One of the many things I love about Frederick County, Maryland are the National, State and Local Parks! After picking our own apples, cutting flowers and grabbing some food at Catoctin Mountain Orchard (recap here), we headed back towards Frederick to Cunningham Falls State Park (Willam Houck area- $3 per car) for a picnic and hiking. I would frequently visit Cunningham Falls during summer camp growing up and have such fond memories! We would have a blast hiking, exploring and playing in the lake all day long. Fast forward to the present- and Cunningham Falls is still a place I absolutely love to visit!
The park was fairly crowded when we arrived but we were able to find the perfect secluded spot right next to the lake to set up for our picnic. (pro tip: keep walking down the path- to the right of the parking lot- around the lake. It will look like the picnic tables end but they keep going!)
Our menu included:
Catoctin Mt. Orchard Honey Crisp Apple Cider (seriously amazing people!)
Fresh veggies to make salads + CMO Honey Mustard Dressing
Homemade CMO lemon blueberry pound cake
Tortilla chips + McCutcheon’s Salsa
Fresh blackberries + apples (from CMO of course!)
& some local cheeses
To spruce things up, I brought some of my favorite (but durable) serve-ware and used the impromptu flower bouquet we picked for a little centerpiece + a blanket (that I had brought to sit on if there weren’t any vacant picnic tables) as a tablecloth. I was pretty impressed with how the table-scape turned out!
The weather was perfect- not too hot or too cold with a nice breeze and perfect view of the lake. Everything was so peaceful, I could have sat on the edge of the lake all day.
After packing up and visiting the ‘beach side’ of the lake for a bit, we headed to the trail head to walk off our meal. The trail to the falls is easy and only about 1/2 a mile (1 mile round trip), perfect for the whole family. Once you reach the falls, you will see two observation areas and plenty of room to explore. I still remember looking for tadpoles/other creatures in the small water pools. Make sure to visit after a good rain to see some impressive water fall action! And don’t get me started on how amazing everything looks when the leaves start to change colors- fall is the perfect time for a visit here.
One our way back home we decided to stop by the Aviary which is only a few miles away at the Manor Area of Cunningham Falls State Park. I had no clue Cunningham Falls even had an aviary and was excited to see what beautiful wild birds were there. They had beautiful hawks and owls but by far my favorite was the Bald Eagle- who had the largest cage and was showing off his impressive wing span. It was challenging to take good photos of the birds (lots of wiring around the cages) but believe me the aviary is worth a visit!
Like I mentioned before- there are so many parks in Frederick County to explore. If you are looking for somewhere new to hike- check out Visit Frederick’s Website for tons of info and interactive maps to find your next adventure!
** this post was sponsored by Visit Frederick . As always all opinions are my own.