Deep Creek Lake State Park

Boat Launch

The boat launch area at Deep Creek Lake State Park is open 24 hours a day weather permitting. Overnight slip use is available only to DCL State Park campers on a first come, first serve basis. Visitors should be prepared to pay the launch ramp fee each time the ramp is used or display a valid lake use permit or MD State Park pass in the windshield. Several types of passes are valid at this state park boat ramp.

Fishing is generally good on the lake with stocked trout, walleye, bass, and yellow perch being the most abundant. A service charge for use of the ramp applies to all making use of the facility. A Maryland State Park passport (annual pass to all Maryland State Parks) is recommended. Purchase a State Park Passport here.

Boating Safety Education classes provide the the boaters of Maryland the necessary information to operate a vessel safely. "Click here" for Boating Safety Education classes sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.

Snowmobile season begins on December 15th and ends on March 15th of each year. Visitors who enjoy winter activities on snowmobiles may access the Deep Creek Lake trail system from the either the boat launch parking area or the Discovery Center parking lot. Snowmobiles must display an ORV (off road vehicle) sticker current for the calendar year.

Car top boat launching - The boat launch facility is designed for use by motorized vessels. It is often a very busy place on warm summer days. Visitors who bring their personal kayak, canoe or sailboard to the park should access the waterfront through the park entrance gate (service charge applies during all seasons) and launch at the “soft launch” provided near the beach area. Signs directing visitors to the “car top” boat launch are posted just inside the entrance gate.

Thin Ice Warning on Deep Creek Lake - posted January 29, 2014

A large area of the main body of Deep Creek Lake has very thin and unstable ice due to wind and current patterns prohibiting the lake from freezing. The public should use extreme caution throughout Deep Creek Lake for the remainder of the winter season.

Park Amenities

Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center

Most of the parks visitor services are located on State Park Road along the waterfront of Deep Creek Lake. The park includes approximately 1 mile of shoreline on this, Maryland's largest man-made lake. Access is available for fishing, swimming, and boat launching. Several picnic areas offer excellent views of the lake with easy access to the beach and other facilities. For more information check out our park map.

Park Headquarters is located at the intersection of Brant and State Park Roads. Information can be obtained here during business hours Monday through Friday. If you need emergency assistance, call the Maryland Park Service communication center at 1-800-825-7275 or dial 911. General park information can be obtained at 301-387-5563. The Discovery Center can be reached at 301-387-7067 during business hours.

Interpretive programs, consisting of evening campfire programs, and talks and hikes on the natural and cultural resources of the park, are led by a park naturalist and are available at various times throughout the year and by special request. Activity schedules are posted on bulletin boards throughout the park and at the Discovery Center.

Meadow Mountain offers opportunities for hiking. Trail difficulties range from moderate to difficult. A trail guide is available at Park Headquarters and at the Discovery Center or you may purchase one on-line. Pets are allowed on trails and must be kept on a leash. Four season opportunities exist for mountain biking, cross country skiing & snowmobiling.

Picnicking is available in the park's waterfront area (a service charge applies). Tables, grills, shelters, a bathhouse and restrooms are available to use by visitors. Shelters must be reserved in advance for a fee. Swimming is allowed in designated swimming areas which are adjacent to the sandy beaches. Lifeguards are on duty daily at the designated swimming area during posted hours from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park. A special permit to allow for consumption of alcoholic beverages at a reserved picnic shelter may be applied for and received prior to an activity scheduled to be held in a reserved shelter. Alcohol Special Permits are available only through the MD State Park reservation system. The day use area of the park closes at sunset. All park visitors must leave the beach, picnic and shelter areas by sunset.

Camping

A yurt at Deep Creek Lake

Meadow Mountain campground has 112 campsites that are available by reservation from the spring through the fall. Each site is conveniently located near heated restroom facilities complete with hot showers. Twenty-six sites offer 30 amp electric service. The campground is older and designed with narrow, one way roadways. Site selection is very limited for larger RV’s and camp units measuring over 30’ in length. A dump station located at the entrance of the campground is available for use by registered self-contained units.

The campground also offers several interesting options to bringing your own tent. The Bear Den is a three sided Adirondak-style shelter with the open side facing out into the forest. Two mini-camper cabins and a Yurt (a canvas sided round tent on a raised platform) are located in an open setting at the top of the campground. Each of these types of camp lodgings is very popular.

A few notes of special interest: The maximum length of stay in the campground is 2 weeks. Pets are permitted in certain designated loops. Some years black bear sightings are common in the campground. Campers are reminded to keep their camp site clean at all times by promptly and properly disposing of trash and storing all food items securely in a hard sided vehicle or trailer. Campsites measure 24’ x 24’ and are supplied with a picnic table, fire ring, lantern post and a metal food storage locker with 24 cubic feet of storage space - enough room to store two standard size coolers and some dry goods.

Click here for camping season beginning and ending dates, and camping and shelter service charges.

Tips for camping in black bear country: Bears frequent our campground. Here are a few simple reminders to help keep you and the bears safe and ensure that you have an enjoyable stay.

