The land on which Cunningham Falls State Park now sits was originally farmed, hunted, and fished by a variety of small Native American tribes. The Catoctin Iron Furnace Historcal site operated from 1776 until 1903 and it was an industrial complex and bustling community. In 1954, the area was divided into two parks, the Catoctin Mountains and Cunninghan Falls. Since then, it has become one of Maryland's most popular outdoor destinations. The park is located in the Catoctin Mountain region and visitors often come for the 78 foot cascading waterfall. The falls are located approximately 1/2 a mile from the lake in the Houck area. This short hike is one of the most traveled paths in the park.
The two developed areas in the park, the Manor Area and the William Houck area, both offer a variety of activities for visitors. Swimming is allowed in three different areas of Hunting Creek Lake during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are lifeguards on duty, but swimming may not be allowed every day, so it is best to call ahead to check the conditions.
Electric motor boats, as well as other non-motor boats are allowed for a small fee. Canoes and rowboats are available for rental, so guests can enjoy time on the lake regardless of whether they are boat owners. Those who prefer dry land activites will enjoy the variety of hiking trails through the park. Trail maps are available and trail difficulties range from easy to difficult. For the safety of the hikers, no mountain bikes are allowed on the trails.
Picini areas are offered in both the Manor area and the Houck area. Sites feature tables and grills, and are open until sunset. A large picnic area can be rented for large groups, and there is a concession stand and beach store nearby during the summer months.
Fishing and hunting are permitted in the park. Hunting is allowed in the undeveloped wildlands areas to ensure the safety of hikers, boaters, and picnickers. Fishing is allowed in a variety of different locations. A Maryland fishing license is required for those over 15 years of age. Little Hunting Creek is located in the Manor area and is a catch and release trout stream where anglers can use lures and flies. Big Hunting Creek runs along MD Route 77 and is also catch and release, but limited to fly-fishing only.
Those with a desire to spend the night at the park can do so on one of 140 campsites in the Houck area, or one of 31 in the Manor area. There are several camping loops and bathhouses are available in each loop. The campsites come equipped with a fire ring, a table, a lantern post, and a parking area. There are some electrical hookups available. The camp store provides basic groceries, camping supplies and souvenirs. There are a total of nine camp cabins available, and offer basic shelter. The 12'X12' cabins feature a front porch, two electrical outlets, and a lockable door. Each cabin sleeps four people. Cunningham Falls State Park is a great place for those looking for a back to nature getaway.