Make Sure You Visit All Three!
As I talk with more and more visitors here in Garrett County, I find that many are missing ALL THREE waterfalls when they walk the trails at Swallow Falls. Of course there’s the “big falls”, Muddy Creek Falls, and that’s the one that everyone sees. But what about Swallow Falls and Tolliver Falls?
When you enter Swallow Falls State Park, you’re greeted by an entry booth and then a parking lot to your immediate right. That’s the entrance to the Swallow Falls Canyon Trail. After entering the forest, you’ll be able to go left or right. A left will take you on a short walk to Muddy Creek Falls where you’ll find an overlook area and stairs that sit parallel to the falls. If it hasn’t rained too much and the water isn’t high, the top of the falls will be dry enough for you to walk on, as well as the giant rocks that sit at the bottom.
As you continue on the trail past Muddy Creek Falls, you’ll eventually find Swallow Falls. This where the kayaking action happens! There are stairs from Swallow that lead back up to the main part of the trail and eventually the parking lot, but if you keep going you find one of my favorite spots in the park, and probably the county. Tolliver Falls!
Tolliver Falls is home to elopements, engagement portraits, family portraits, and a tucked-away kind of feeling that’s especially great in the summer on a quiet day. When I was young, my parents would take my siblings and I to Tolliver where we enjoyed swimming hole-like fun. When the water isn’t high, there’s a small sandy area with some shallow swimming opportunity. And in the evening, when the sunlight hits behind the falls and comes through the trees, it’s especially magical!
The next time you visit Swallow Falls State Park, make sure you get the full experience and visit all three waterfalls. A left takes you to Muddy Creek and a right takes you to Tolliver. And if you stay on the trail the loop the whole, you’ll easily see all three.