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
There’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 potential 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 waterfalls. They can also result from water flowing over natural changes in elevation (or, at least, those not formed by erosion).
Map of Maryland Waterfalls
There 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.
Our List of Maryland Waterfalls
|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|