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The breathtaking beauty that this park offers will leave you speechless. Hiking trials that’ll keep you busy all day, well spaced campsites, clean bathhouses, and playgrounds for the kids. Not to mention the sight of a horse or two every now and then as the campground has a section for equestrians and their trailers. September was a great time of year to visit, not too hot/not too cold. There weren’t many empty campsites.
This was a great campground. We booked a “walk up” but our parking spot was just down 3 or 4 stairs so it was very easy to go back and forth. We had a large tent pad, fire pit, and picnic table, and there was a water pump right by our parking spot. There were several vault toilets nearby and we never had to wait in line. The sites were well spaced out and while we could hear our neighbors talking, everyone was respectful of the quiet hours.
We chose this location for the stargazing, but the fog was so dense we could barely see in front of our faces in at night and into the early morning! I would not recommend driving to the site at these times because we could not see either side of the road through the fog. However, during the day it was a beautiful drive up the mountain with several scenic overlooks.
There were very few maps of the trails posted so take pictures online before you go. The trails were well marked and interconnected, so you can make your loop as long or short as you’d like. There were many rivers and waterfalls along the way and several dispersed campsites with fire pits around the trails. The hikes were not particularly difficult, but each one had very unique terrain (rocks/mud, steep meadow, flat forest, etc.) and very unique foliage.
I’ve been going to coopers rock campground for 25 years and it’s always a clean, pleasant experience. You’re definitely not going to have the privacy that some campgrounds can provide but in terms of facilities, it’s overall a clean and safe experience.
Site Details: We stayed on site#40 in the Garrett Loop. It is one of only three FHU sites in this loop(the rest are primitive tent sites). The site was level, spacious, beautifully shaded, and convenient to the bath house. In fact, almost every site on the inside of the loop had its own little direct pathway to the bath house. The camping loop in general was beautiful, quiet and heavily forested. I don’t think there was a bad site in the whole loop.
Facilities/Overall Park: This park very quickly rose to the top of our list of MD state parks. The trails to the namesake falls are beautiful and very family-friendly, with lots of helpful signage. However, the parking lots and trailheads were PACKED on the weekend, so if you’re a day tripper, get there early! The bath house was meh, but it didn’t matter much to us since we had hookups.
Surrounding Area/Attractions: The neighboring sister park, Herrington Manor, has full-service deluxe cabins and a nice swimming beach. Also, be sure to hit the nearby Rock Maze trail, especially if you have kids. Swallow Falls is also very convenient to the Deep Creek area, with all the touristy things of a lakeside resort town. Check out Lakeside Creamery for some awesome ice cream!
Overall, this was a gorgeous, well-maintained park, with plenty to keep us busy in the park and surrounding area. We already have a return trip booked for next year!