Saturday, February 14, 2015

Maryland Waterfall Report - 2015

Maryland Waterfall Report - 2015

I figured it was about time that I updated the information I have regarding waterfalls in Maryland. I did a lengthy report for Alabama back in 2009, but never got around to completing one for Maryland. I suppose this is somewhat excusable, as I've been several hundred miles away in Tennessee, so Maryland was not exactly accessible, and Maryland also has many fewer waterfalls than Alabama.

When we last left off, I had the following 14 waterfalls listed for Maryland at:

Amos Falls:
A USGS listed waterfall that does not appear to exist anymore. According to the coordinates USGS gives, it should be located right on the far side of the Conowingo Dam. I have been there more than once and I do not see a waterfall. My assumption is that it was destroyed as part of the dam's construction, or that it was a rapid rather than a true waterfall. Further research required.

Baden Falls:
A waterfall that the Maryland Geological Survey and photographic evidence place on private property in Prince George's County. I do not know more than that and I have not received any photographs that have permission to post. Further research required.

Cascade Falls:
A peaceful waterfall located just outside of Baltimore in the Orange Grove section of Patapsco Valley State Park. Perhaps 8-10 feet tall at the tallest portion. A nice performer if there is some rain, although the stream is prone to getting a bit muddy, so you want to go a little bit after a rainstorm, not immediately after.

Cunningham Falls:
The tallest waterfall in Maryland (by a whopping TWO feet), this 78 foot cascade type waterfall is in a fee area of Cunningham Falls State Park. It is heavily visited and getting decent photographs is challenging due to crowds on and in the waterfall itself (not recommended and against park policy) and due to the relatively long slope of the waterfall. It falls in several stages over a length that really makes this almost a 45-degree angle waterfall, just in a stair-step fashion.

The Falls on Dulaney Branch:
A waterfall is confirmed to exist on private property in Baltimore County on Dulaney Branch via the Maryland Geologic Survey and photographic evidence. I do not have a photograph that I had permission to post. Further research required.

Gilpin's Falls:
A listed National Natural Landmark on private property in Cecil County near the Gilpin's Falls Covered Bridge. No photograph. Further research required.

The Great Falls of the Potomac:
Probably the best known waterfall for hundreds of miles, this falls located just outside of Washington D.C. is located on the Potomac river. Access is via NPS land on either the Maryland or Virginia sides of the river, although the Virginia side offers better views for people with dogs, as dogs are not allowed in some areas on the Maryland side. A very popular site due to its proximity to Washington, expect heavy crowds on weekends, speaking many, many tongues, which is interesting in itself, and a reason for people photographers to consider the falls. It is also a pay area. There are a number of falls and cascades listed by USGS in the area, most of which seem to be submerged most of the year.

Kilgore's Rock/Falling Branch Falls:
A once hidden treasure that has been recently added to Rocks State Park and opened for public use after many years of private ownership. **NEW** At last check it was closed in the winter, but a check now shows that the park is OPEN year-round now, just at reduced hours from November-February.

Muddy Creek Falls:
The largest of the four waterfalls found in Swallow Falls State Park at 54ft. Powerful after a good rain, the area is surrounded by some of the most interesting forest in Maryland.

Paw Paw Falls:
My sources suggest there is a (likely artificial) waterfall on the far portal of the Paw Paw Tunnel in Allegany County. I didn't have the guts to walk through the tunnel when I visited. Further research is not required as this is a likely *artificial* waterfall.

Raven Rock Falls:
A new waterfall for me (Thanks Brock!) located in Gunpowder Falls State Park in the Hereford Area outside of Monkton, on the Gunpowder South Trail in Baltimore County. It is a sliding cascase of perhaps 15-25 feet. I need to visit in person. Further research required.

Upper and Lower Swallow Creek Falls:
The names say it all...these comprise the "Swallow Falls" of Swallow Falls State Park. The lower falls can be hard to discern at high water.

The Cascade:
Sources confirm that there is a waterfall in Frederick County by this name. It is on private property that was listed for sale in the past few years, which is how (thanks for the tip, Brock!) it was confirmed. See: Further research required.

Tolliver Falls:
The fourth and smallest waterfall in Swallow Falls State Park, a double-ledged drop of only about 3-5 feet, but surrounded in hemlock and rhododendron, with nice water coloring. It appeared at last visit that the park was trying to discourage visitation to this waterfall. Further research required.

New Information and Areas of Interest:
Round Falls: A popular swimming spot reported to be by one of my sources (thanks again, Brock!) to be located near Baltimore City. Semi-inundated by a dam, this 9ft waterfall needs further research.

That's all I have for right now. Maryland is a small state and the topography is not ideal for waterfalls. I suspect one or two are probably hiding out there on private property that are of note, probably either in northern Baltimore County in the area of Rocks State Park, or somewhere in western Maryland. I also suspect there are more artificial or seasonal falls out there, probably in areas of rock cuts for highways, as well as seasonal falls along the fall line running throughout the state of Maryland.

As always, please be safe around waterfalls. Don't climb them. Don't swim around them. Don't cross upstream. And REPORT new waterfalls!!!

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