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

NameHeightWater SourceCity
Amos FallsSusquehanna RiverOakwood, MD
Cascade FallsPatapsco RiverHalethorpe, MD
Cunningham Falls78 feetHunting CreekThurmont, MD
Dulaney Valley Falls17 feetDulaney Valley BranchPhoenix, MD
Gap FallsYoughiogheny RiverOakland, MD
Gilpins FallsNortheast CreekElkton, MD
Great Falls of the Potomac76 feetPotomac RiverHagerstown, MD
Gunpowder Falls5 feetLittle Gunpowder RiverMiddle River, MD
Kilgore Falls (Falling Branch Falls)17 feetDeer CreekJarrettsville, MD
Muddy Creek Falls54 feetYoughiogheny RiverOakland, MD
Paw Paw FallsPotomac RiverHagerstown, MD
Raven Rock Falls40 feetLittle Gunpowder RiverMiddle River, MD
Swallow Falls16 feetYoughiogheny RiverOakland, MD
Tolliver Falls6 feetYoughiogheny RiverOakland, MD