Forest fun, owl encounters, and fresh donuts at Deep Creek Lake | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Forest fun, owl encounters, and fresh donuts at Deep Creek Lake

The Maryland tourist destination has water sports, skiing, nature walks, and more just two hours from Pittsburgh.

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On the lake at Deep Creek, Maryland - TIMOTHY JACOBSEN, GARRETT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Timothy Jacobsen, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce
  • On the lake at Deep Creek, Maryland

Having trouble choosing between a wilderness getaway or a weekend at the beach? Looking for all the comforts of a hotel suite while still being close enough to nature that you have to lock your garbage away from hungry bears? Consider Deep Creek Lake, Md.

Located just two hours – or 106 miles – south of Pittsburgh, the lakeside community offers more than enough for everyone. Two years ago, some friends and I stayed in one of the many cabins available to rent through the company Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales. (I use the term “cabin” liberally, as it’s less the musty, old wooden structure used by your grandpa during hunting season, and more a four-bedroom, four-bathroom Lincoln Log McMansion complete with an outdoor hot tub and sauna). 

During the day, we went hiking (the surrounding region of Garrett County has eight state parks and two state forests) and strolled along the shores of Deep Creek Lake, the state’s largest freshwater lake. We also took the young kids in the group to the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center, a 6,000-square-foot facility where you can view rescued owls and other birds of prey, as well as native fish, turtles, and frogs. At night, we built fires in the backyard or went inside to play a few competitive rounds of games like Coup and Codenames.

While we didn’t explore the dining options, my husband did buy donuts for everyone at Deep Creek Donuts, a “micro-factory” where everything is made-to-order by a machine right in front of you.

My excursion doesn’t even begin to cover the Deep Creek experience. During the summer, go fishing, kayaking, swimming, or canoeing, or rent a boat at a marina and dock it at several restaurants. There are numerous spas, including ones that offer in-home massages, pontoon boat tours, horse-drawn carriage rides or nature walks. Take a trip to Muddy Creek Falls, the state’s highest free-falling waterfall, or head to Adventure Sports Center International, described as the world’s only mountaintop re-circulating whitewater course. 

In the cold months, there’s skiing at Herrington Manor State Park and other areas (the Visit Deep Creek website boasts that the area gets an average of 120-inches of snow annually, nearly double that of Fairbanks, Alaska). No matter the season, Wisp Resort has fun for the whole family, including winter sports, ziplining, and mountain biking. 


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