Day Trippin’: A Secret Swimming Hole Gunpowder Falls State Park offers the perfect summer escape.


Nestled within the woods of Gunpowder Falls State Park lies a cool summer sanctuary that you have to see to believe. In fact, it’s so easy to miss that few seem to know about it..but that might not be a bad thing. Absent from trail maps and unmarked along the way, this secret swimming hole is the ultimate  summer cool-down.

The journey starts with a moderate 3.5-mile hike that takes you deep into the woods and across quiet streams, the sounds of which are enough to steal your attention from the looming trees and pockets of sunshine. (Count the gorgeous blue and yellow butterflies along the way!)

Right about when you start wondering if you’re going the right way, the echoes of a rushing stream will bring you to the very edge of what you came for.  Peek through the trees and you’ll see the picture of tranquility: a deep pool , surrounded by steep white rocks.

The water is frigid, even on a 90-degree day, but if you’ve never taken a dip away from the beach or local swimming pool, the chilly water is part of what makes the adventure worthwhile. You can also soak your feet in the adjacent stream, and watch the water rush over the rocks while you absorb the afternoon sun.

I cannot say enough about this well-hidden treasure that’s always hard to leave, but easy enough to return to. Here a few tips for your first visit:

  • If you’re tempted to wear sandals or open-toed shoes, don’t. The hike requires a sturdy pair of hiking or gym shoes.
  • Pack towels and extra socks.
  • If you have water shoes, bring them.
  • The rocks are slippery and can drop off quite abruptly once you’re in the water. Look down and step slowly.
  • To reach the swimming hole, follow the Pink, Blue, Yellow trails (in that order). Once you hit double yellow (as marked on the trees), keep going. When you hit the second double yellow, veer off the trail slightly to the right, and voila! If you hear the water, you’ve probably made it.
  • Pack a picnic!


Starting address:
Gunpowder Lodge
10092 Belair Rd
Kingsville, MD 21087

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