Whether you’re getting away with your entire family or spending a quick weekend away with your significant other, the four-legged family members often tag along for vacation, too. The great part about our four-season community and environment is that in almost any season, there are plenty of great places to explore while also letting your dogs have some fun. Spring is an especially great time to hike and get outside! After the doldrums of winter, almost everyone is itching to get outside and enjoy the warming weather and spend more time outdoors. It’s also generally a less crowded time of year, which might be even better when hiking with your dog. We’ve rounded up the best places to take the pups on your next trip to Deep Creek Lake!
- Fork Run Recreation Area – Fork Run Recreation Area offers almost 10 miles of trails for hiking and biking and is located just on the other side of the mountain and Wisp Resort. With varying levels of difficulty, it’s a great place to have a relaxing or challenging afternoon with your pups!
- Off-Leash Dog Park – Located just a few miles off the beaten path (aka Garrett Highway/Route 219), the Dog Park is a recent addition that has made locals and visitors very happy. A joint effort between the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club and HART for Animals, this off-leash park offers 40,000 sqft of playable space, and features several other pet-minded amenities. The park also hosts a 5K run every fall.
- Swallow Falls State Park – Did you know you can take your dog to see Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall? While it might not be on their bucket list, it definitely should be on yours, and with a short & mild walking path, it’s a great option for all ages (people & pets!). The park features several waterfalls and also has a pavilion for a quick bite to eat or a couple minutes to relax.
- Deep Creek Lake State Park – While you can’t take your pooches onto the sandy beach area, the rest of Deep Creek Lake State Park is up for grabs! The park features varying terrain, and if you’re up for the hike, a stunning view of the lake from the Thayerville Fire Tower. This park has several different trails, so it’s a great spot to come back to without it feeling like the same place each time!
- Herrington Manor State Park – Located just a few miles south of Swallow Falls State Park, Herrington Manor covers 360+ acres, including a 53-acre lake! There are 12 miles of trails, all looping back to the main buildings. Most trails are fairly mild and level. Herrington Manor is a beautifully hidden gem, and would be a great morning or afternoon adventure.
- Garrett State Forest – Situated right in between Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor, Garrett State Forest covers more than 7,000 acres!! There’s actually a trail connecting Swallow Falls & Herrington Manor (6+ miles) that runs right through Garrett State Forest. That trail was an old railroad track, so it’s nice and wide and relatively flat. Garrett State Forest also features the Rock Maze, which is more of a spectacle than a maze, but nevertheless an awesome feat of nature.
So, if you’re planning your next Deep Creek Lake vacation and want to bring your dog, you’re in luck! Most parks do require dogs on leashes, so make sure to double check the rules for the specific parks. Most of these trails are also perfect for biking! There’s tons to do and we have several pet-friendly rentals! You can also grab a bite to eat with your hound at some of the restaurants that offer outdoor dining, like Trader’s Coffee, Dutch’s Restaurant, and Mountain State Brewing Company.
We asked our staff at Deep Creek Lodging Company and the agents at Railey Realty to help us out with photos of them enjoying these awesome places and we’d love to see yours, too!! Tag us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and show us how you vacation the Deep Creek Lake way!