As summer ends, fall foliage in Maryland transforms the state into a wonderland of reds, oranges, and yellows. From lush forests to quaint coastal towns, the state offers countless opportunities to witness nature’s stunning display of fall colors.
Whether you’re a Maryland local or a visitor looking for a new experience, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at these destinations with incredible Maryland fall foliage. Prepare to be captivated by picturesque landscapes and immerse yourself in the magic only Mother Nature can create.
Explore more of the state! Here are our favorite things to do in Maryland with kids.
Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Maryland
The best time to see fall foliage in Maryland is typically in October, but the state varies greatly in climate, so not all regions change colors at once. Typical, the western counties like Garrett and Allegany change the earliest while coastal counties like Somerset and Worcester change closer to November. Check out the Fall Foliage Report for up-to-date information.
Susquehanna State Park
Susquehanna State Park is a wonderful destination to experience the vibrant colors of fall foliage in central Maryland. With its diverse landscape and abundance of deciduous trees, this park offers breathtaking views and countless opportunities for nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the beauty of autumn.
An extensive trail system meanders through Susquehanna State Park, along riverside cliffs and across spectacular valleys. The Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway Trail offers impressive river overlooks where you can marvel at the colorful foliage mirrored in the water below as you follow the west bank of the Susquehanna River. The trail connects Deer Creek picnic area and the Conowingo Dam.
Entry into the State Park is free, but entry to the Deep Creek Picnic Area and Lapidum Boat Launch Area is $2/vehicle for Maryland residents and $4/vehicle for out-of-state visitors.
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Deep Creek Lake puts on an unforgettable show each year of beautiful fall foliage. Head out on a scenic drive through the quiet mountains of western Maryland and see Deep Creek Lake’s enchanting countryside as it unfolds with stunning fall foliage views from every angle.
Deep Creek Lake offers year-round fun with skiing in the winter and boating in the summer, as well as golf, camping, and adventure courses for the whole family.
For the fall, hiking is a must-do in Garrett County’s mountainous terrain. The Cherry Creek Loop Trail is an easy loop that takes just over an hour, allowing you to walk within the forest and experience the changing leaves close up.
You can also kayak or raft on one of several waterways in the Deep Creek Lake area. As the largest freshwater lake in Maryland, Deep Creek Lake is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely paddle surrounded by the changing leaves.
Cost for entry into the state park:
Labor Day to Memorial Day: $3/vehicle for Maryland residents, $5/vehicle for out-of-state
Memorial Day to Labor Day: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/person for out-of-state
Patapsco Valley State Park
Patapsco Valley State Park is a great outdoor escape just outside of Baltimore. As autumn settles in, this picturesque park transforms into a mesmerizing wonderland as the leaves change their hues.
View the awe-inspiring palette of reds, oranges, yellows, and golds as you venture through the park’s 1600 acres. The park’s diverse tree species, such as maples, oaks, sycamores, and dogwoods, create a symphony of color and showcase some of the best fall folkiage in Maryland.
To immerse yourself fully in the fall splendor, head to some of the park’s most popular trails. Cascade Falls Loop Trail is moderate trail offering nice views of waterfalls surrounded by colorful foliage. Morning Choice Trail offers panoramic vistas overlooking valleys adorned with trees ablaze in autumnal glory. Grist Mill Trail is a historic trail lined with towering trees showcasing their spectacular hues.
Entry into the state park is:
$2/vehicle for Maryland residents, $4/vehicle for out-of-state
Weekends and Holidays: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/person for out-of-state
Cunningham Falls State Park
Nestled in the charming Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, Cunningham Falls State Park boasts breathtaking vistas, warm fall colors, and a serene atmosphere that will leave you awe-inspired.
The William Houck Area is a great place to set up camp for a peaceful night out in the wilderness. Even if you don’t camp, this area has ample parking and access to various trails.
The main attraction at the park, Cunningham Falls, has a few trail options depending on skill level. The lower trail offers exquisite views of the fall colors and is an easy half-mile walk to the falls. On the other hand, the Cliff Trail is a rigorous but popular choice as it takes you up a stony ravine strewn with slabs of moss-covered rocks.
Both paths offer striking views that lead you to the Cunningham Falls Overlook to witness Maryland’s tallest waterfall, surrounded by beautiful fall foliage.
Fees to enter the state park:
Memorial Day to Labor Day: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/vehicle for out-of-state, Weekends and Holidays: $5/person for Maryland residents, $7/person for out-of-state.
Labor Day to Memorial Day: $3/vehicle for Maryland residents, $5 for out-of-state.
Sugarloaf Mountain, located near Frederick, is renowned for its expansive vistas and diverse ecosystem. As the leaves change from green to fiery reds, oranges, and yellows, the mountain becomes a kaleidoscope of color. This spot has historical significance as well since both the North and South used it as a lookout point during the Civil War.
