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Cunningham Falls Nature Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Thurmont, Maryland that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 5.5 mi Elevation gain 1,000 ft Route type Loop

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Beach

Forest

Lake

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Redwood Tower, 9th Floor, 217 E. Redwood Street , Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone: 410-767-3400, Fax: 410-333-6643

Directions from Thurmont, MD: Travel MD State Route 77 west approximately 3.5 miles turning right onto Park Central Road. Park across from the visitor center; trail begins on the far side of the parking lot across from the visitor center.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (223)
Photos (709)
Recordings (191)
Completed (1293)
David Kirsten
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!Rocky

This is a great place to hike with the kids. The trail to the fall was not too far for a family to do wearing face masks! The falls though not spectacular are nonetheless pretty and worth the walk. The best part is that you can wear a swim suit and go jump in a lake literally after doing the hike! We brought a picnic lunch and had a wonderful time. There is a cost. For out of staters it is $7 a person, but well worth the cost as there is a life guard on duty at each of the 3 beach areas.

Bethany Slapinski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Really great trail. A few steep inclines but easy enough.

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Praveen Gupta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 18, 2020
HikingBugsRocky
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Charisma Olivieri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

Great trail, heavily shaded. Some spots were more steep than others, but as a fairly novice hiker, completely doable. Trail itself is not crowded. We passed only a few people the whole time. We even saw a couple of doggos (on leashes) while we were there! Waterfall toward the end is very crowded. Lots of places closer to the falls for parking if the falls is your main goal. We made the mistake of following crowds after leaving the falls and had to circle back to get on the right trail and added an extra mile or so on accident. Overall great hike!

Hannah Mackey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 1, 2020
Hiking

This was a great trail. Some steep spots for a while, but the direction we went allowed for a mostly downhill descent at the end. The falls were beautiful and passing Hog Rock at the top gave a nice view, too.

Shaun Werbelow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Great hike, really nice look. We may have missed little pieces but overall super easy to follow and you can start from many different parking lots. Good mildly strenuous hike. Highly recommend.

View Shaun's Recording
Melissa Girard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 21, 2020
HikingBugs
View Melissa's Recording
Bethany Flinn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 18, 2020
Hiking

Nice trail but I feel the description is a bit inaccurate. First, I started from the visitors center and went counter clockwise. I got to an “intersection” where I could go towards Wolf Rock or Thurmont Vista. I started toward Thurmont Vista but the app “pinged” that I was off trail so I turned around and went towards Wolf Rock. Though I followed this apps map the trail ended up being closer to six miles. Second, you cannot view Cunningham Falls unless you leave the trail and follow the markers to the falls. That was fine because that’s what I wanted at the end of the hike. The hike was supposed to be 5.5 miles but ended up being 6.3. The scenery is pretty. I didn’t encounter too many people. All the trails were dog friendly but bring your own water for the dog if you go further than the falls. Thurmont and Wolfs Rocked area does not have any water. You will get a work out with all the hills!

Samantha Morein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 7, 2020
Hiking

We did the lower portion of this trail from the visitors center, across 77 to the falls and back. For us novice hikers, the 3.7 miles was a workout. All in all I felt the trail was well maintained and easy to navigate. It is a popular spot so be prepared to see lots of people. We took our dog on this portion but as signs notate, they are not allowed to go up to Hog or complete the full loop.

Tori Lombardi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 4, 2020
HikingMuddy
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Matthew Gray
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 22, 2020
Hiking

Great little trail. Some mud and blow downs but very minor.

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Jacob Huettner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 8, 2020
HikingRocky
View Jacob's Recording
Rebecca Faeder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 1, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Great hike!

View Rebecca's Recording
Mark Carpenter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 2, 2020
HikingRocky

Great winter hike. Moderate to easy with some nice views.

View Mark's Recording
Kevin Gulden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 12, 2020
Hiking

Fun hike. Lots of rocks and areas where the stream has decided to share the trail. We also have proof that if a tree falls in the forest and you are there it does make a sound.

