Waterfalls in Maryland

waterfalls in maryland
Maryland isn’t known for towering waterfalls, even though it features several peaks above 3,000 feet on the Appalachian Plateau. In fact, most waterfalls in Maryland are located near the eastern edge of the state, making them easily accessible from the state’s population centers and Washington DC.

How Waterfalls Form

muddy creek falls marylandThere’s an old joke: Which way do rivers flow? The answer is downhill, but that response doesn’t always come intuitively. Waterfalls, then, are a simple product of gravity. Dramatic changes in elevation generate the potentnial for dramatic waterfalls.

As for those elevation changes, they occur in one of two ways. Most often, waterfalls form when water flows from harder rock over softer rock, eroding the softer layer and building an ever-increasing ledge over which water falls. They can also result from water flowing over natural changes in elevation (or, at least, those not formed by erosion).

Map of Maryland Waterfalls

long green creek waterfallThere is no height standard for waterfalls, but we have omitted casual rapids and other areas of streams and rivers with nearly imperceptible changes in altitude. While some waterfalls in this list do not feature plunging drops, all justify the trip to the park or casual hike. Regardless of size, Maryland’s waterfalls remain an impressive spectacle and a worthy reward for a walk in the woods.

Muddy Creek Falls, the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland at 54 feet, is one of several along the Youghiogheny River in western Maryland. Cunningham Falls and the Great Falls of the Potomac, both cascading waterfalls, stair-step downward for more than 75 feet. The smallest waterfall on the list, Gunpowder Falls, descends just 5 feet but still justified naming rights to Gunpowder Falls State Park, where visitors can also observe Raven Rock Falls.

Browse the interactive map below to start planning your next trip to see one—or all—of the waterfalls in Maryland.

Our List of Maryland Waterfalls

Name Height Water Source City
Amos Falls Susquehanna River Oakwood, MD
Cascade Falls Patapsco River Halethorpe, MD
Cunningham Falls 78 feet Hunting Creek Thurmont, MD
Dulaney Valley Falls 17 feet Dulaney Valley Branch Phoenix, MD
Gap Falls Youghiogheny River Oakland, MD
Gilpins Falls Northeast Creek Elkton, MD
Great Falls of the Potomac 76 feet Potomac River Hagerstown, MD
Gunpowder Falls 5 feet Little Gunpowder River Middle River, MD
Kilgore Falls (Falling Branch Falls) 17 feet Deer Creek Jarrettsville, MD
Muddy Creek Falls 54 feet Youghiogheny River Oakland, MD
Paw Paw Falls Potomac River Hagerstown, MD
Raven Rock Falls 40 feet Little Gunpowder River Middle River, MD
Swallow Falls 16 feet Youghiogheny River Oakland, MD
Tolliver Falls 6 feet Youghiogheny River Oakland, MD