Let’s take a gander at all there is to see and do in the western wonderland of Deep Creek Lake.

The Deep Creek Lake area is probably best known for the Wisp Ski Resort, but there’s plenty to do there even when it’s not snowing. In addition to all of the swimming, boating, and fishing available, there’s an artisan village, plenty of Amish and Mennonite country cooking, spectacular waterfalls, and lots of adventurous outdoor activities. Let’s get going!

Swallow Falls State Park

Courtesy of Swallow Falls State Park Facebook

2470 Maple Glade Road | Oakland, Maryland 21550

The first thing I do when I’m in town is get myself to Swallow Falls State Park. There’s a wooded old-growth forest, shaded by tall hemlock trees and accented with ground-cover ferns, that leads to the falls. It’s a pretty good hike, so be sure to wear your walking shoes (bikes are not allowed on this trail). Waterways include Tolivar Creek and the Youghiogheny River.

The tallest waterfall is actually called Muddy Creek Falls, and the smaller (less showy) Swallow Falls is further downstream. The park has campsites, picnic facilities, and nature trails. A 5.5-mile hiking and mountain biking trail connects Swallow Falls to Herrington Manor State Park.

Herrington Manor State Park

222 Herrington Lane | Oakland, Maryland 21550

Speaking of Herrington Manor, it’s usually included with admission to Swallow Falls. It’s part of Garrett State Forest and has 365 acres with log cabins, campsites, nature trails, and a manmade lake for fishing, swimming, and kayaking. You can also rent cross-country skis and snowshoes and bicycles (but probably not all at the same time). Other activities include hiking, tennis, basketball, and volleyball as well as an apple butter boil event in the fall.

Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center

Courtesy: Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center Facebook

898 State Park Road | Swanton, Maryland 21561

The Discovery Center is an aviary and nature center located at Deep Creek Lake State Park. You’re actually allowed to touch fossils and black bear paw prints as well as learn about the history, wildlife, and ecology of the lakefront area. There’s a gift shop and a classroom, too.    

Adventure Sports Center International

250 Adventure Sports Way | McHenry, Maryland 21541

Adrenaline junkies unite! Adventure Sports Center International is located on top of the Wisp mountain ski resort. The artificial whitewater rafting facility and sports complex are the third of its kind in North America. Olympic athletes use the facility to practice and train for whitewater rafting events and slalom racing.

Not an Olympic athlete? No worries. You can book guided rafting trips and rent kayaks as well as go rock climbing and rappelling. The center partners with the nearby Garrett College, which offers degrees in outdoor adventure.

Great Allegheny Passage


The Ohiopyle Bridge gives bikers an excellent view of the Youghiogheny River.

A post shared by Great Allegheny Passage (@gaptrail) on

The Great Allegheny Passage is a 150-mile hiking/biking trail that runs through the Appalachian Mountains from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along the way, there are cafes, restaurants, and mountain towns as well as the Casselman, Youghiogheny, and Monongahela Rivers, the Mason Dixon Line, Ohiopyle State Park, and the Eastern Continental Divide.

In Cumberland, the trail becomes the C&O Canal Towpath and continues on to Washington, D.C. The total trail system is 333 miles and runs from Point State Park in Pittsburgh to D.C.

Spruce Forest Artisan Village

Courtesy: Spruce Forest Artisan Village Facebook

125 Casselman Road | Grantsville, Maryland 21536

Part of the Penn Alps complex, Spruce Forest Artisan Village is home to 10 professional artisans who share their knowledge and experience in wood carving, weaving, and pottery in a rustic setting. There are a museum and hiking trails. The nearby Penn Alps Restaurant offers German, Amish, and Mennonite food as well as live music and a gift shop with locally made crafts.

The complex sits along a National Pike historic road that took settlers westward from Baltimore. There’s a 1797 gristmill and the Casselman River Bridge, a stone arch bridge that was the longest single-span stone bridge in America when it was built in 1813. Check out Casselman River Bridge State Park while you’re there.

Simon Pearce Glassworks

Courtesy: Simon Pearce Facebook

265 Glass Drive | Mountain Lake Park, Maryland 21550

Our Deep Creek Lake tour now takes us to Simon Pearce Glassworks. This isn’t your typical glassblower, though. Simon Pearce is well-known for exquisitely handcrafted glassware. You can watch master glass artisans shape and mold molten blobs into gorgeous vases, wine glasses, décor, and more. Then you can purchase some of those same items from the gift shop.  

Have you been to Deep Creek Lake? What’s your favorite attraction? Let us know in the comments.