Tucked away just northeast of Baltimore along the Gunpowder River sits Gunpowder Falls State Park — a can’t-miss escape less than 20 miles from Baltimore. By no means a hidden gem, Gunpowder Falls State Park sits on more than 18,000 acres that’s divided into six distinct areas.
It is the largest state park in Maryland and loaded with features that attract more than 1 million visitors annually. With this much space, it can be hard to know where to start! Here’s your guide to everything you need to know to make the most of your RV camping excursion in Gunpowder Falls State Park.
Getting To Know Gunpowder Falls State Park
The six different areas of Gunpowder State Park each have their own attractions and benefits. If you don’t have time to spend in each of the areas, read on to find out which parts of this enormous park will most interest your family and friends.
The Hammerman area is nearest to Baltimore and contains a large swimming beach by the Gunpowder River. While there are a few short nature trails, visit this area to rent canoes or kayaks, go fishing, and especially for a sandy Hammerman beach day. This area is extremely popular, so plan to arrive very early to ensure you get in before the park fills up.
Dundee Creek Marina
Near Hammerman, the Dundee Creek Marina is the main location for launching your boat. Grab all the bait, ice, and accessories you may need for a day out on the water. Beyond just kayaks, you can rent paddle boards, sailboats, and wind-surfing equipment at the marina as well.
The Central Area is the oldest part of Gunpowder Falls State Park as it contains Little and Big Gunpowder Falls. Here, take a hike to see the scenery, foliage, and wildlife, or take to the trails on a mountain bike for a more adrenaline-fueled adventure. History buffs can also visit Jerusalem Mill Village to see an old 18th and 19th-century Quaker settlement. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a live historical demonstration.
Sweet Air Area
Sweet Air is the biggest area of this state park and comprises more than 1,000 acres of land. Equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers can enjoy up to 18 miles of trails. Two trails are designated for hikers only, and bikes and horses are asked to avoid the trails immediately following a lot of rain.
Further northwest still is the Hereford Area. This section of the park has over 20 miles of trails that cut through the wilderness. You may be surprised that you’re still so close to an urban area by the feeling of this steep and rocky forest of hardwood trees. Canoe, kayak, or tube the river, but anglers especially can have fun trying to catch trout in a nationally-renowned area.
Torrey C Brown Rail Trail
This trail was converted from an old rail line and cuts through almost 20 miles of Baltimore County. Stop in the Monkton Train Station, which has been converted into a museum, gift shop, and ranger station. Tackle a section of the trail walking or jogging, or attempt the whole thing on a bike or horse.
Where To Stay Near Gunpowder Falls State Park
With all this space, it may be a surprise to learn that there is no longer any camping allowed in Gunpowder Falls State Park. Instead, make yourself at home nearby, so you aren’t too far from the action.
Located about 30 minutes from the Hammerman Area or the Sweet Air Area, Bar Harbor RV Park is the closest RV park. There are 93 sites that all have full hookups and cable TV. Take in the beautiful Bush River from the waterfront swimming pool, or pay a little extra for a site right along the water.
Capacity: 93 RV sites
Price: Starting at $64 per night
Many other campgrounds in the area are large sites reserved for military personnel, church groups, or youth groups. The next nearest Maryland campground is on the other side of Baltimore at Hollowfield Campground. There are 73 campsites here, but only some of them have electric hookups. It’s also located in suburban Baltimore, so be prepared to catch a glimpse of a neighborhood in the distance or perhaps the gentle sound of highway traffic.
What To Do at Gunpowder State Park
Once you book the perfect place to stay, it’s time to get busy having fun. Whether you’d like to play and relax in or near the water, there are plenty of access points, fishing piers, and docks just waiting for you to dip a toe in.
Spanning over 18,000 acres, the Gunpowder State Park is divided into several areas, each with its unique features and attractions. Whether you're into hiking, fishing, picnicking, or simply enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors, Gunpowder Falls State Park has something for everyone. Here are some of the activities and things to do at the park:
Hiking: The park boasts an extensive network of trails that cater to hikers of all skill levels. From leisurely strolls along the river to challenging hikes through rugged terrain, you can explore various landscapes, including dense forests, rolling hills, and picturesque valleys. The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, once a railway line, offers a flat and scenic route for walkers, joggers, and cyclists.
Fishing: Gunpowder Falls is a popular destination for anglers, with opportunities for both freshwater and tidal fishing. The river is stocked with trout, making it a favorite spot for fly fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, you can fish for various other species in the river and its tributaries.
Picnicking: Numerous picnic areas equipped with tables, grills, and scenic views are scattered throughout the park. Whether you're looking for a quiet spot by the water or a place to gather with friends and family, you'll find a suitable location to enjoy a meal outdoors.
Wildlife Watching: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, bald eagles, and a plethora of bird species. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture glimpses of these creatures in their natural habitat.
Horseback Riding: If you're an equestrian enthusiast, the park features designated trails for horseback riding, allowing you to explore the landscape on horseback.
Nature Photography: With its diverse landscapes, the park offers ample opportunities for photography. From the tranquil rivers to the lush forests, you'll find numerous spots to capture the beauty of nature.
Geocaching: For those who enjoy treasure hunting, Gunpowder Falls State Park has geocaching opportunities. Use your GPS device to locate hidden caches while exploring the park.
Nature Programs: The park offers educational programs and guided hikes led by naturalists. These programs provide insights into the local flora, fauna, and ecosystems, enhancing your understanding of the environment.
Remember to check the park's official website or visitor center for any updates on activities, trail conditions, and regulations before your visit. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or educational experiences, Gunpowder Falls State Park offers a diverse array of activities to enjoy amidst the beauty of nature.
Tubing on the River
One feature really sets itself apart from the rest. Gunpowder Falls State Park tubing is an experience you won’t soon forget. Enjoy the natural lazy river in the upper section of Gunpowder River. Bring your own or rent a tube to take in the gorgeous forested scenery slowly.
When the weather isn’t conducive to water-based activities, there is still plenty to take in in Gunpowder Falls State Park. Hike, bike, and/or ride horses through more than 120 miles of nature trails. The trails range in levels of difficulty from easy to moderate — but challenge yourself by going far or stringing together several trails in one day. Do not miss the titular Big and Little Gunpowder Falls.
Make Yourself at Home with Cruise America
Gunpowder Falls State Park is a wonderful respite from the business of the DMV. Bring the comforts of the city with you in your RV while you completely unwind in the woods, by the water, or both!
If you’re just getting started on your RV adventures, take a spin in a rental RV from Cruise America. You can conveniently pick up the RV that fits your family in Germantown, MD, Elkton, MD, or another location nearer to you. Find your local dealer and explore the full extent of the amenities offered standard on each Cruise America rental RV starting today online at CruiseAmerica.com.