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Celebrating 50 Years at Rocky Gap State Park

Celebrating 50 Years at Rocky Gap State Park

You might know of Rocky Gap State Park because of its excellent camping facilities or because Lake Habeeb is considered to have the bluest waters in Maryland. Perhaps you’ve made sandcastles along the beach with your kids or challenged your friends to a fishing competition. But did you know you can hike to what is believed to be the homesite of the first European settler in Allegany County that the parkland was once part of a dairy farm, or that that the Eastern Woodland Indians traveled the lush gorge and used the premier lodging of one of the many rock shelters lining the route? Prepare to be surprised by this one—the lake features an underwater scuba diving trail!

Here are some ways to celebrate Rocky Gap State Park’s 50th anniversary:

Set Up Camp

Rocky Gap is a favorite destination for campers, and it’s not hard to see why. First-timers, seasoned campers, and people looking for unique outdoor adventures will find many reasons to stay here—the park has 278 campsites, 13 mini cabins, two youth group camping areas, a family campsite, and a yurt! Each camping loop features a bathhouse with hot water, and pets are allowed in several of the loops. Plus, campers have access to a campground-only beach.

Photo Credit: Allegany County Tourism

Deepen relationships with your family as you share stories under the stars, make new friends with the campers around you, and sit back and relax—at Rocky Gap, you’re miles away from responsibilities. 

Get on the Water

Life is good on Lake Habeeb! The sparkling blue waters beckon you to cool off with a refreshing swim or boat ride. Electric boats and paddle sports are allowed on the lake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long, or rent paddleboards and see who can balance the longest. For dinner, reel in a trout during the summer months or try the yellow perch in the winter with some ice fishing.

Rocky Gap
Photo Credit: Chris Vandergrift

There are plenty of activities for visitors who prefer to enjoy the lake from the land. Let your pup splash around in the dog-friendly swimming sections, show off your volleyball skills, and grab lunch or ice cream from Hawk’s Nest located along the day-use beaches, or pizza and ice cream from the Snack Barn at Campers Beach. Don’t forget to hit the Camp Store for your souvenirs.

Explore the Forest

Bring good shoes and a sense of adventure—there are miles of fun discoveries in the 3,000 acres at Rocky Gap! For a short but scenic hike, follow the Canyon Overlook Trail and enjoy a gorgeous view of the mile-long gorge and Rocky Gap Run that feeds from the lake. Tack on the nearby Touch of Nature Trail, an accessible trail lined with beautiful pine and hardwood stand, or the Archaeological Rock Shelter Trail to check out First People lodging. See Lake Habeeb from a new perspective on the Lakeside Loop Trail, a moderate trail that encircles the lake and takes hikers from the shoreline through the woodlands and over multiple bridges.

Walking in Rocky Gap State Park
Photo Credit: Allegany County Tourism

Seeking a challenge? Embark on the Evitts Homesite Trail, an intense but rewarding out-and-back hike that climbs nearly 1,000 feet in elevation in 2.5 miles.

Don’t miss the Nature Center at Rocky Gap! Little ones will love the hands-on activities and opportunities to get up close to a variety of animals. Call ahead for a special tour of the Aviary and observe rangers feeding and training non-releasable birds of prey, including bald eagles, owls, hawks, and vultures.


This article originally appeared in the official visitor guide for Allegany County, the Mountain Side of Maryland, the official Destination Marketing Organization for Allegany County, Maryland, promoting an authentic and memorable visitor experience through outdoor recreation, history and heritage, arts and culture, and natural scenic beauty.

Feature Photo: Allegany County Tourism

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