Deep Creek Lake Travel Guide

Deep Creek Lake rests in the heart of the 90,000 acres of Garrett County, Maryland. Covered in parks, forests, mountains and the beautiful lake, you can’t go wrong when choosing Deep Creek Lake rentals as your getaway destination. Whether you come just to relax or pack every day full of lake side activities, there’s something for the whole family at Deep Creek Lake.

What to Do in Deep Creek Lake

deep creek lake biking


The terrain surrounding Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County makes for fantastic biking trails and off-trail mountain biking. There are over 150 miles of trails, ranging from easy to difficult, throughout the Garrett County area. The scenic forest and mountain views are grandiose. If you don’t want to bring your bike with you, there are several businesses in the area that rent bikes, helmet and other supplies, as well as provide maps. Wisp also provides a skate-and-ride park for those looking to experience biking rails, ramps and jumps instead of just riding on trails.


You can hunt in Deep Creek Lake State Park during the designated hunting seasons (and with a DNR hunting permit). There are several animals and birds you can hunt in Maryland, including beaver, black bears, bob cats, fox, pheasant, quail, mink, opossum, otter, deer, rabbit, raccoon, skunk and turkey. Each game has a designated hunting season and limitations on how many kills you can make. Be sure you’re familiar with the local laws and hunting regulations, available online, before you pursue this activity on Deep Creek Lake vacations.

Cove Run Farms Corn Maze

From August through the end of October, Cove Run Farms in Accident, Maryland (North on U.S. Highway 219) offers a corn maze for the whole family to enjoy. Cove Run is a 160 acre dairy farm and, in addition to the corn maze you can enjoy other activities during their tourist season, including hayrides, barn tours, a petting zoo, duck races, bon fires, and a picnic area.

deep creek lake golf

Other Outdoor Activities

Take up a round of golf at Wisp Resort in McHenry, Maryland or Oakland Golf Course in Oakland. You can hike or backpack along the 150 miles of trails, both flat and clear or steep and rocky. The mountainous terrain also provides great opportunities for rock climbing at any skill level. Additionally, the area is a primary resting place for migratory birds, making it a great place for bird watching.

Water sports, such as sailing, water skiing, rafting, swimming and Deep Creek Lake fishing are always popular activities during the summer months. The area experiences an average of 130 days of freezing weather and more average snow fall than some areas in Alaska, making it a great place for winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling as well.

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What to See in Deep Creek Lake

The whole Deep Creek Lake area is a beautiful site, with gorgeous mountains and forests all around. There are a few specific spots along the way that are worth making a special hike to see. Muddy Creek Falls, located in Swallow Falls State Park in Oakland (10 miles south of the lake) beautifully cascades over a nearly 60 foot drop. This area is especially beautiful in the winter months, when the falls freeze and all goes quiet. Hike up to the top of Savage Mountain (about an hour drive from the lake East on Interstate 68) and enjoy the view from St. John’s Rock.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Deep Creek Lake

Spruce Forest Artisan Village at Penn Alps

Twenty miles north on MD-495 at Interstate 68 you’ll find Penn Alps and the Spruce Forest Artisan Village. Watch the making of various crafts and art by local artists, purchase these works in the craft shop and dine in the Penn Alps Restaurant (with a menu reflecting German heritage).

There are several other restaurant in the area such as the Honi-Honi Bar, Pine Lodge Steakhouse (famous for its crab soup), Brenda’s Pizzeria and Black Bear Tavern, to name a few. Head over to Deep Creek Mall in McHenry to peruse a number of stores and boutiques all in one place.

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When to Visit Deep Creek Lake

deep creek lake when to visitThere are several festivals and events throughout the year that may help you in determining when to schedule Deep Creek Lake vacations. The McHenry Highland Festival, a Scottish heritage festival complete with games, bagpipes, food and exhibits, is held in June of each year. There are always fireworks over the lake to celebrate the 4th of July. From June to September there are free concerts on the weekends at the Mountain Fresh Pavilion located in Oakland.

