It’s time to head to the mountains to enjoy the beauty of the fall season in the Deep Creek Lake area of Garrett County, Md.

The Autumn Glory Festival, which runs Oct. 10–14, is now more than a half-century old.

It has grown to include a kickoff dinner, fireman’s parade, concerts (including an oompah band), band competitions, farmers market, 5K walk, art exhibits, live entertainment, dogsled events, antique and craft shows, quilt show, corn maze, and tons of great food and drink. There’s even a comedy basketball game, pumpkin-chunkin’ contest, horseback trail rides, outdoor adventures, the official Maryland State Banjo, Fiddle & Mandolin Championships, and, of course, unparalleled beauty.

The Autumn Glory Festival isn’t the only reason to head to Garrett County. Begin a trip to the county with a visit to or the visitors center in McHenry, where you can get brochures, maps, and directions. Take in the spectacular views of fall foliage by car, by foot, or by bike on one of the mapped tours. You also can take a historical tour.

Deep Creek Lake, at 3,900 acres with 65 miles of shoreline, is Maryland’s largest freshwater lake and the only lake in Maryland to allow gas-powered boating on its 13 miles of surface area. This adds not just scenic beauty, but a host of year- round water activities, including water skiing, sailing, jet-skiing, canoeing, and kayaking in the summer and ice-fishing in the winter.

Garrett County is also home to Wisp Resort, Maryland’s only ski resort. With 34 trails for skiing and snowboarding spanning two sides of the mountain, Wisp offers great views of the lake and a variety of challenge levels.

The resort also has a snow-tubing park, terrain parks, an ice-skating rink, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobile riding, and an awesome mountain coaster.

Also on location at Wisp, find the Adventure Sports Center International, the world’s only mountaintop recirculating whitewater course. The resort also has a great hotel with a spa, restaurant, pool, tennis, golf, and more.

A rich collection of eight state parks and two state forests adds even more opportunities for ATVs, camping, biking, fishing, hiking, rock-climbing, photography, and more on the 90,000-plus acres of public land, the most of any county in Maryland.

Our favorite is Muddy Creek Falls at Swallow Falls State Park, with its 53-foot waterfall, the state’s highest. Want a scenic vista? Try Backbone Mountain; with an elevation of 3,360 feet, it is the highest point in Maryland.

Other area favorites include New Germany State Park, Savage River Reservoir, Youghiogheny River Lake, Broadford Lake, Herrington Manor State Park, Jennings Randolph Lake, Casselman River, the North Branch of the Potomac River, Savage River, and the Youghiogheny River.

Opportunities exist for horseback riding and hunting, too.

Want to enjoy the great offerings of the area’s towns? You’ll find arcades, aviation, carriage and sleigh rides, the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center, go-karts, live theater, mini golf, and shopping.

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