This is the second of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.
Saturday, January 2, activities included a driving tour of three covered bridges in Frederick County, MD; hiking to Cunningham Falls near Thurmont, MD once in the morning and another time in the afternoon; and lunch at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont, MD. The three covered bridges that we saw were: Utica Mills Covered Bridge, Loy’s Station Park and Roddy Road Covered Bridge.
We began the tour of the covered bridges north of Frederick at the junction of US15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) and Old Frederick Road. We turned right onto Old Frederick Road, which we followed for 1.5 miles. We made a left onto Utica Road and arrived at Utica Mills Covered Bridge.
We returned to Old Frederick Road and make a left turn. We drove 3.9 miles to a stop sign, located in Creagerstown. At the stop sign we turned left onto MD550. We drove 0.4 miles and made a right onto Old Frederick Road. We traveled an additional 2 miles and made a left into the parking lot of Loys Station Park.
Loys Station Park would be a great place for a picnic. The park includes picnic tables, grills, playground, covered shelters and portable bathroom facilities.
From the parking lot of Loys Station Park, we turned left and drove through the bridge. We drove 0.3 miles to a stop sign, where we made a left turn onto Rocky Ridge Road (MD77). We drove 2.7 miles on Rocky Ridge Road and turned right onto Apples Church Road in Thurmont. We followed Apples Church Road for 1.6 miles to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.
I would like to thank Eileen, author of the Viewing Nature with Eileen blog, who gave me the heads up regarding these three covered bridges. Thank you, Eileen! We enjoyed visiting each of these covered bridges!
From the Roddy Road Covered Bridge we drove to Cunningham Falls State Park (William Houck Area entrance), where we followed the Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls.
Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls
The Lower Falls Trail is the shortest and easiest access to Cunningham Falls. The trail over rolling terrain is 0.5 miles long and terminates at a platform observation deck that provides a view of Cunningham Falls.
Located nearby, but not accessible, was another platform observation deck. We wondered how to access the other observation deck, as it appeared to provide a better vantage point from which to see Cunningham Falls.
Cunningham Falls is not the only attraction at Cunningham Falls State Park. Hunting Creek Lake is located in the park’s William Houck Area as well.
Hunting Creek Lake
After taking a couple pictures of the lake, we left Cunningham Falls State Park to go to lunch. We ate lunch at the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, which was suggested to me by Eileen, the same person who gave me the heads up regarding the covered bridges. Bob and I each ordered the buffet lunch. There were several foods to select from. We enjoyed our respective meals.
While at lunch I discovered that there was a nature trail from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center to Cunningham Falls, to the other observation platform that we had seen in the morning. The trail was 2.8 miles round trip. We decided to hike this trail. Oh my! What a hike! The hike was mostly uphill. We climbed over tree roots and rocks.
Catoctin Mountain Nature Trail to Cunningham Falls
I drew an arrow on both photographs to show part of the trail.
I was very happy, when we reached the boardwalk to the falls.
Bob is on the boardwalk leading to Cunningham Falls.
The view of the falls was nice, but I didn’t feel the view was any better than what we had seen in the morning. You can see the other viewing platform in the photograph displayed above.
Bob left me at the falls, and he took the nature trail back to the Catoctin Mountain Visitor Center. Bob said that I would have had trouble making the return trip on the trail, as it was downhill most of the way and a steep descent in places. Bob drove our car to the handicap parking lot next to the boardwalk and picked me up.
We returned to the hotel around 4:45 pm, where we remained for rest of the day.