Rocky Gap State Park, a 3,000 acre wilderness resort on beautiful Lake Habeeb, lies within the foothills of Evitts Mountain just 7 miles east of Cumberland in Allegany County. This picturesque area is also home to the privately owned Rocky Gap Resort Casino.
With amenities such as a beach, trails, campground, scenic picnic areas, boat rentals, a casino, golf course, full service hotel, and several restaurants, it’s easy to see why this Maryland state park is a popular destination. Guests also enjoy paddling, fishing, hunting, and bird watching.
Planning to visit the Cumberland area? Be sure to add this unique state park to your list of stops. Better yet, plan to spend a few days and nights here!
Rocky Gap State Park’s mix of traditional park activities and resort features help make it a popular vacation destination. And it has comfortable added features such as picnic areas, a bathhouse (with changing rooms, restrooms, and showers), a playground, a Nature Center, Visitor Center, and a cafe.
Add to that educational programs, special events, a campground, lake, trails, and a casino with hotel, golf course, and restaurants and you may never want to leave!
Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Rocky Gap State Park:
Boating at Rocky Gap State Park
Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and electric powered boats are permitted access to Lake Habeeb inside Rocky Gap State Park but all gasoline powered boats are prohibited. Kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals are available seasonally at both the day-use area and at the campground beach (for registered guests only). And a public boat ramp is available inside the park.
Swimming at Rocky Gap State Park
One of Rocky Gap State Park’s best features is its 243-acre lake and beautiful white sandy beach area. Lake Habeeb, which flows in from Rocky Gap Run, is known for its deep blue water and considered the ‘bluest’ in the entire state.
The park actually has 2 public beach areas and a private one located within its campground area. During the summer lifeguards are often on duty, when they are not swimming is still allowed but at guests own risk. Pets are allowed on the beach and swimming areas off season. During those times it’s best to take advantage of the separate pet-friendly swim area.
Hiking at Rocky Gap State Park
Rocky Gap State Park features several miles of trails that wind throughout the surrounding woodlands, mountains, and along the lake. As you hike up into the mountains, past hemlocks, mountain laurel, and rhododendrons you’ll get spectacular views of the lake from above.
Here are a couple of the trails at Rocky Gap State Park:
- The Lakeside Loop Trail – A moderate 5.3 mile loop across several foot bridges and around Lake Habeeb that provides guests with scenic views of the shoreline and woodlands.
- Evitts Homesite Trail – A difficult 5 mile trail that leads down into the canyon. This challenging trail highlights some of the beauty within the park, specifically mountain laurel, rhododendrons, hemlock, and a cascading stream.
Fishing at Rocky Gap State Park
Rocky Gap State Park’s lake is perfect for a relaxing day of fishing. Here you can catch catfish, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish from your boat, shoreline, or along the park’s fishing pier.
Children under the age of 15 may fish without a license, all others need to pick up a Maryland fishing license ahead of time.
Hunting at Rocky Gap State Park
Yes, hunting is allowed within Rocky Gap State Park. In fact, it’s one of many Maryland state parks that do allow it.
Rocky Gap has 1,451 acres designated for hunters that may be accessed from the Touch of Nature Trailhead or the parking lot near the campground office. A separate 300 acre area within the park offers space for bow hunting.
Guests should adhere to all state hunting rules and regulations and carry a valid Maryland hunting license.
Birding at Rocky Gap State Park
With over 215 species sightings, Rocky Gap State Park may just be the best birdwatching spot in all of Allegany County. You’ll be sure to see a variety here along the beach, woodlands, shrubs and marsh. Especially during more quiet times, such as in the evenings or early in the morning.
Grab your binoculars and keep a look out for warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, Eastern Bluebirds, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Terns, Common Loons, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Winter Wrens, Savannah Sparrows, Wood Ducks, Least Sandpipers, and Ospreys.
Nature and Wildlife at Rocky Gap State Park
Picturesque Rocky Gap State Park lies along the blue waters of Lake Habeeb surrounded by rugged mountains, sheer cliffs, and woodlands. A mile long gorge pulls the lake’s water in from Rocky Gap Run.
As you explore the trails through the hemlock forest, past mountain laurel and rhododendrons, you’ll have a chance to see many types of birds, as well as deer, squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, snakes, and Black Bears.
If you’re interested in getting a closer look check out the Scales and Tales Aviary. Their educational programs feature birds of prey and native reptiles.
Well behaved pets are allowed at Rocky Gap State Park but must be supervised and leashed. Pets are not allowed in the beach area between Memorial day and Labor Day.
Rocky Gap State Park’s campground area features 278 campsites (with electric hookups), a group camping area, 2 youth group camping areas, mini cabins, a yurt, and the Easter Hill Chalet. The campground has bathhouses with restrooms and hot showers, a playground, private beach, the Snack Shack, and a camp store. Pets are allowed at most campsites and throughout the main areas of the park.
The Family Group Camping area has space for up to 40 people and also includes a 2 story mini cabin with electricity and a large fire ring. The 2 Youth Group camping areas are intended for organized youth groups only. Each area can accommodate 30 campers and has a picnic shelter, 2 tables and a grill.
The 15 Mini Cabins and the Yurt are scattered throughout the park. Each cabin will comfortably sleep 4 to 6 people and the yurt up to 8. All contain beds and electricity but no water. The yurt also has an adjoining camp pad which enables it to accommodate up to 15 people.
The Easter Hill Chalet, nestled within the woodlands overlooking the lake, has space for 8 guests. This charming chalet comes with a fully equipped kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, gas fireplaces, and a wrap around deck. Guests must supply their own linens. Pets are allowed.
Are you or your immediate family active in the military? If yes, then checkout Operation Campout, a program that provides a camping experience free of charge to military families. The experience includes loaner camping gear (tent, chairs, stove, lantern, etc.) Contact the park for more information and be sure to tell them you’re interested in OPERATION: CAMPOUT!
Rocky Gap State Park
12900 Lake shore Dr
Flintstone, MD 21530
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Rocky Gap State Park:
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