Deep Creek Lake bear proof storage areas

  • Never keep food in your tent.
  • Store food and garbage out of a bear's reach, by either storing your food in the bear-proof container located on each site or by storing food securely in the trunk of your vehicle.
  • Remove your trash from your site and place in the campground dumpster located at the entrance to the campground.
  • Remember to secure your pet’s food also.
  • If a bear comes into camp, don't feed it! Scare it away by making noise.
  • See a park employee to get more detailed information on how to camp in black bear country or visit: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Hunt_Trap/blackbear/bblivingwith.asp

Hunting

Hunting is permitted in the park's backcountry areas during regulated hunting seasons. The managed hunting areas are posted and applicable regulations including license requirements apply. Be sure to consult your Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping for season dates and bag limits. Hunters can access the hunting area one hour before sunrise and must exit the area no later than one hour past sunset.

Pet Policy

  • Pets are allowed in Browning, Beckman and Garrett Camp Loops
  • Pets are allowed on trails
  • Pets are allowed in boat ramp area to board vessels
  • Pets are allowed in Discovery Center parking area to access trails
  • Pets are allowed to swim from shoreline in all areas except swimming beach, docks or fishing piers
  • Pets are allowed in all day-use areas and lake (except for sandy portion of swimming beach area and aviary)
  • Owners are responsible for curbing their pets. Pet waste stations are located throughout the park.

Self-Guided Recreational Activities

Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center

A ranger talking with customers at Deep Creek Lake

Nestled along the shores of Deep Creek Lake at Deep Creek Lake State Park, the Deep Creek Discovery Center is an educational/interpretive center for people of all ages to enjoy and learn. 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.

Check out the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center Schedule of Events.

Trail Guide

To purchase copies of the Deep Creek Lake State Park Trail Guide with a credit card, please "click" on this link to place your order online.

To purchase copies of the Deep Creek Lake State Park Trail Guide with a check, please "click" on this link to download an order form.

Deep Creek Lake offers several accessible campsites, available by reservation. The waterfront area offers some accessible restrooms. An accessible fishing pier is located next to the park's boat ramp facility. There are two parking spaces designated for handicapped use in close proximity to the fishing pier. For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Parks, visit the Accessibility For All section of this website.

West of the Divide

Deep Creek Lake State Park lies just west of the Allegheny Front on a large plateau known as the Tablelands or Allegany 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 gets its name from Deep Creek Lake, a hydroelectric project constructed on Deep Creek in the 1920's by the Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Company.

Guests picnic at Deep Creek Lake

Man has been associated with the use of this land for thousands of years. Early nomadic hunters and gatherers, followed by Native American hunters, roamed through the mountains of Garrett County but have left little record of their presence. Beginning in the 1700's, early settlers to the region eked a subsistence existence based on the utilization of the area's abundant natural resources. The mountains remained relatively untouched until the turn of the century when massive logging operations began stripping the land of the virgin red spruce, hemlock, white pine, and yellow birch forests.

The park is the site of the historic Brant coal mine and homesite, where a restored mine entrance preserves a typical drift or adit mine. The mine was worked for several years by the Brant family and supplied bituminous coal for heating and blacksmithing in the local community.

Regeneration
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.

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 in early to mid October with clear, crisp days and cold evenings.

Whatever time of year you choose to visit the park, many new adventures await you. 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. Please take some time to enjoy what nature has to offer in addition to our recreational opportunities.

Deep Creek Lake Info...

Location

Directions to Deep Creek Lake State Park:
  • From Pittsburgh: Take I-79 south to I-68 east. Exit 14A (Route 219 South Deep Creek Lake). Continue on Route 219 South for 18 miles. Turn left onto Glendale Road. Continue on Glendale Road for one mile, crossing over the Glendale Bridge. Immediately after crossing the Glendale Bridge, turn left onto State Park Road. Continue on State Park Road for one mile until you see the information sign for the state park facilities.

  • From Washington, D.C.: Take 270 north to I-70 west to I-68 west. Exit 14A (Route 219 South Deep Creek Lake). Continue on Route 219 South for 18 miles. Turn left onto Glendale Road. Continue on Glendale Road for one mile, crossing over the Glendale Bridge. Immediately after crossing the Glendale Bridge, turn left onto State Park Road. Continue on State Park Road for one mile until you see the information sign for the state park facilities.

  • From Baltimore: Take I-70 west to I-68 west. Exit 14A (Route 219 South Deep Creek Lake). Continue on Route 219 South for 18 miles. Turn left onto Glendale Road. Continue on Glendale Road for one mile, crossing over the Glendale Bridge. Immediately after crossing the Glendale Bridge, turn left onto State Park Road. Continue on State Park Road for one mile until you see the information sign for the state park facilities.

Deep Creek Lake State Park
898 State Park Road
Swanton, Maryland 21561

Contact Deep Creek

Phone: 301-387-5563

Hours of Operation

8 a.m. to Sunset
Main gate closed during snowmobile season (Dec. 15-March 15). Parking available at Discovery Center.
Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.

Contact the Park Service

  • Toll Free: 1-800-830-3974
    (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Park Watch: 1-800-825-7275
  • Email Us

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