Early August showcases the ACA Open Canoe Slalom National Championships each year, a whitewater canoe race bringing in participants from all over the country. The Deep Creek Lake Art and Wine Festival is in September and the Autumn Fall Festival, noted as one of the top fall festivals in the world, is a five-day full scale event each October.

The weather may also be another factor determining your travel dates. If you want warmer weather, then visit in the spring, summer and fall months. To take part in fun winter activities, the best months are December through early March.

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What to Bring to Deep Creek Lake

Pack or purchase a compass and a water canteen for each person traveling with you, especially if you plan to do some hiking or other outdoor recreational activity. Pack clothing appropriate for the weather, such as warmer clothes during the colder months and cool clothes during the warmer months. A swimsuit is great for summer time fun and sunscreen is a must throughout the year. In the spring and fall it might be a good idea to bring a light jacket for evening activities.

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Local Services in Deep Creek Lake

For nature lovers that prefer not to hike the trails alone, local eco-tour businesses provide guided hikes and nature walks. Boat, bike and ATV rentals are available throughout the lake area. A visitor’s center is available in McHenry on the northernmost point of Deep Creek Lake.

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What to Know About Deep Creek Lake

If you’re biking anywhere in the area, be aware that Maryland law requires everyone age 16 and under to wear a helmet. While it is not a requirement for 17 and over, it is a recommendation.

If you bring your own ATV to use on the designated off-road-vehicle trails, you will need to purchase a Department of Natural Resources’ ORV (off-road-vehicle) permit in order to use it. You can find more information on the Department of Natural Resources website. Among the various restrictions in place for ATV use are that helmets are a requirement for all riders, that you are not to disturb wildlife with an ATV and that you must operate your ATV in a responsible manner.

When enjoying the outdoors on Deep Creek Lake vacations, it’s important to watch for black bears, especially when stepping off the beaten path. You should always bring a compass with you and plenty of water, in case you get a bit off course.

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Getting to Deep Creek Lake

By Car

From the East, take Interstate 70 to Interstate 79 South to Interstate 68 East. Another option from the East is to take Interstate 64 East to Interstate 79 North and again turning onto Interstate 68 East. From Interstate 68 East, take exit 4 onto MD-42 South toward Friendsville. MD-42 turns into U.S. Highway 219 South (Garrett Highway), which you can follow around the western side of Deep Creek Lake.

From the North, find a route that intersects with Interstate 79 South and take that to Interstate 68 East. From the South, take Interstate 77 North to Interstate 79 North, following that to Interstate 68 East.

By Plane

The closest airport that supports major airlines coming into the area is the Morgantown Municipal Airport in Morgantown, West Virginia, accepting United Airlines passenger flights. Hertz and Avis offer rental car services at the airport. Deep Creek Lake is an hour drive from the airport, heading East on Interstate 68 to MD-42 South.

For all major passenger airlines, you’ll need to fly into the Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) in Baltimore, Maryland. From this airport it is a three hour drive to Deep Creek Lake. Take Interstate 695 North to exit 16A, heading West on Interstate 70. Take exit 1A to Interstate 68 West, then exit 19 onto MD-495 South. Turn right on Glendale Road to reach the lake.

Private planes can fly into the local airport in McHenry, Maryland, located at the northernmost point of the lake on U.S. Highway 219.

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Why Deep Creek Lake vacation rentals?

Make Deep Creek Lake vacations more comfortable and relaxing by staying in a spacious vacation rental rather than the cramped space of a hotel. Save money on meals by cooking for your family in a fully-equipped kitchen. Find a lakeside rental with a private deck to watch the sunrise while enjoying your morning coffee. The possible amenities alone far surpass anything you’ll find with a hotel stay, like private parking, pet friendly accommodations, a washer and dryer and/or even a hot tub.

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