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Pylesville, Maryland, United States

Falling Branch Trail to Kilgore Falls

a short family-friendly hike with a spectacular payoff in Rocks State Park

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 (11 votes, 7 reviews)
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.2 miles / 1.9 km
Duration: 1 hour or less
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: Looking for a family friendly short hike with a spectaular payoff? Look no further than Kilgore Falls, Maryland’s second-highest vertical waterfall located in Rocks State Park. Rocks State Park remains environmentally sensitive and this area in particular, the Falling Brach area, is very well maintaned. This area was once a meeting place for Susquehannock Indians.

Tips: Be sure to take along a swim suite in the hot weather as there is plenty of space to take a nice dip in the cool water. Water shoes are advised as the botto of the pool is most rocky. You can even stand beneath the falls and enjoy this hidden gem tucked away from the nearby city.

Points of Interest



Head from the parking lot and continue on the trail until you reach a wooden boardwalk.

Footbridge and Wooden Boardwalk

About 500 feet after leaving the parking lot you will cross over a wooden boardwalk and footbridge.

Turn left when the trail splits

In about 0.25 miles the trail splits. Take a left which will take you towards falling branch spring

Stepping stones used to cross the stream

You will soon reach Falling Branch Stream. Use the helpful stepping stones to help you get across.

Turn right after crossing stream.

After crossing the stream, turn right at the trail intersection.

Kilgore Falls - The Second Tallest Falls in Maryland

Continue for about 0.3 miles until you reach the falls.

Top of falls.

For additional adventure you can scramble your way up to the top of the falls and enjoy an incredible view. Please note the rocks surrounding the falls tend to very slippery as they are wet. Be very careful when climbing along the falls if you chose to do so.

Turn Around and Retrace Your Steps

You can either turn around and retrace your steps, or, if you scrambled up above the falls you can continue along a lone trail up at the top which circles back to the path you took to reach the falls. Either way this is an out and back hike with an optional lollipop configuration, if you scramble up the falls.


The trail will lead you back to the parking lot.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Kellie_Carlisle

Kellie Carlisle
I been to a lot of places hiking this is the easiest one of them all, especially the drive up there is beautiful. Luckily the weather was perfect not too cold, sun shining barely through the clouds, it was scenic. One part of the trail leads you above the falls and keep following it till it disappears upstream, the view out there in the thicket of the woods is beautiful too.! Picturesque spot, I would definitely recommend this for a family hike, easy for kids.!
Visited on Nov 16, 2013

by kr.nikhil on Nov 16, 2013
My husband and I drove up from Kensington MD to see what all the rave reviews were about and of course the image looks beautiful. We arrived around 2pm on a weekday and were absolutely horrified by the over abundance of screaming children. There must have been over 100 kids littering all over the falls. The noise level was so loud you could here them from the parking lot over a half mile away. We are not kid people and we enjoy beautiful and quite natural scenery. I felt like we were at some Disney World water park nightmare. If you like screaming kids, then the place is perfect. But if you are looking for a peaceful hike to a beautiful water fall, you should probably find one that families with tons of kids have more difficulty getting too. We were so disappointed.
Visited on Aug 02, 2013

by jodpope on Aug 02, 2013
I had to stop at the Park Office to get directions to the trail head. Once I got the directions, I was able to get their easily. The trail was short, but there were plenty of little side trails to add to the trip. The falls were beautiful. I was there for about an hour and saw 5 other people in the middle of a week day.
Visited on Apr 26, 2013

by JLBowman113 on Apr 26, 2013
Took my son today to see this. Was only a 40 minute drive from our house in Pennsylvania down Rt. 24. I fell in at the top of the falls while crossing the stream. Got totally soaked and ruined my iPhone but it was worth it. Even soaking wet we had lots of fun and got some great photos.
Visited on Sep 06, 2012

by WabbyTwax on Sep 06, 2012
This is a good trip for first timers AND for people of any age. You have options as far as paths are concerned - the only real difficulty is the crossing of the stream, as your shoes will get wet. Unless you're not wearing any. You can swim in the water at the end, beneath Kilgore Falls, but bear in mind it might be cold, cold water.
Visited on Jun 03, 2012

by dan.franzen on Jun 03, 2012
I have been to Kilgore Falls by way of the Falling Branch Trail on several occasions. If you cannot get out to see the tallest fall in Western Maryland (Swallow Falls) then this location should be on your list to visit. It's very scenic, the short hike makes it easy to take children along, and it's very relaxing while you're back there. It's also conveniently close to the Rocks State Park, King and Queen seats. This guide is spot on for directions too.

by KayakinGuy on Feb 28, 2011
What a wonderful experience and the frozen waterfalls were spectacular. This guide is accurate and easy to follow!

Visited on Jan 26, 2011

by mikelh33 on Jan 26, 2011

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About the Author

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Love hiking and I am the founder of a very active non-profit hiking group with over 19,500 active hikers,...

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