Deep Creek is Maryland's largest man-made lake

Deep Creek: Maryland's largest man-made lake
Deep Creek: Maryland's largest man-made lake
Deep Creek: Maryland's largest man-made lake
Deep Creek: Maryland's largest man-made lake
Posted at 8:30 AM, Sep 10, 2016

Opening as a state park in the 1960s, Deep Creek Lake State Park is home to Maryland's largest man-made lake. 

The lake draws thousands of visitors each year to boat, swim, kayak, hike bike and camp. The park occupies approximately 1 mile of shoreline, offering access to swimming, boating and fishing.

"The park's located on Maryland's largest fresh water lake, Deep Creek Lake," said Deep Creek Lake State Park manager Al Preston. "We get a lot of tourists to fish, ski and boat."

The park's beach, picnic areas and boat ramp are some of the only public areas around the lake. The boat launch area is open to the public 24 hours a day, weather permitting.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the park's beach area is guarded and swimming is allowed within the roped area. In addition to swimming, visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and paddle boards or bring your own.

Fast Facts:

  • The Discovery Center is the only full service nature center in the Maryland State Park system
  • Boat ramp open to the public 24 hours a day
  • Trails are open to both hikers and bikers
  • Nearly 300 people visit the beach area per day during the summer
  • A yurt is available for overnight rental

Though Deep Creek lake is a huge draw to the park, there are great hiking trails. Trail difficulties range from moderate to difficult and the park is currently adding several new trails. The trails are open to hikers, mountain bikers, cross country skiers and snowmobiling.

During the summer months, the park's day use area can get quite busy, but there's also the option to spend the night in a tent or camper. Deep Creek Lake State Park has 112 campsite available to rent. Each site is located near a restroom with hot showers. More than 20 sites offer electric service.

Campers should note, bears are common in the campground area. Park staff advises campers not keep food in their tent and use the provided bear-resistant storage units. 

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Deep Creek Lake was created in the 1920s by the Youghiogheny Hydroelectric Company. The park is in the southernmost end of Meadow Mountain, west of the Eastern Continental Divide and within the Mississippi River watershed.


Even before the lake, the land has been used by man for thousands of years. In the 1700s, settlers came to the area, which was abundant in natural resources. The mountains remained largely untouched until the turn of the century.


Then, logging operations began to strip the land of red spruce, hemlock, white pine and yellow birch forests.  Deep Creek Lake State Park is the site of the historic Brant coal mine, which supplied bituminous coal for heating and blacksmithing. 


Over 95 percent of the park is forest that has regenerated from the original timber. Oaks and hickories are the dominant species. Forest wildlife such as black bear, wild turkey, bobcat and deer can be spotted.


The weather can change drastically from season to season. Summers are characterized by warm days and cool nights, a welcome escape from city humidity. Autumn offers blasts of color in early October with clear, crisp days. Winter can bring over 200 inches of snow and spring doesn't bring green leafing trees until mid-May.


Upcoming Events:

  • All Day Scavenger Hunts: Sept. 11 - Chose from Trackin through the Discovery Center, Life in a Cave, Beginner Savenger Hunt and Challenging Scavenger Hunt 
  • Birding at Sang Run: Sept. 16 - Learn tips to birding by ear and listen for distinctive songs through Friend's Delight. Meet at the kayak launch at 8 a.m.
  • 8th Annual Fall Festival and Open House: Sept. 24 - Games, hay rides, candle dipping, pumpkin carving, Dutch oven demonstrations, scare-crow making, quilt square display, vendors, crafts, music
  • Indoor Hike ID: Oct. 1 - Indoor hawk identification class at the Discovery Center. Learn characteristics of flight, wing beat and shape. Starts at 10 a.m.
  • For more, click here

Click here for more Baltimore area events.