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4 Great Places in the Mid-Atlantic to Camp Near Waterfalls

Updated on May 31, 2020
Chad Claeyssen profile image

Chad is an avid traveler who loves to share his tips and experiences to help others get the most out of their travels.

A waterfall is always a great destination for a hike anytime of year. When you're camping in the Summer it's even better. The cool spray from a waterfall is always welcome after a hike in the heat. The following is a list of four great places in the Mid-Atlantic area (between New York and Virginia) where it's possible to camp within walking distance of waterfalls.

Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park
Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park

1. Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland

The small, but pretty, state park is located just west of Thurmont, MD. It lies in the picturesque rolling hills of the Catoctin Mountains. The 78' tall, cascading, Cunningham Falls is the tallest in the state of Maryland. It's accessible via a short hike from the campground.

Cunningham Falls State Park is situated next to Catoctin Mountain Park adding many more miles of hiking opportunities and recreation activities in the area. Chimney Rock is a popular destination with its sweeping views of the surrounding forests and mountains.

2. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

This national park is located about seventy miles west of Washington, D.C. in the Shenandoah Mountains. It has ten waterfalls between 34-93' tall and many smaller ones. Waterfall trails are accessible from all of the campgrounds and vary widely in length and difficulty. Detailed information about camping and waterfall hikes can be found on the Shenandoah National Park's official website.

There are four campgrounds in the park and backcountry camping is allowed with a free permit. Most sites are available from early spring until the end of October.

The park is perfect whether you're in the mood to rough it or take it easy. There are campsites with little amenities or ones within walking distance of a store and restaurant.

Besides camping and hiking to beautiful waterfalls, there are many other activities to keep any nature lover busy. The famous Skyline Drive runs for more than a hundred miles from north to south along the highest elevations of the park. There are numerous pull offs with vistas of the surrounding Shenandoah Mountains and valleys.

Wildlife viewing is also possible in the park. There's a large population of black bear and deer as well as many smaller species of mammals and birds.

With no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities, Shenandoah National Park is a no brainer for anyone wanting to camp near waterfalls.

Dark Hollow Falls in the Shenandoah National Park
Dark Hollow Falls in the Shenandoah National Park

3. Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

This park, located 30 miles north of Bloomsberg, PA, is home to 22 named waterfalls. The highest waterfall in the park is Ganoga Falls at 94'. The 7.2 mile long Falls Trail can be hiked to see all of the falls or a shorter 3.3 mile trail can be taken to see most of them.

Waterfall at Rickettes Glen State Park in PA
Waterfall at Rickettes Glen State Park in PA

4. Watkins Glen State Park, New York

This park is located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. It lies about four hours north of Harrisburg, PA and 100 miles southeast of Buffalo, New York. At Watkins Glen State Park it's possible to camp near a stream that drops 400 feet making 19 waterfalls as it cuts through a two mile long glen. A trail winds along the creek over picturesque stone bridges and stairs.

Waterfall at Watkins Glen State Park in NY
Waterfall at Watkins Glen State Park in NY | Source

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