Deep Creek Lake State Park offers a lot of hiking with little effort. The new multi-million dollar visitor center is a recommended stop before venturing out. Park staff can provide you with a circuit map, give you an exact idea of trail difficulty, and you'll see wonderful exhibits displaying the area's native wildlife and plant life.
The circuit hike begins from parking lot #3 at the far end of the lot where hikers immediately cross back over State Park Road. Take the short 300-foot connector trail that deposits you onto the white-blazed Meadow Mountain Trail. Ascend the trail, which incidentally is used by summer visitors accompanying rangers on interpretive hikes to Old Brant Mine. At 0.4 mile, bear right onto the Old Brant Mine Trail. Here you'll see the mine remnants. When ready to leave the historic site, take the trail that descends to the left, and eventually intersects with Meadow Mountain Trail at 0.8 mile. When you reach Meadow Mountain, turn right and ascend the path making a sharp switchback. Be sure to continue on the white-blazed route, for several trails intersection on both sides. At 1.7 miles, take the short spur right to the leaf-filtered vista of Deep Creek Lake. Back on the main trail, continue in an eastbound direction. Within a short distance, you are offered another spur trail, this time leading a fire tower that is used seasonally and occassionally closed to the public. Retrace your steps to the main trail that now overlaps with Indian Turnip Trail. The blue-blazed route leads you into a wetland area where elevated boards ease the hike. Shortly after the trail rises to dryer ground, the two trails split. Make a sharp right onto Indian Turnip Trail (blue-blazes). At about 4.5 miles, ascend right following the black-blazed Fire Tower Trail. Avoid the trail to the left unless you want to end up at the campground. After hiking the black-blazed trail a very short distance, bear right again onto the green-blazed Snake Root Trail. This is a loop trail and within several yards, you'll see where the end of the loop re-enters the path. Bear right and follow the self-guided historic trail making a large loop. When you finish the loop, follow the trail directly across the path back onto the white-blazed Meadow Mountain Trail. Follow the white blazes back to the short 300-foot connector trail that will carry you back to parking lot #3.
Hikers looking for a challenge and lengthier route may choose to experience Fire Tower Trail found just beyond Snake Root Trail. A sharp ascent requires scrambling while the decent requires scooting on all four.
Directions: From Oakland, MD, Travel ten miles northeast of Oakland along U.S. Highway 219. At Thayerville, head east along Glen Dale Road to the east side of Deep Creek Lake. This takes you to the park entrance. Proceed into the park and travel to lot #3. The trail begins from the rear of the lot where you'll cross over State Park Road.
Elevation: 3,000 feet
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
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Deep Creek Lake State Park, Maryland
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