Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD

OK this is another non-trip report. I went to Cunningham Falls State Park to use the beach at the William Houck Area. There is a wonderful state park which has much to offer. The beach area is at the William Houck Area on Hunting Creek Lake. There is swimming and a canoe and pedal boat rental.  The first time I went there this summer was with two other families and there was no expectation of canoeing. We went to play on the beach and swim in the lake. The second time I went with my family and was hoping to rent a pedal boat and do a little pedal boat tour of the lake.  But I was out voted by my husband and son.  Apparently playing on the beach with monster trucks is more exciting than renting a pedal boat.

There are two beach areas on the lake. The north area has swimming as well as canoe/ pedal boat rental and concessions. The south area has swimming and a concessions area. Both areas have rest rooms.

This looks like a really nice lake to either rent a canoe or a pedal boat.  The swimming area is separate from where the boating area is and the signs say no jumping from the boats or landing the boats anywhere except where you rent them.  On a nice Sunday when we went there last, many families were out canoeing or pedal boating.  The lake looks smaller than it is from one of the swimming areas, because the lake actually bends around the corner and goes on.

But if you go between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the concession rents canoes, kayaks, row boats and pedal boats.  The life jackets you get for the rental are horse collar type and the sign says they have special life jackets for children under 50 lbs.  But if you own your own children’s life jacket, I would bring that, since chances are it is just another horse collar type life jacket, which is never comfortable for adults or children.

The sign says the hours of operation of this concession or M-F 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Here are the prices for 2013:  Canoes (3 person) are $10 for 1/2 hour and $15/ hour. Kayaks (1 person) are $10 for 1/2 hour and $15/hour.  Row boats (3 person) are $10 per 1/2 hour and $15/ hour.  And pedal boats (4 person) are $15/ half hour and $20/hour.

The canoe area is separate from the swimming area; the signs say you can’t swim or jump from the boats. During the summer season, there is a lifeguard on duty starting at 11:00 am until 6:00 pm.  The cost to get into the park is $3 per person (in-state) weekdays and $5 per person (in-state) weekends. Children in car seats get in free.

If you own your own canoe, I think a really nice time to go canoeing at Cunningham Falls State Park – William Houck area would be in early September when the concession has closed and the lifeguards have left and you have the lake to yourself.  Then you can canoe where you want and jump from the boat, land anywhere you want and still have warm water.   You would be able to launch from the beach and do a little swimming and then take a tour of the lake.

So if you are planning to go canoeing at Cunningham Falls State Park, remember the lake is in the William Houck Area and there are different entrances to the park. Watch for signs to the William Houck Area, it is off Route 77, just past the entrance to Catoctin Mountain Park.

This entry was posted in canoeing, Maryland, rentals, Trip Report and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont, MD

  1. Sheri M says:

    We love this park – but always go in September!

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