Today my fiancee Shelynn and our 8 month old daughter Brianna visited Cunningham Falls State Park and took the short walk out to the falls. Brianna had a great time, she loves hiking in my Kelty Kangaroo baby carrier. It was Briannas first "hike" other than at the city park.
The hike from the parking area is really short, only .8 miles and is easy to walk. There are information signs along the way, as the trail follows Big Hunting Creek through the Catoctin Forest.
The woods were full of singing Red-eyed Vireos. One pair of vireos weree busy raising young as mommy was tending the nest and dad was standing gaurd nearby. Along the creek were Louisianna Waterthrush, that teetered as they walked the banks and rocks of the stream. Several Acadian Flycatchers sang nearby. Above the stream a Ruby-throated Hummingbird was chasing a Tufted Titmouse. High in the tree tops sang Eastern Wood-pewee's.
Many chipmunks scurried around the ground, must be the reason there is a good population of snakes here. None to be found on this trip.
Big Hunting Lake
After walking to the falls and back we went over to Big Hunting Lake, and let Bri play in the sand and in the water. Tadpoles were everywhere in the "scumier" areas. As thre are no natural lakes in the state of Maryland this lake is the result of the damming of Big Hunting Creek and provides swimming and fishing recreation for park users.
Catoctin Park HeadquartersWe then stopped at the headquarters building of Cotoctin Mountain Park, where we went inside to look at the displays. The displays follow the gammit from the old moonshine days in the park, the charcoal making era, The iron ore days, and also many displays of the parks wildlife. Outside along the sidewalk we saw a Northern Fence Lizzard, unfortunantly the camera was in the car.
While there was no "climbing" or hard hiking involved, it was a very fun hike. This area of Cunningham Falls State Park is a great area for families, especially with young children. There is a playground, swimming area, and picnic areas. There is lots of wildlife to see and places to explore. A small fee is charged in season to enter this area.