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I grew up camping with my family at Rocky Gap every summer. The best feature of Rocky Gap is the versatility of the campgrounds. There are options for RV camping with electric, tent spots, small cabins, and the resort if you would rather have a more comfortable resort experience. Pets are allowed in a select few loops.
They have a range of activities available including a large lake to swim, fish or paddle. There are a few trails for hiking, at least 2 small “beach” areas off the lake with play grounds and a camp store. You can also go over to the casino resort for entertainment and food.
Alcohol is not permitted outside of the resort which is partly why I say this camping experience is better for families. Rangers routinely monitor the site loops and there is a quiet hours period, I believe starting at 10pm and you will have a ranger pull up on you if you do not adhere.
Type: Gravel Vehicle Accessible: Yes Size: ~ 1 large tent or 2 compact tents. Most are the same size, fairly small spots. Bathroom: Communal bathhouses in the middle of each loop with toilets, sinks and showers. Fire pit: Yes, with grill grate. Firewood: Must buy firewood at camp store. Water access: Some, depending which part of the loop your site is located on. Electric: No unless RV camping. Alcohol Policy: Not permitted unless drinking in the Resort or a motor home. Other Features: Picnic table, small wood post counter / hook to hang a lantern on and place a camp stove on.
We stayed at the Kentuck Campsite. The sites are close to each other but we had plenty of space at the same time. The hiking trails were beautiful this time of year. Wasn’t a big fan of their restrooms, not very COVID friendly I felt and a bit outdated. That’s the only reason I give it a 4 star.
We had a great stay at Cowans Gap. Very pretty park in a scenic valley between two mountain ranges. Very easy drive from DC. The sites around us were nicely spaced apart (we were in Loop A, site 142) but some other areas did loop more crowded. Nice hike up the Tuscarora trail - pretty steep with a few rock scrambles that made for a challenging but fun hike with our six-year-old.
I was camping at site 109; a seemingly very small clearing, feet from the road. At one corner of this clearing is a 5 foot wide trail which leads to a larger clearing, with a large fire pit. I figured this was part of the campsite, pitched my tent there and left my car in the small initial clearing. Woke up to a police officer telling me that although he knew very well the site delineation was very ambiguous, he had no choice but to give me a citation for camping in violation of my permit, which is no less than a criminal offense in MD. Officer admitted regularly ticketing campers this way, and that his superiors didn't care to remedy.
3 stars because the rest was fantastic!
It's a small campground and it was a little nerve-wrecking getting here for the last mile or two on local roads. There are a lot of fun activities for kids and the proximity to Antietam is nice. But, sites are tight lengthwise…whatever length you enter is the length site you'll get! Halloween parade was fun, but haunted house was HORRIBLE. We came in fall, so I can't judge summer and pool.
Nice campground, clean and plenty of activities for the kids. The only thing we didn't like was all of the road noise. This campground is located by 2 major highways and truck traffic and Jake brake are constant all night long. The road noise made it hard to hear when we were sitting around the fire.
The Hawk Recreation Area has sites in a loop, these are numbered and near the water pump (which wasn't working when we were there) and the vault toilet. There are also dispersed sites along some of the gravel roads around the official campground. We stayed in one of the dispersed sites and it was un-numbered. The site was great. There was trail access right across the road, there was a fire ring, and a picnic table. There was plenty of wood around, we just drove around to pick up some bigger pieces. Also, you can't beat the free price! We had no service here so be sure to plan ahead.
If you are used to primitive/secluded camping this is not the campground for you. We arrived and there was a ton of trash in our site. Someone left their air fresheners, handbag tags from marshalls, and a ton of other junk. This campground is also very noisy. There are supposed to be quiet hours but people were playing loud music from their cars, from speakers, and whatever else until at least 11pm. Our site had no privacy either, we were right next to several other sites (closer than other state parks we've been to). Physical distancing and mask wearing was not enforced/required. People in the close quarters of the restroom were not wearing masks and didn't seem to mind getting within 6 feet of other people. The woman at the front office who we checked in with even took her mask off because it was fogging up her glasses. Oh, and the wood that we purchased from the camp host was wet, so the fire was a dud until a friendly neighbor gave us some of his wood.
The only positive thing about this campground was the hiking. The first day we hiked up the mountain to the west of the campground, and the second day we hiked up the Tuscarora Trail to the east of the campground. No other campers were hiking these, so we got to appreciate nature by having the trails mostly to ourselves.
This was a beautiful state forest, with two state parks sort of bordering it (Big Run & New Germany). The roads were all paved which was nice. We got sites 112 & 113 because we had a few people join us. Those sites are right next to each other so it worked out really nicely. 113 was a big open field, and 112 was in a sort of pine forest. Both were relatively close to the road and both had poison ivy along their edges. We got the impression that the road is not very travelled, but we were accidentally there on the weekend that they released the dam, so there were a ton of people driving around looking for an available site. We initially wanted to camp at the whitewater sites, but we are so glad we didn't because those sites ended up becoming a parking lot for people who were there for the dam release. Recommend the High Rock hike and any of the trails in New Germany State Park. One more thing - the map indicated an iron ranger nearby these sites but we couldn't find it, so we ended up depositing our payment at the iron ranger at the white water sites. You could pick up payment envelopes at the headquarters or the whitewater sites.