Sometimes trips just come out of nowhere and that is how our trip to Kilgore Falls in Maryland happened. We ended up having to travel from Pittsburgh down to Washington, DC and figured lets stop and go on an adventure along the way. After doing some research Kilgore Falls (sometimes called Falling Branch Falls) seemed to be ranked Maryland’s #1 waterfall and since we already explored Swallow Falls State Park we decided to go for it!
Kilgore Falls wasn’t technically “on the way” down to Washington, DC so we drove a little out of the way to see it. It is about a 4 hour drive away from Pittsburgh, so I would not really recommend it for a day trip from Pittsburgh unless you were staying the night somewhere around the area. Kilgore Falls is however about an hour drive from Baltimore and Harrisburg, and about a 2 hour drive from Washington, DC making it a perfect day trip from any of those places.
Getting to Kilgore Falls
You can easily search and find “Kilgore Falls” on Google maps, but you’ll need to find the parking lot, which is located at GPS coordinates 39.689980, -76.422947. At the end of the parking lot you’ll find the trail head for Kilgore Falls trail, which is clearly marked. Go ahead and take the trail back about 10 minutes and you’ll come to the falls.
Exploring Kilgore Falls
The trail to the falls follows the falling branch creek on the right and to access the falls you are going have have to cross the creek at some point. So expect to get a little wet, but the creek is not all that deep. Coming up on the falls is quite the experience as you follow the creek up and you can barely see the falls in the distance. The first thing you see is a massive rock on the right side of the creek, it by itself is quite impressive!
As you continue up the creek the falls will come in to view. One thing that makes these falls so interesting is that as soon as the falls drop the creek makes a 90-degree angle. This makes the whole area very different from many of the falls that we’ve visited, it almost seems tropical. The whole area around the falls opens up so you can view the falls, swim, or just relax.
Kilgore Falls is only 17 feet tall, but they drop pretty dramatically, which makes them beautiful and great to photograph. You can swim right up to the falls or walk out on a small ledge on the left side of the falls for a great picture, without having to get wet.
If you head over to the left side of the falls you’ll find a small set of stairs which appear to be carved out of the rock. From here you can explore the creek above the falls or even walk right out to the edge of the falls. The rocks are slippery so be sure to be careful!
We really enjoyed our time exploring Kilgore Falls, it is one of the more unique waterfalls that we’ve been to and the area around the falls is absolutely beautiful. But it was hard to fully enjoy the beauty of the area as even on a Monday (when we visited) it was packed. There were probably 30-40 people there, which made really enjoying our time together a little hard. I would say if you are an hour or so away it is worth the day trip, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to see these falls unless you like crowds.
Things to Know About Kilgore Falls
The first thing is that reservations are now required to visit Kilgore Falls on weekends and holidays between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. Call 410-557-7994 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – noon to reserve your spot. I am not sure how they do the reservation system as we visited on a weekday, but if you plan on going on the weekends make sure you make a reservation as you could be turned away.
The next big thing is that while this waterfall and area were beautiful it was extremely crowded. Kayla and I really enjoy those secluded places where there might be a few people and you can really enjoy your surroundings. This is not one of those places, we went on a Monday and arrived around 11:30 AM and it was packed. It was hard to even get any photos / video without someone being in the shot. So that is definitely something to think about.
Swimming is allowed here, but there are no lifeguards on duty, so swim at your own risk! Also as I mentioned earlier you will have to cross the creek to access the falls, so expect to get a little wet.