Kilgore Falls at a Glance
- Location: 1026 Falling Branch Rd, Pylesville, MD 21132 (Part of Rocks State Park)
- Stuff to Do: Hiking, Swimming, Picnicking, Fishing
- Famous for: Second Tallest Free Falling Waterfall in MD at 17 feet
- Total Cost: Free
Every now and then Kim needs a break from the kids to get away and recharge by herself… That’s what homeschooling does to a mom! While she’s out of town, the kids and I have been trying to “collect” all of Maryland’s waterfalls on Saturday outings. Kilgore Falls (a.k.a. Falling Branch Falls) is the fifth we’ve collected after picking up the four falls at Swallow Falls State Park in western Maryland.
Rocks State Park
Rocks State Park (official site) has many of the typical state park offerings (hiking trails, pavilions, some great vistas), but it is now most famous for Kilgore Falls, which is Maryland’s second highest free falling waterfall at 17 feet, following fairly far behind Muddy Creek Falls at 54 feet in Swallow Falls State Park.
According to the Maryland Geological Survey, the falls were well known to local native Americans and settlers centuries ago, but in recent years have been relatively unknown to Marylanders because the land was privately owned until the early 1990s. In 1993, the Falling Branch Area was purchased and added to Rocks State Park.
The hiking trail to Kilgore is about one-half mile long from the nearest parking lot, located at 1026 Falling Branch Rd, Pylesville, MD 21132. (Map it on Google)
The trail is moderate, which is good because the day we visited L forgot to change into hiking shoes for the trip! The only challenge to the hike is that the best views of the falls are on the opposite side of the river from the trail, so you have to carefully climb across some water-laden stones while trying to keep your shoes dry. (We recommend water shoes or a change of shoes just to be safe.) The trail is almost all downhill to the falls, and uphill the whole way back.
Here’s a picture I snapped crossing the river a short distance from the falls. The scenery around the falls adds considerably to the charm of this area.
Here’s a shot of the falls up close with the kids posing for me. Unfortunately the deep shadows coupled with only my cell phone for photos meant that their faces are a bit dark.
I also hunted down this same view from Google’s Trail Maps, where you can walk this trail virtually.
Here’s another from on top of the falls. On the right of this photo you can see the rocks you have to hop across to get to the opposite side of the falls. L did pretty good climbing up to this spot with those shoes!
And a shot from just a little further back in the same location.
And finally, one of my favorites of all five kids on the rock next to the falls.
We visited the park in the early spring when the water was still far too chilly to swim, but swimming at this spot is allowed and it’s a fairly big attraction on the weekends in July and August. (It gets downright crowded from what we’ve heard.) We’re hoping to travel back sometime next summer with bathing suits and towels in tow.
If you live near Rocks State Park, we highly recommend hiking the trail to Kilgore Falls. It’s a short hike for a big payoff.