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Recreational Trails Program Achievement Awards

Swallow Falls Trails and Muddy Creek Falls Overlook, MD

The meandering trails through Swallow Falls guide hikers to some of the most breath-taking scenery in Western Maryland. See a one-page pdf version of this page.

Map of maryland
photo of wood step risers on trail
New steps to the waterfall overlook built with the help of Maryland Conservation Corps (click photo to enlarge)

Project sponsors: Department of Natural Resources, Herrington Manor/Swallow Falls State Park, The Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC)

Award Category: Use of Youth Corps

Congressional District: Roscoe Bartlett (R-6-MD)

Senators: Paul Sarbanes (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D)

2006 Annual Achievement Award winner: for trail projects funded through the Recreational Trails Program of the Federal Highway Administration.

photo of wood stairs

Swallow Falls State Park is home to the oldest grove of white pine and eastern hemlock in Maryland, with some trees over 360 years of age. The area is most noted for Muddy Creek Falls; at 53 feet it is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Maryland.

The meandering trails through Swallow Falls guide hikers to some of the most breath-taking scenery in Western Maryland.

The trail to Swallow Falls and the Muddy Creek Falls Overlook is a very well used trail and utilized $10,900 of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) dollars in 2004 for the purposes of several needed improvements.


photo of trail workers

In order to make these improvements, the Park enlisted the support of The Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC). The MCC is a highly effective, statewide partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism (GOSV), and the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps. The MCC has earned the reputation of being Maryland's premier environmental youth service program.

To begin the project, first, new steps were constructed from just below the trailhead to the location of the Upper Swallow Falls. These steps clearly designate the trail, keeping hikers on the trail, make the journey up and down the slope easier and channel water away from the trail, preventing erosion.

photo of wood deck with benches

Second, the stairway at the Muddy Creek Falls was replaced, providing safer and easier access between the top and bottom of the 53 foot high falls. Third was the installation of a new overlook at Muddy Creek Falls.

This overlook is accessible to persons with disabilities and provides clear unobstructed views of the falls. The Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) completed the work on the trail in 2005 and they continue to enhance and improve the trail work as part of their experience.


photo of waterfall



Caroline Blizzard, Department of Natural Resources, 222 Herrington Lane, Oakland, MD 21550; phone (301) 387-7067

For more great trails, see:


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See a one-page pdf version of this page.





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