Cunningham Falls Nature Trail

EASY 112 reviews
#3 of 16 trails in

Cunningham Falls Nature Trail is a 5.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Thurmont, Maryland that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

5.9 miles
1,223 feet

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching






wild flowers


no dogs

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.

12 days ago

Turned out to be a great day for a hike. The recent snow then warm weather made the Falls quite impressive. The hike as posted on AllTrails appears to be inaccurate or needs updating. The Nature Trail is in Catoctin Mountain Park run by the National Park service. Dogs are allowed on leash. The map on All Trails also appears to be inaccurate. There is no way to cross over into Cunningham Falls State Park to do the upper Falls loop shown on the All Trails map so the actual Falls nature trail hike is around 4.6 miles. It has a significant change in elevation along the first mile and a half that makes it feel more like a moderate level of difficulty. The Blue Still additional side trail that has an old still and signs that describe the history of Frederick county’s largest illegal still operation and is worth the extra half mile.

2 months ago

Easy trail. The falls are crowded in the summer. When you loop back, you see some nice boulders.

3 months ago

A pretty casual hike. A bit busy sometimes. Kids loved it.

6 months ago

Good time to go in summer especially after the rains when the fall has good amount of running water. Had a great time climbing the rocks along the fall. I wouldn’t say it is an ‘easy’ hike but a moderate to hard one. You can also sit by the river which is near the parking lot and enjoy a picnic. Will definitely go again.

10 months ago

easy, well maintained trail that the whole family can do - there is even an option that is ADA accessible (parking along a road only w/ handicap passes & a flat boardwalk to a large observation area with benches) we went in early july and enjoyed the freshly ripened raspberries that surrounded the trail

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

nice easy trail. waterfall is completely frozen right now. still pretty but it doesn't really look like a waterfall.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

This route on the app says it's easy. The upper part of the loop ends up being the extended HARD hike. It was shocking to say the least but so much fricking fun!!! The upper loop was not for the faint at heart. :)

Friday, October 06, 2017

Easy trail, good for novice hikers and the falls are a great break before heading back.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Take the high trail for a bit more of a challenge. This also connects to the Catoctin Trail and campground trail.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

It was a good trail, but very crowded. Nice loop options. Was a good walk. The waterfall was beautiful!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Easy but the fact it was pouring rain made it more interesting :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

was nice..and the reward the falls..

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It was beautiful. Will definitely go again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lovely views and unique rock formations. See if you can find some metallic blue slate like I did.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Very short and easy hike to the falls. Rocks by the falls are fun to climb.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'm not sure why this trail is rated easy. Maybe it was because of the heat, but 1,175 ft elevation is about 2-3 times more steep than what I'm used to doing in my neck of the woods. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see our friend's car! I liked the seeing the falls; wish I could have enjoyed that more, but I was too wiped out!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A fun hike. I suggest staying away from the Falls on the weekends because the crowds are like an amusement park. Much more interesting on the other side of the road.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

very busy and crowded. there is a fee to enter park.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cooooool rad lol

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nice Trail. Be careful if you hike after a rain, the rocks are very slippery.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

great trail, have done this many times in the past

Friday, August 14, 2015

Too short and too crowded, but the rocks were fun!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Short and easy but fun

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Is surprising to me that most of my friends living in MD do not know about this place. It's just a quick getaway from DC and has some really nice trails to hike or trail run. nice cozy spots to camp as well. would definitely recommend if you just want to getaway for the weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Great trail, on the plus you can navigate a good three wheel all terrain stroller the whole way from park central to the bad road crossing right before the falls. No other stroller will make the trip! this is a over six or seven trail to me, you will be mule before the hike is over. I take my kids with me when ever I can and there are a few tough sections.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A fun easy trail for those wanting an quick and beautiful hike. Great for children and inexperienced hikers, but be prepared for crowds due to this in the warmer seasons. Two different routes to the falls, one longer and one shorter you can do a loop going up one and back the other to get the full experience of this trail. Have gone in winter and summer both a fun little adventure.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

This has always been my favorite hike as a small child and still till this day is one of my favorite places to go. I prefer hiking the more moderate hike on the left and going off trail entirely but when with my kids and family we take the easy stoned path. - If your looking for solitude go somewhere else the Crowd has gotten obnoxious and disrespectful. The waterfall itself has gotten remarkably small and hardly looks like a waterfall anymore. Although On top the waterfall and off the main trails it is beautiful and much less crowded.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

It was a beautiful hike. I was amazed to find it packed on a February day but it was still great. Lots of snow and that created a need for a little caution on the steep parts.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Beautiful trail and waterfall but way overcrowded. There were people everywhere being disrespectful of the trail and the boundaries. I don't think I'll return to this one.

Friday, August 24, 2012

It was sunny, warm. It was very busy and crowded on the day we went. It was a great hike. I took my 4 year granddaughter. She didn't have any trouble with the hike. I recommend this hike.

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