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Melissa Swanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 18, 2019
HikingRocky

Definitely a great work out. We wish there was more of a view!

Sean Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 14, 2019
HikingRocky

Nice solid hike with lots of shade. Going either way is a great hike, I prefer to see the falls at the end.

Kelly Savannah-Sheroda
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2019
Hiking

For someone like me getting back out there and looking to get healthy again this is a nice and easy trail. Plus once you reach the waterfalls it makes it all worth.

View Kelly's Recording
Joseph Panto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 7, 2019
HikingRocky

The one star reviews are (mostly) wrong. The trail is completely fine and was a great hike if you do the full 5 mile loop. Perfect shade/sun mix and I would recommend doing it the hard way which is parking at Hog and walking around past the ranger station and after waterfall it’s a 1.5 mile hike up the mountain back to car! Amazing! Yes those reviews are only accurate about the waterfall section was designed to be easily accessible for handicap. That being said, go walk around it and hike up the water fall, signs are signs and they are intended to make people thing twice before swimming. People were swimming... they looked like they were having a blast!

David K.
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 27, 2019
HikingOff trail

As the previous reviewer has mentioned, this trail is not able to be completed in its current configuration. Signage near Cunningham Falls both discourages visitors from swimming/crossing the falls and river, and prohibits crossing route 77. Disappointingly, in the summer time the falls are a popular destination for hundreds of families with their swimsuit-clad children in tow. Although the falls feature two boardwalk platforms that enable up close views of the falls without disturbing the ecosystem, the view is mostly soured by many individuals swimming in the river, climbing the boulders over the falls, and trampling the fragile ecosystem, with total disregard to the park's signage. The hike to the falls via the Lower Falls Trail on Cunningham state park property is an easy walk along a gravel paved road; the Cliff Trail is slightly more challenging with some steep ascents, but offers some beautiful views of the forest and unique rock formations. While these individual walks are beautiful on their own, the recommended trail is broken in its current state and should not be presented as-is.

Ilona User
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 18, 2019
Hiking

This itinerary should be removed from AllTrails. As some other reviewers note, there is not actually a trail connecting Cunningham Falls Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. You have to leave the boardwalk and cross the river to get from one to the other. I don't mind bushwhacking, but the space between the two trails is a hemlock restoration area. There are signs in the area asking hikers to stay on the trail/boardwalk. In order to follow the route shown here, a hiker would need to disregard the park's signage and conservation efforts. Also, I think some of the reviewers who called this hike easy must have only done the Cunningham Falls section of the hike. The trail on the Catoctin Mountain side to Hog Rock is moderate. I did that hike with a big group, and several people struggled up the inclines. Of course the 90-degree weather didn't help us, but I still wouldn't call it easy.

Cindy Millison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2019
HikingBugs

Lots of roots! Fun easy hike. Pretty falls. People climbing barefoot up the falls was fun to watch.

Frank Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 7, 2019
HikingBugs
View Frank's Recording
Michelle McCool
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 3, 2019
Hiking

We did this trail a couple of years ago. Very pretty

Mr. Pepap
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2019
HikingBugsRocky

There is a slight map error on this one. The small loop (consisting of the cliff trail and the lower trail) is about two miles in total and is not part of the other, larger loop (the one with Hog Rock). Both loops lead to Cunningham falls, where this map seems to be in error. Where the two loops intersect and do a bunch of zig-zags and stuff is not a trail at all. We started on the small loop and when we got to the falls, we had to cross them through the water and reach a boardwalk nearby. We then continued the trail from there. The large loop is about 5.9 miles (like the app said) so we ended up hiking about 8 miles in total! As well as this, the only part about the trail that was easy was the Lower Trail (in the small loop) everything else was very rocky, I’d say moderate. Otherwise, the trail was very scenic, the falls were great, and there are multiple great views to stop and see on the larger loop (Notably Hog Rock). I’d recommend this trail, just be prepared to hike 8 miles and not 6! EDIT: the map and the difficulty have now been updated! Thank you for listening!

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