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New Memories at New Germany State Park

New Memories at New Germany State Park

New Germany State Park

There is never a shortage of memories to be made in Mountain Maryland. If the area’s captivating views, countless hiking and stargazing options, and pristine lakes and forests formed a Venn diagram, New Germany State Park, carved into the serene mountains of Garrett County, would be found in the middle of it. 

I took my husband Derek—along with our boy Oliver and longtime friends Morgan, Liza, and Derek #2—on a memory-making weekend trip to New Germany to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I’m here to share what we loved about it.

Historic Cabins

The Civilian Conservation Corps skillfully constructed most of the park’s 12 log cabins during the Great Depression of the 1930s. We stayed in Cabin #11, which felt spacious and cozy at the same time. 

The full-sized kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and modern bathrooms exceeded our glamping expectations. Everyone got their own room! I personally loved sleeping with the windows cracked open to let in the cool mountain air. 

New Germany State Park
Photo Credit: Chelsea McCallister

Our group played board games by the fire in the big stone hearth (my fire-zealous husband was delighted to find the cabin fully stocked with firewood), shared home-cooked meals and treats (like Morgan’s amazing breakfast) around the big dining room table, sipped coffee and chatted on the porch overlooking the lake, used funny voices to read aloud the comments in the cabin guest book, and enjoyed every minute of each other’s company as we explored ​the well maintained and quiet park grounds. 

Pet owners should note that cabins #3-7 are dog-friendly. Morgan will bring her dog Peanut next time. Other overnight options include a large lodge and 49 campsites. The White Oak Loop is open all year and it has heated showers. 

Year-Round Activities

The park is open year-round, and there is so much to do! 

We walked the short Orchard Loop, which forms a portion of New Germany’s 10-mile trail network. We also spent a good deal of time at the 13-acre man-made lake, which is designed for fishing, paddle boating, and kayaking. In the summertime, the small swimming beach is popular with parkgoers lazing around in the water and warmth.

We loved the variety of family-friendly programs at the lake house and ranger-guided walks. Our group participated in a birch syrup-making class. Oliver learned how to tap a birch tree and extract sap to make syrup. We learned that birch syrup, prized for its mineral-rich caramel-spice flavor, is very costly and laborious to produce. Once we had a taste, however, we immediately understood that the effort was worth it.

New Germany State Park Maple Syrup
Photo Credit: Chelsea McCallister

We’re so glad we checked out the nature center next to the lake house. We couldn’t keep our paws off the touch-friendly wall of soft animal pelts. Derek #2, who grew up hunting in Wisconsin, was impressed with the taxidermied wildlife display.

Our group went nuts at the well-stocked gift shop located at the Savage River State Forest ranger station just outside of the park. Liza and I bought matching New Germany State Park shirts and Oliver helped me pick out stickers for our family camping tote.

New Germany State Park
Photo Credit: Chelsea McCallister

In our cabin’s park history book, we learned that New Germany was a premier ski resort before it became a state park. Thankfully, it hasn’t lost that winter sports appeal. When the season calls for it, the trails are professionally groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

Ideal Location

New Germany’s location is ideal for a few reasons: (1) it’s easily accessible from Interstate 68; (2) It’s just out of cell service range for blissful device unplugging; and (3) it’s full of recreational options that you don’t need to leave the park to fill up your days.

If you do plan to explore beyond the park (a move that I fully endorse), you’ll be within a short drive from Western Maryland’s most popular scenic attractions, including:

Our anniversary trip to New Germany State Park with family and friends was a huge success and very worth repeating. We all plan to return for a winter weekend when Liza and Morgan, who grew up in Minnesota and New Hampshire, respectively, can teach us how to cross-country ski and snowshoe! 


Feature photo by Chelsea McCallister

About the Author

A native of Las Vegas, NV, Chelsea Milko McAllister resides in the historic Baltimore neighborhood of Charles Village with her new husband and stepson. Her foreign policy career and travel obsession have taken her to over 50 countries, including Uganda, where she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. Chelsea loves documenting her Maryland adventures through writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram @themilkoway.

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