The 10 best hiking trails near Deep Creek Lake

Forest trail heading towards a lake
Wooden cabin with a wrap around deck in Deep Creek Lake, MD

Imagine a lake, nestled in the gently rolling hills of western Maryland, where entire afternoons can be spent outside. Deep Creek Lake’s 69 miles of shoreline are bordered by green forest and peppered with cabins. Things are slower—more purposeful—here. Canoes and kayaks are poised for mornings spent gliding through calm waters. The surrounding woods are ripe with hiking paths.

Experience this tranquility with one of our Deep Creek Lake vacation rentals. Our guests return year after year to experience these incredible outdoors, whether they’re seasoned hikers or setting foot on their first trail. Be sure to bring your hiking boots and your trusty backpack, because we’ve found the 10 best hiking trails near our Deep Creek Lake cabins.

deep creek lake surrounded by forests

Deep Creek Lake State Park hikes

1. Snakeroot Nature Trail

Length: .25 miles, loop
Difficulty: Easy

First, let’s take it easy: the Snakeroot Nature Trail is the shortest, quickest trail on the list. Those in search of expert guidance needn’t worry, as brochures on identifying trees and wildlife are easily available. This mostly flat trail is just minutes from our Deep Creek Lake cabins and is ideal for guests in search of an easy stroll.

2. Beckman’s Trail

Length: 1.7 miles, loop
Difficulty: Moderate

Beckman’s Trail has the perfect balance of challenge and accessibility that makes it great for more experienced hikers or mountain bikers. The trail starts out nice and easy, before hitting a moderate incline. When you finish climbing, you’ll be rewarded with a serene natural rock garden, where you can catch your breath before heading toward the more technical parts of the trail. Eventually, Beckman’s Trail links up with the Brant Mine Trail, which combines gorgeous foliage with history at the Brant Coal Mine and Homesite.

3. Indian Turnip Trail

Length: 4 miles, loop
Difficulty: Challenging

It’s true that the most difficult trails can have the best payoff—and the Indian Turnip Trail is no exception. You can start this hike back at the parking lot, or pick it up from Beckman’s Trail. Indian Turnip brings more tricky rocky terrain, along with a few steep inclines. However, it’s quite well paced, with downhill sections to balance out the uphill marches. You’ll have plenty to admire as you walk, with intermittent rock gardens and mossy stones lining the trail. Mountain bikers enjoy this trail as well, but the rocky terrain and steep hills require some experience.

4. Meadow Mountain Trail

Length: 3.9 miles, loop
Difficulty: Moderate

Meadow Mountain is one of the more popular Deep Creek Lake hiking trails—and considering its relatively long length, that speaks volumes about the beauty you’ll find along the way. You can pick it up from the rockier Beckman’s Trail, or start from the entrance by the parking lot. The trail is fairly relaxing, with less scrambling on rocky surfaces than other hikes.

The trail is accessible year-round, but there are two times of the year in particular you should plan your visit. Autumn is an easy choice, thanks to the vibrant leaves, but abundant wildflower blooms in the spring are not to be missed. You don’t have to go at it alone, either—as long as they’re leashed, your canine companions can explore the trail with you! Be sure to browse our pet-friendly Deep Creek Lake vacation rentals to find the perfect spot for you and your dog.

Pet-friendly Deep Creek Lake cabins

Potomac-Garrett State Forest hikes

5. Lostland Run Trail

Length: 7.4 miles, loop
Difficulty: Moderate

The Potomac-Garrett State Forest is about 20 minutes from our Deep Creek Lake cabins. Tucked away in the trees is Lostland Run Trail: a seven-mile hike that requires around four hours. What you’ll see along the way more than makes up for the distance. Along with gorgeous foliage, the trail runs alongside the Lostland Run creek, providing the relaxing sound of rushing water as you get closer to the marquee views at the top. Whether you’re here for the breathtaking Cascade Falls, or the river and mountain views atop the Potomac Overlook, it’s a hike you’ll look back on fondly.

Swallow Falls State Park hikes

6. Swallow Falls State Park Loop

Length: 1 mile, loop
Difficulty: Easy

The sole trail from Swallow Falls on this list is a nice, breezy romp. Your path follows the Youghiogheny River until you reach the majestic Muddy Creek Falls, before looping back through some woodlands. The path is lined with rocky outcroppings with rhododendron and mountain laurel blooms. With the sounds of the rushing river, it’s a powerful sensory experience. If you’d like to see even more waterfalls—and add a little length to the hike—you can take a side path to reach Tolliver Falls. The small but gorgeous falls (and short and simple trail) are a nice option if you want to avoid crowds. Best of all, Swallow Falls State Park is less than 30 minutes from our Deep Creek Lake house rentals.

Canoes stacked on racks on a grassy field near the shore of Deep Creek Lake

New Germany State Park hikes

7. New Germany Trail Loop

Length: 5.6 miles, loop
Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re looking for a more challenging waterside hike, the New Germany Trail Loop is perfect for your next trip to the Deep Creek Lake area. Nearly six miles in length and with some steep inclines, the path is definitely not for the faint of heart. But there are rich rewards for your efforts. The trail has a peaceful atmosphere, partially due to the sounds of rushing water from the creek, and partially from the shade of the foliage and trees densely lining the trail. Bird-watchers, be sure to pack your binoculars! Many local species can be heard calling over the gentle babble of the creek.

8. Poplar Lick Trail

Length: 5 miles, out and back
Difficulty: Moderate

The Poplar Lick Trail starts in New Germany State Park—20 minutes from our Deep Creek Lake cabin rentals—and reaches its halfway point at the majestic Savage River. While a total round-trip length of 10 miles can be intimidating, the trail is mostly gentle and accommodating, save for a few steep inclines. The scenery is lovely too, with leaves bursting with color in autumn and wildflower blooms in the summertime. There are also several gorgeous creeks and streams, but be warned that not all of them have bridges for crossing—you might need to get your feet wet to see the hike through to the end!

Deep Creek Lake cabins with hot tubs

Savage River State Forest hikes

9. Monroe Run Trail

Length: 5 miles, out and back
Difficulty: Challenging

Both of the paths in Savage River State Forest are on the harder side, but the Monroe Run Trail is a little more accessible thanks to its shorter length. There are multiple ways to approach Monroe Run, but we recommend starting at the New Germany Road opening. This means the first leg of the hike will culminate in the Savage River Reservoir, and you'll get most of the tricky inclines out of the way early. You don’t want to end such a fantastic hike with a difficult uphill slog!

10. Big Savage Mountain Trail

Length: 17 miles, out and back
Difficulty: Very challenging

The Big Savage Mountain Trail is, without a doubt, the hardest trail in the Deep Creek Lake area. It’s so difficult that the park asks visitors to call their office to let them know they’re trying the trail beforehand, in case they wind up needing help. If you’re not absolutely confident in your skills as a hiker, you should stick to the other trails on this list—you have plenty of ways to enjoy similar heavily forested paths under brilliant autumn canopies without the steep inclines and grueling length of the Big Savage Mountain Trail.

On the other hand, if you’re a veteran hiker in search of a challenge—and one-of-a-kind views—this trail on the crest of Big Savage Mountain is worth another look. The triumph of conquering the inclines by the reservoir and long paths is its own reward, and when you reach the stunning views of the Allegheny Plateau, you’re sure to snap some incredible photos.

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