One of the best ways to experience fall foliage at Sugarloaf Mountain is by embarking on one of its many hiking trails. With over 16 miles of well-maintained paths ranging from easy strolls to more challenging treks, there’s something for everyone. The A.M. Thomas Trail is particularly popular during autumn as it takes you through dense forests adorned with red and yellow hues.
For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, driving along Sugarloaf Mountain Road offers panoramic views without breaking a sweat. This five-mile road goes around the base of one side of the mountain and provides ample viewpoints to pull over and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Entry to the mountain is free. Donations are welcome.
Gunpowder Falls State Park
With over 18,000 acres of preserved land, Gunpowder Falls State Park becomes a haven for leaf-peepers seeking to immerse themselves in nature’s gorgeous display. The park’s expansive forests boast a wide variety of deciduous trees, including maple, oak, hickory, and sycamore.
One of the best ways to enjoy the fall foliage at Gunpowder Falls State Park is by embarking on one of its more than 120 miles of trails. Whether you choose the Pleasantville Loop Trail, the Little Gunpowder Loop, or the Sawmill Trail, you’ll be surrounded by fall foliage.
If water activities are more your style, hop aboard a kayak or canoe and navigate through Gunpowder River as it meanders along the park’s boundaries. Paddling through calm waters surrounded by trees adorned with foliage creates an unmatched idyllic ambiance. Park at the Hammerman Area and head to the kayak/paddleboard ramp for the easiest water entry.
Fees for entry into the State Park:
Memorial Day to Labor Day: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/vehicle for out-of-state Weekends and Holidays: $5/person for Maryland residents, $7/person for out-of-state
Labor Day to Memorial Day: $3/vehicle for Maryland residents, $5 for out-of-state
Swallow Falls State Park
Known for its stunning waterfalls, Swallow Falls State Park, located in Garrett County, Maryland, is a fantastic place to view enchanting fall foliage. This scenic park becomes a haven of stunning fall foliage in autumn.
Muddy Creek Falls is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Swallow Falls State Park. As Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall, it’s definitely a site worth visiting. This majestic 53-foot waterfall can be reached by the Canyon Loop Trail, which gently meanders through the forest, offering breathtaking views of more waterfalls and trees ablaze with fall colors.
Fees for entry into the State Park:
Memorial Day to Labor Day: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/vehicle for out-of-state
Labor Day to Memorial Day: $3/vehicle for Maryland residents, $5 for out-of-state
Weekends and Holidays in May, September, October: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/person for out-of-state.
Annapolis, home to the U.S. Naval Academy, turns a shade of red, orange, and gold as the weather turns cold. With its charming streets lined with historic buildings and captivating waterfront views, Annapolis provides the perfect backdrop for immersing yourself in the splendor of autumn.
Annapolis boasts numerous spots to witness the stunning fall foliage up close. Take a stroll around Quiet Waters Park or explore the trails at Jonas Green State Park to glimpse the pretty leaves along the coastline.
For a dose of local history mixed with fall foliage, head to the William Paca House & Garden to learn about William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and wander through the vast gardens as the surrounding trees turn shades of orange and red.
Seneca Creek State Park
Located in Montgomery County, Seneca Creek Park offers an idyllic setting for witnessing autumn’s annual spectacle. Embark on an unforgettable adventure through Seneca Creek Park’s extensive network of hiking trails.
The Clopper Lake Loop Trail is particularly popular during fall due to its diverse range of tree species, offering breathtaking views at every turn. Witness colorful leaves carpeting your path while enjoying crisp autumn air as you hike along this tranquil route.
For those seeking a unique perspective on fall foliage, grab a paddle and embark on a calming canoe or kayak trip down Seneca Creek or Clopper Lake. Glide through calm waters surrounded by gorgeous rees reflecting their beauty onto the mirrored surface below—a truly enchanting experience you won’t want to miss!
Fees for entry into the state park:
April to October: no fee
Weekends and Holidays: $3/person for Maryland residents, $5/person for out-of-state.
November to March: no fee
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park
Located along the Potomac River, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and offers some of the most stunning views of autumn colors. With over four million visitors annually, it is the most-visited National Historic Park in the country.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of fall foliage is by exploring the park’s network of hiking trails. The Billy Goat Trail is a popular hike offering breathtaking views of the changing foliage and serene riverbanks as it follows the C&O Canal and Potomac River.
For those who prefer two wheels over two feet, hop on your bicycle and pedal along the beautiful C&O Canal Towpath. In 2013, the path was designated as the first section of the U.S. Bicycle Route 50. The canal and towpath combine to create 184 miles alongside historic remnants such as lock houses and aqueducts while providing ample opportunities to admire colorful trees lining its path.
Entry into the park is free except for the Great Falls Tavern Area in Potomac which is $20 per vehicle.
National Park annual passes such as the America the Beautiful pass are accepted.
Mackenzie Jervis is a writer that currently lives in Las Vegas with her husband, son, and daughter. She’s visited over 65 countries and writes about her travels and literary adventures on A Wandering Scribbler. When not writing, she’s probably browsing bookstores, out in the mountains, or making lists in her favorite Japanese notebook.