What to do in Youghiogheny River State Park

The Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River is part of the large Mississippi River watershed that stretches from the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Rockies in the west. Beginning in the gently rolling farmlands of southern Garrett County, the Youghiogheny cuts a northward path through some of the most rugged mountain scenery in Maryland before running into Pennsylvania and merging with the Monongahela.

The Youghiogheny drains an area encompassing approximately 397 square miles in Maryland. In its first 20 miles, the river meanders through a pastoral setting of farms and wood lots occasionally paralleled by country roads or railroad tracks. North of the town of Oakland, the character of the river changes as the river valley narrows, deepens, and becomes heavily forested. From Swallow Falls to Hoyes Run, the Youghiogheny enters a stretch of falls and rapids with a drop in elevation of 280 feet in four miles.

At Hoyes Run, a relatively smooth stretch of river can be found all the way to Gap Falls, just north of Sang Run. At that point, the most rugged and inaccessible section of the river runs wild and free to the town limits of Friendsville, dropping in elevation at times by over 100 feet per mile.

In 1976 a 21 mile long segment of the Youghiogheny was designated as Maryland's first Wild River. A state protected corridor along the river runs from Miller's Run just north of Oakland to the town of Friendsville. This corridor is managed by the Forest and Park Service to preserve the wild and natural scenic, geologic, historic, ecologic, recreational, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.

As the State Forest and Park Service conducts its management activities along the Youghiogheny River valley, numerous sites containing rare, threatened, or endangered plants and animals have been discovered. Tucked away in small, forgotten slopes and hollows can be found a diversity of at least 11 animal and 15 plant species that are threatened or endangered on a statewide or national basis.

The remote and rugged character of much of the river corridor is partly responsible for the presence of viable populations of these rare species. The Service is engaged in an ongoing management program that includes reasonable and wise land use regulation of private land logging, use, and development to ensure their continued presence.

Whitewater boating has become an increasingly popular way for many to experience the wildness of the Youghiogheny. The river is extremely difficult and potentially dangerous and must be treated with respect. Information on whitewater boating may be obtained at the park office.

Trout anglers should travel upstream of State Route 42 Bridge at Friendsville. Brown, brook and rainbow trout are harvested. For fishing details and a brochure entitled Special Trout Management Areas, call (in-state) 1-877-620-8DNR, (out-of-state) 1-800-688-FINS and (TTY) 1-410-260-8835.

Northeast of Friendsville rests the Youghiogheny Overlook Information Center. The well-informed staff along with a host of colorful brochures on the area's attractions provide outsiders with a clearer prospective of recreation's available including the popular whitewater guide services.

Public access to the river is off Hoyes - Sang Run Road and Swallow Falls State Park. Most of the river corridor lies within private landholdings. Visitors must take precautions to avoid trespassing. The park headquarters is located at Deep Creek Lake State Park. Emergency Assistance: 410-461-0051. General Information: 301-387-5563

Recreation
Whitewater paddling, trout fishing, and hunting are the dominant uses of the park.

Location
The Youghiogheny Wild and Scenic River is located in far western Garrett County between Friendsville and Oakland. Take Interstate 68 to U.S. Highway 219 south. Travel 10 - 15 miles south to Hoyes - Sang Run Road. Head west to reach the river / public access.

Climate
Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

Address
c/o Deep Creek Lake State Park
898 State Park Road
Swanton, MD 21561

Phone: 301-387-5563

Fax: 301-387-4462

  • Youghiogheny River State Park Travel Q&A

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