Archive for the ‘Maryland’ Category

Highest Points in Pennsylvania and Maryland

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Mount Davis - The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

Mount Davis – The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

If you like mountain views and challenges that bring you to new heights then you need to check this out!  There’s something fulfilling about going to the highest point in your home state, or some other state, and looking over the surrounding area.  Now, this isn’t my first highpoint, but Ohio’s is nothing compared to these two.

Pennsylvania’s highpoint (Mount Davis) has a really nice view, but you have to climb up on top of a 40 foot tower to really appreciate it; there are too many trees to really see the view from the ground.  The tower might toy with your fear of heights, if you have one, but the tower is very sturdy… there’s nothing to worry about!  You can drive right up to the highpoint if you want or take a short (.8 mile), flat hike to the tower, the official highpoint marker and all the plaques there.  And once you make your way up the tower steps, you’ll soon realize it was very worth the climb.

Speaking of climbs, there is actually an uphill hike you’ll have to take to get to the top of Backbone Mountain (Maryland’s highpoint AKA Hoye Crest).  It’s only a mile-long hike, but you’ll have a 700 foot increase in elevation, during that hike.  And hey, that’s not much to ask, considering you’ll end up 3,360 feet above sea level!  And I liked how this highpoint had a little log book you could sign, and a certificate to prove you had been there; Pennsylvania was slacking on that one!  The view’s not too shabby up there either, and you don’t need a tower to see it.

But instead of reading this boring text and trying to picture it in your mind, watch this video so you can see all of what I’m talking about:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’d like to check out Mount Davis in Fort Hill, Pennsylvania then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  The green arrow points to where you’ll pull in and park; there are bathrooms and picnic tables here.  To head toward the High Point Trail, just head to the right, to the far end of the open field.  There’s a map that will show you where to go, in fact, if you switch to the satellite view on Google Maps, you can see the trail I’m talking about, Southwest of where you pull in.

If you’d like to check out the Hoye Crest in Oakland, Maryland then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  Yes, you will be parking in West Virginia, and you’ll want to look for a spot on the side of the road that you can pull off on and park.  The trail starts on a turn in a road, and there is a green sign that points toward the trail, telling you it’s the highpoint trail, but if you’re coming from the north, and you pass that sign, then you’ve already passed where you want to park.  I parked right at the trailhead, there’s enough room for maybe two cars.  I wouldn’t recommend driving up the trail, as it’s pretty rough.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you take the High Point Trail, to Mount Davis, then be sure to stay on it! Don’t be like me and get distracted, just before you get to the highpoint, by a trail called the Mount Davis Trail.  Yes, that’s what the highpoint is named, but this trail goes off on it’s own and is pretty dang rocky and narrow.  You don’t really need hiking boots for this one, even though there is one muddy patch, but other than that it’s smooth sailing and it’s free to enter the park.

The trail up Backbone Mountain, to Hoye Crest, is clearly marked by orange blazes, so you shouldn’t get lost or distracted.  You’ll probably want to wear hiking boots, bring water and put on the bug spray for this trail though.  There are a few muddy spots, and a rocky section, so the boots will come in handy.  And with moisture comes gnats and other bugs, so be aware that they will be in your face during some sections.  In fact, I would be walking along and hear hundreds of crickets jumping all around; that was actually kind of cool.  But, since it will take longer to get to the top, you’ll probably want some water along to way.  In fact, bring a lunch with you; there’s a picnic table right at the highpoint, so you can eat and enjoy the view.  Oh, and it’s free to hike to the top of this one as well!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for the Maryland highpoint: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=154

And if you’d like to see an instrumental version of the video, without me butting in all the time, then here you go:

And here are some more pictures:

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Swallow Falls State Park – Home of the Highest Waterfall in Maryland

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Muddy Creek Falls (53 feet) Highest Waterfall in Maryland

Muddy Creek Falls (53 feet) Highest Waterfall in Maryland

If you’re into waterfalls then you’re definitely going to want to check out Swallow Falls State Park!  But, interestingly enough, the waterfall that steals the show isn’t called Swallow Falls; it’s called Muddy Creek Falls, and water crashes 53 feet down the rocks of this waterfall.  I found it a little odd that the park wasn’t named after the highest waterfall in the state, but the namesake falls have  a cool meaning behind their name.

You see, there’s a big rock pillar that has trees growing on top of it, like an elevated island, and it sits right below Upper Swallow Falls.  And tons of cliff swallows use to nest on that little rocky island, hence the name of the falls and the park.  I only found that out after I got back from my trip, but I was actually thinking about climbing up that little rock pillar when I was there.  I opted not to, since it was wet, but I really loved the short cliff trail and the 4 falls and rapids in this area, and I think you will too!

In fact, take a look at my trip here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

Well, if you’re from the area, it’s pretty dang close to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland but, to make things easy for you, just CLICK HERE for a map that will direct you right to Swallow Falls State Park in Oakland, Maryland.  There’s a big parking lot (marked by the green arrow) with bathrooms, picnic tables and the office surrounding it.  You’ll see the start of the trail is right off the one corner of the parking lot as well.

HELPFUL TIPS

Make sure that you have some one dollar bills on you, because it appears that they don’t staff the booth for entrance fees.  They run on an honor system, so you probably won’t be able to get change for bigger bills, unless someone else is there.

And, as with all waterfall locations, be careful when you try to get up close and personal with the waterfalls.  They allow you to walk right up to the top and base of every waterfall and the water is moving FAST, so don’t be too careless.

WANT MORE?

Well, if that wasn’t enough for you then here is the official Swallow Falls State Park site: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/swallowfalls.aspx

And if you’d like to really absorb the nature without my face popping up every minute or two, then here is an instrumental version of my trip:

And, as always, here are some more pictures:

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