What to do in Deep Creek Lake State Park

The Lake was created in 1925 when the Deep Creek hydroelectric project was constructed. The land, which was flooded by construction of the dam as well as many properties surrounding the newly created lake, had been acquired by the power company. Eventually, the Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) began divesting itself of some of the real estate surrounding the lake, although a buffer zone around the lake was retained. Over the next few decades, the Deep Creek Lake region developed as a recreational resort region. In 1968, Penelec was issued a license to operate the facility by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Penelec, as the lake owner, had established corporate policies and procedures for managing recreation and access to Deep Creek Lake. In 1980, the State of Maryland agreed to take over management of recreation and access at Deep Creek Lake. Lake management regulations were promulgated through a public process beginning in 1981 and were updated in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 2000. These regulations are still in effect and provide the basis for the Department of Natural Resources lake management operations.

The park lies just west of the Allegheny Front on a large plateau known as the Tablelands or Allegheny Highlands. Its location at the southernmost end of Meadow Mountain places it west of the Eastern Continental Divide and within the Mississippi River watershed.

Over 95% of the park consists of a forest that has regenerated from the original stands of timber into an excellent example of a maturing northern hardwood forest. Oaks and hickories are now the dominant species. Forest wildlife species such as black bear, wild turkey, bobcat, and white-tailed deer have grown in numbers over the past decades as habitat has been preserved and managed. Small mammals such as squirrel, chipmunk, raccoon, skunk, and opossum are frequently seen. The park is also home to numerous plant species, some rare, found on the forest floor.

Deep Creek Lake State Park is the site of the historic Brant coal mine and homesite, where a restored mine entrance preserves a typical drift or admit mine. The Brant family worked the mine for several years and it supplied bituminous coal for heating and blacksmithing in the local community.

Trails take you into the forest and atop Meadow Mountain where you can experience your own regeneration and the beauty and peace of this place. Trail difficulties range from moderate to difficult. A trail guide is available at Park Headquarters, at the Discovery Center, and at the various trailheads for a small donation. Pets are allowed on trails and must be kept on a leash. Four season opportunities exist for mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

The Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center, the Department of Natural Resources' new interpretive environmental center is nestled along the shores of Deep Creek Lake. The Discovery Center is a one-of-a-kind educational venue for people of all ages. Through hands-on exhibits that showcase the natural resources of Western Maryland, families can learn about the flora and fauna, wildlife, cultural and historical heritage that have turned this former logging and coal mining region into a popular modern day vacation destination.

A boat launch facility is open most of the year except when winter weather or ice conditions prohibit access. Fishing is generally good on the 6 square miles of lake that is stocked with trout, walleye, bass, and yellow perch.

Hunting is permitted in the park's backcountry areas during regular hunting seasons. The hunting areas are posted and applicable regulations including license requirements apply.

Picnicking is available in the park's waterfront area. Tables, fireplaces, grills, shelters, playgrounds, and restrooms are available. Shelters may be reserved in advance for a fee.

Swimming is available at the park's beach with lifeguards being stationed during the summer months. Please note pets are not permitted in the waterfront area of the park.

Recreation
Recreations available at this beautiful Western Maryland park include viewing historic sites, viewing the thriving wildlife populations, and enjoying the new environmental education center. Ranger-led tours include horseback riding, ATV riding, lake cruises and hayrides. In addition, the traditional park pastimes suggest hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking, biking, and hunting.

Location
Deep Creek Lake State Park lies just west of the Allegheny Front on a large plateau known as the Tablelands or Allegheny Highlands. Its location at the southernmost end of Meadow Mountain places it west of the Eastern Continental Divide and within the Mississippi River watershed. It is in Garrett County, ten miles northeast of Oakland on the east side of Deep Creek Lake, two miles east of Thayerville, off US Route 219.

Climate
Deep Creek Lake State Park lies just west of the Allegheny Front on a large plateau known as the Tablelands or Allegheny Highlands. The Tableland's weather is quite unique for the region. Many winters bring over 200 inches of snow and the greening of leafing trees does not occur until mid-May. Summers are characterized by warm days and cool nights. Autumn comes alive with blasts of color on early to mid-October with clear, crisp days and cold evenings.

Address
898 State Park Road
Swanton, MD 21561

Phone: 301-387-5563

Fax: 301-387-4462

  • Deep Creek Lake State Park Travel Q&A

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