a boardwalk that leads to a good viewpoint of the falls.

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Boardwalk for Disabled

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Muddy Creek Falls viewpoint

In addition to that, tourists can do some sightseeing and find a really interesting spot or scenery within the state park. I got to see these breathtaking sights.md23md22

An individual can do some fishing too. The rapids maybe too forceful but the park is inhabited by rainbow trout. Fishing is perfect during the spring season and the rainbow trouts are stocked in the Muddy Creek and the river.

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Fishing in the Youghiogheny River

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Youghiogheny River

Then, there is camping. Swallow Falls State Park has campsites. In fact, it has 65 wooded campsites with a fire ring, picnic tables, and lantern post on a stabilised pad. Some sites have electric hook-ups and restrooms and shower facilities are nearby. They even have a program called OPERATION: CAMPOUT! where the state park can lend campers a gear free of charge that includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more. This program though applies to military individuals and military families new to camping or experienced campers stationed or recovering in this area.md19

There are more to do in Swallow Falls State Park. Indeed, this mountain state park contains some of the state’s most breathtaking scenery. Travelers and guests can have fun all day and is also the perfect place to rest and relax.

 

Hiking the Trails of Hocking Hills State Park

Having the chance to live in a new country is a very great opportunity. An opportunity that an individual can discover new things such as new culture, new faces, new environment and a lot of new and cool stuff.

Last week, I was exploring the nearest state park where I live in and that was Wolf Run State Park. Now, I’ve got the time to practice my driving skill and to put my car to the test. I was searching the net for another state park to visit but I found there were so much state parks that I don’t know which to choose. When I was at work, a co-worker of mine told me if I’m into hiking and I hesitantly says ‘yes’ since it has been a couple of months I haven’t gone hiking. When she heard the ‘yes’ from me, she automatically suggested to try Hocking Hills State Park. I got online and searched Hocking Hills and the images were promising so, I ended up doing some research. I, then, have thought of going hiking the trails of Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills State Park is located in the county of Hocking in the city of Logan, Ohio. It is in the southeastern part of Ohio. The state park offers a lot of activities such as biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and they also cater as wedding reception and other recreational activities like archery and hunting. If you want to know more about Hocking Hills State Park, visit this site by clicking here.

I started my journey from Noble county at 0700H since it will take 2 hours to get to Hocking county. I used the back road because from the GPS choices, the back road route offered the shortest travel time whereas utilising the interstate will take me additional minutes.

I arrived in the city of Logan at around 0900H since I got confused with directions given to me by my GPS. I still don’t know the difference between turning left and right giving me additional travel time due to making the wrong turn. Anyways, I got into Hocking Hills parking lot for free. There were only few guests who were there so I can choose any place to park my car and then I started my hiking journey.

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park

Upon entering the trails of exploring Hocking Hills State Park, a visitor can prepare himself by having a toilet break since just few walk from the parking area is a visitor/ guest centre. The centre has a souvenir store, toilet and bath and a quick place to rest. It also provides an idea of what to see in the state park and what trails are there to follow.

Guest Centre

Guest Centre

After passing by the guest centre, I directly went to the famous attraction in Hocking Hills State Park and that is the Old Man’s Cave. It took me about 5 minutes to get to the cave and when I got there, I was in awe. It was gorgeous and the first time I saw such magnificent view of nature. I captured a lot of photos but the pictures I took can’t give justice to what you will see personally if you’ll visit the park.20150917_094836 20150917_094909 20150917_095050 20150917_095244

Old Man's Cave: Middle Falls

Old Man’s Cave: Middle Falls

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Old Man's Cave

Old Man’s Cave

I’ve only stayed there for probably 5 mins and I got also the Sphinx Head on my way to Cedar Falls. In some degree when taking pictures or when you look on that rock, you will find it resembles a sphinx head.20150917_095625

Sphinx Head

Sphinx Head

After looking at the sphinx head, I followed the blue trail which is the Buckeye trail going to Cedar Falls. The distance between Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls is 2 miles. The weather was fine and a little bit chilly so, walking on a vast forest with the sun covered by the trees is a great way to enjoy hiking. While I was walking the buckeye trail, I stumbled into all of these sceneries and I was just like following a river.

Trail to Cedar Falls

Trail to Cedar Falls

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Lower Falls

Lower Falls

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I wasn’t sure about the distance since I’ve been following the Metric system all my life. I am not used to with the English system and I thought miles is not that far away. Never have I known that hiking 2 miles took me about an hour and a half with the trail quite a bit challenging for my part wherein I needed to run, skip, crawl, and jump. Then finally, I got to see the elusive falls after the exhausting hike to get a better view of Cedar Falls. It was autumn so, the water flowing from the falls were not that powerful but still the vista was wonderful.

Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls

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I sat down on one of the rocks near the falls to take some rest and catch my breath. I have thought of going back to the trail I’ve hiked but I said to myself that I will miss some other attractions in the park if I’ll use the same trail in turning back. Thus, I have decided to use the red trail which is the Gorge Overlook trail. The trail was a little bit easy to moderate. The only negative things about the trail were it was an uphill hike so, I needed to have leg and calf control and have a good pair of shoes for a better grip of my feet. And also, there was nothing to see up there, only squirrels running here and there, hawks flying and all trees.

Following the Gorge Overlook trail

Following the Gorge Overlook trail

Gorge Overlook trail

Gorge Overlook trail

The hiking trail

The hiking trail

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I was wandering in the woods like the movie, Into the Woods, until I got to Lake Rose.

Lake Rose

Lake Rose

Lake Rose was just lovely. The view was perfect. The reflection of the trees and the blue sky on the water was amazing and it made my day. The whole time I was hiking was all worth it.20150917_120512 20150917_120813 20150917_120937

It was getting late and I was halfway to the parking area. I haven’t tried driving at night yet so, I only stayed in Lake Rose for about 10 minutes.

Near the Lake Rose is the campgrounds. There were quite a people staying there with their RVs. In the camping grounds, they have a swimming pool, a toilet and bath, vending machines, some play courts, waste disposal stations and also a lot of water drinking stations. I used the road from the campgrounds going back to the parking area since it offered a short route and I’m a little bit exhausted from hiking, too. I got to the parking lot about 1400H and drove all the way back home.

I arrived at home later at 1700H and I started to upload the pictures I captured. Then I saw this photo in one of the places in Hocking Hills but I found out it is not in the state park but in a private property within Hocking county. This is the Corkscrew Falls in Logan, too.

Corkscrew Walls, photo credit to roadtrippers

Corkscrew Falls, photo credit to roadtrippers

There are still a lot of nice and great places to see in Hocking Hills State Park that I haven’t visited such as the Ash Cave, Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs. I might be returning to this state park soon but it sure made me want to explore more places here in the United States. Well to make it short, the travel bug bit me again and now, I’m looking at the map to plan for my next trip. All I can say is every person has this urge to explore to broaden his perspective and widen his knowledge of the surrounding. Thereby, we need to follow that urge and have fun exploring the world along the way.