I stumbled upon Cunningham Falls State Park by accident. Years ago, I needed to head south into Virginia on Interstate 81 and I desperately wanted to avoid the traffic in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. So...before I hit either town...I turned south onto Route 15. After crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, I began looking for a side road to take me west and connect onto I-81. The road my very first GPS hooked me onto was Route 77. Making my way up the hollow I was stunned by how visually stunning the landscape was all around me. On either side there were streams, dense forests, trails, and eventually a sign for Cunningham Falls State Park.
|Robin and David Raymond at Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland. -- September 17, 2017|
Nearly three years ago, Robin and I...looking for somewhere different to hike...decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to Cunningham Falls. I really had no idea what to expect...I had only driven through the park once. The rustic beauty of Maryland's Catoctin Mountains didn't disappoint...but unfortunately, the only real memory I have from that first hike is helping Robin out of the park after she sprained her ankles when she slipped on a rock near the waterfall.
|My favorite picture from our oh-so-short hike in Cunningham Falls State Park three years ago. -- October 24, 2014|
Cunningham Falls State Park offers nearly 15 miles of hiking trail (not counting the 27 mile Catoctin Trail which passes through Cunningham Falls and leads to Gambrill State Park). The main attraction, Cunningham Falls, can be reached by following the yellow blazes of Cliff Trail or the red blazes of the Lower Trail. This morning, Robin and I chose to hike the more strenuous Cliff Trail out to the falls. Along the way, we took in scenery composed of dense forests, huge bolders, and rock outcroppings...leading us up the ridge and then down towards the waterfall.
|The yellow blazes of Cliff Trail are clearly marked on the trees and boulders near the trail. -- September 17, 2017|
|This post marks where Cliff and Catoctin Trails intersect. -- September 17, 2017|
|One of the many outcroppings which Cliff Trail passes through on the way to Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017|
|Most people like the waterfalls....me, I like playing on the rocks! -- September 17, 2017|
|A wooden walkway leads the way to the overlook near Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017|
|Cunnngham Falls. -- September 17, 2017|
|Yeah...I know...I'm not suppose to be where I am standing. Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017|
Being a "destination hike"...we had the choice of finishing our hike by taking Lower Trail (rated as EASY) or retracing our steps back to the parking lot trailhead. I'm glad we chose to return back on Cliff Trail. Hiking back the opposite way in which we hiked out not only added a little distance and a few more steps...but it offered different view and perspective of the woods around us.
As we made our way down the final hill to the parking lot I began to smell all the charcoal grills that other park visitors had begun to light in the day use area. No grilling for us today...but Robin and I did enjoy a nice lunch of peanut butter and jelly at a secluded picnic table near Hunting Creek Lake. It was a great day for a hike with my wife. Unlike the last time we were here...this time, we managed to finish our hike. That definitely makes for a better memory.
|With just a few more feet until we reached the parking lot, Robin and I stopped to take in the scenery. -- September 17, 2017|
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- September 17, 2017
|Yes! My wife totally let me get my "history nerd" on! We stopped at Mr. G's Ice Cream in Gettysburg, PA on the way home. The rectangular sign on the building (top right) indicates that this building was here during the Battle of Gettysburg. I was really craving a rootbeer float...and Mr. G's didn't disappoint. -- September 17, 2017|
Here's the GARMIN map and data from our hike in Cunningham Falls State Park...
Interested in hiking at Cunningham Falls State Park? Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.
All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!