You might know of Rocky Gap State Park because of its excellent camping facilities or because Lake Habeeb is considered to have the bluest waters in Maryland. Perhaps you’ve made sandcastles along the beach with your kids or challenged your friends to a fishing competition. But did you know you can hike to what is believed to be the homesite of the first European settler in Allegany County, that the parkland was once part of a dairy farm, or that the Eastern Woodland Indigenous Americans traveled the lush gorge and used the premier lodging of one of the many rock shelters lining the route? Prepare to be surprised by this one —the lake features an underwater scuba diving trail!

 

Whether you’ve visited the park many times or haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing this Mountain Maryland gem, we invite you to celebrate Rocky Gap State Park’s 50th anniversary with us.

 

SET UP CAMP

Rocky Gap is a favorite destination for campers, and it’s not hard to see why. First-timers, seasoned campers, and people looking for unique outdoor adventures will find many reasons to stay here—the park has 278 campsites, 13 mini cabins, two youth group camping areas, a family campsite, and a yurt. Each camping loop features a bathhouse with hot water, and pets are allowed in several of the loops. Plus, campers have access to a campground-only beach. Deepen relationships with your family as you share stories under the stars, make new friends with the campers around you, and sit back and relax—at Rocky Gap, you’re miles away from responsibilities.

 

Family of five hiking in the fall.

A family takes a fall hike on the trails of Rocky Gap State Park.

 

GET ON THE WATER

Life is good on Lake Habeeb! The sparkling blue waters beckon you to cool off with a refreshing swim or boat ride. Electric boats and paddle sports are allowed on the lake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long, or rent paddleboards and see who can balance the longest. For dinner, reel in a trout during the summer months or try the yellow perch in the winter with some ice fishing. There are plenty of activities for visitors who prefer to enjoy the lake from land. Let your pup splash around in the dog-friendly swimming sections, show off your volleyball skills, and grab lunch or ice cream from the Hawk’s Nest located along the day-use beaches or pizza from the Snack Barn at Campers Beach. Don't forget to hit the Camp Store for your park souvenirs.

 

Scales and Tales Aviary | Rocky Gap State Park

A park ranger introducing an owl from the park aviary.

 

EXPLORE THE FOREST

Bring good shoes and a sense of adventure—there are miles of fun discoveries in the 3,000 acres at Rocky Gap! For a short but scenic hike, follow the Canyon Overlook Trail and enjoy a gorgeous view of the mile-long gorge and Rocky Gap Run, which feeds from the lake. Tack on the nearby Touch of Nature Trail, an accessible trail lined with beautiful pine and hardwood stand, or the Archaeological Rock Shelter Trail to check out Indigenous American lodging. See Lake Habeeb from a new perspective on the Lakeside Loop Trail, a moderate trail that encircles the lake and takes hikers from the shoreline through the woodlands and over multiple bridges. Seeking a challenge? Embark on the Evitts Homesite Trail, an intense but rewarding out-and-back hike that climbs nearly 1,000 feet in elevation in 2.5 miles. Don’t miss the Nature Center at Rocky Gap! Little ones will love the hands-on activities and opportunities to get up close to a variety of animals. Call ahead for a special tour of the Aviary and observe rangers feeding and training non-releasable birds of prey, including bald eagles, owls, hawks, and vultures.

 


 

The Creation of Rocky Gap State Park

 

The idea for a state park started with a local Lions Club and became one of the major focuses of a local volunteer group called “The Route 40 Association.” The association’s president, Edward Habeeb, along with approximately 40 other landowners, donated parcels of land to be established as a state park. The largest portion of land (now the day-use area of the park) was purchased from the McLuckie family, who owned and operated Clover Hill Farm. Rocky Gap State Park formally opened on July 17, 1974, and continues to be a beloved tourist attraction that boosts Mountain Maryland’s economy.