Maryland - Western MD - Scenic Overlook Near Wisp

Western Maryland offers a myriad of opportunities for autumn outdoor recreation and leaf-peeping.

There’s nothing like fall in Western Maryland; the air is crisp, the nights are cool, and the leaves are bursting with color. It’s the perfect time to take a road trip and spend some time leaf-peeping, partaking of the fall harvest at local food stands, or enjoying some hiking or biking through the farm and mountain landscapes.

Garrett County

Garrett County, nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, celebrates its 150th anniversary this September with a free, family-friendly event on September 17 at the Garrett County Fairgrounds. Activities will include a “Hall of History” walkthrough tour, Chautauqua-style speakers, live musical entertainment, a car show, and more. The county is also home to the first barn quilt trail in the state, which features five mini-tour routes, lasting from 45 to 75 minutes (not counting time for picture-taking, of course!). 

Maryland - Western MD - Fall foliage and wooden fence

Fall is the perfect time for a scenic road trip through Western Maryland.

“Along the route, there are farms where travelers can stop and engage in different activities including shopping at farm stands and wandering through a corn maze,” said Connie Spindler, communications specialist, Maryland Office of Tourism. “Because Western Maryland is the first place the leaves change in the state, this is also a wonderful fall foliage destination.”

The 55th annual Autumn Glory Festival will take place October 12-16 in Garrett County and includes a parade, craft and gift show, and two new fall foliage driving tours. 

Maryland - Western MD - Deep Creek Lake

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County is a must-visit for autumn splendor.

Western Maryland is also home to five scenic byways, including the Mountain Maryland route and the Historic National Road route, which follows America’s first federally funded highway. A nice stop is Casselman River Bridge State Park, close to Grantsville, where you can see three centuries of highway bridges built over the Casselman River, including a single span stone arch bridge that at the time of its construction in 1813 was the largest of its type in America.

Allegany County

In Allegany County, stop at Tracks and Yaks in Frostburg, where you can choose from a number of custom-made bike/rail tours.

Maryland - Western MD - Tracks and Yaks - Vertical

Take a one-of-a-kind fall trip in Allegany County via railbike with Tracks and Yaks.

For example, you can hop on a tandem or quad railbike at the Frostburg Train Depot and pedal along the tracks of the original Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad to explore iconic sites along the Great Allegheny Passage such as Brush Tunnel and Helmstetter’s Curve.

Or coast and pedal along the entire railroad for 15 miles, one of the longest railbike excursions available in the country, followed by a leisurely ride back up the mountain aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

Washington County

In Washington County, enjoy leaf-peeping with a historical bent. The state is commemorating the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam on September 10, 16-18, and 24-25, 2022, and you can hike the battle route or take a car caravan tour of the battlefield, enjoy living history and weapons demonstrations, and check out incredible fall foliage at the same time. 

Maryland - Western MD - Antietam Battlefield

September 2022 marks the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, making it a great time to tour the battlefield and enjoy the scenery.

The C&O Canal offers incredible views while hiking and biking in the Cushwa Basin area in Williamsport. Make sure to check out the many architectural marvels along the way, including the rebuilt aqueduct and the lockhouse, and stop into the new visitors’ center, opened in September. And if all that activity has built up a thirst, wander over to the Cushwa Brewing Co. for a cold one. For an even more in-depth look at the 184.5-mile canal towpath, follow the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Scenic Byway, which starts in Cumberland and ends in Washington, D.C.

Maryland - Western MD - Boat at Cushwa Basin on the C&O Canal

The Cushwa Basin section of the C&O Canal is a favorite among hikers, bikers, and small-craft enthusiasts.

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