Four seasons of outdoor pursuits — including hiking, skiing, fishing and boating — are available for anyone wishing to explore the Western Maryland countryside, from its thick forests and rambling rivers to the state’s largest freshwater lake. Pockets of history also emerge amid small towns tucked into the mountains.
Keysers Ridge to Oakland
Including I-68, MD 42 & US 219
Start at an elevation of 2,894 feet on Keysers Ridge, considered one of the most scenic peaks in Maryland, and choose between an easterly course into Grantsville—home of thousands of acres of state park and state forest land for your recreational pleasure—or head west toward Friendsville, where you can enjoy a winery tour and also get access to the scenic and wild Youghiogheny River. White-water rafting guides are based in the area.
Slipping south into McHenry, Wisp Resort offers winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and tubing, while warmer weather brings golfing and tree-top zipline tours. Four-season fun is provided by mountain coaster rides. Further down the road, Deep Creek Lake State Park hugs a spring-fed lake with 65 miles of shoreline and offers activities for all seasons, ranging from water skiing and boating to ice fishing and six miles of winter sports trails. The Deep Creek Discovery Center has hands-on activities and naturalist-led programs.
Visit Swallow Falls State Park to witness river waters rushing over the 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls, Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall. Down the road, Herrington Manor State Park offers a serene lake environment. Log cabins within the park are available year-round, or you can make your way to quaint accommodations in the nationally recognized Main Street community of Oakland.
Enjoy the antiques and boutique shopping, stop for a friendly lunch-counter meal and old-fashioned milkshake, and admire the Victorian architecture of one of the most distinguished historic train depots in the country. An annual Autumn Glory Festival, complete with a small-town parade, calls attention to the colorful fall foliage, and Oakland Winterfest celebrates the best of the snowy season.