Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Maryland's Highest Waterfalls and Mountains

Few of the waterfalls in Maryland have been accurately measured by survey methods. There could easily be waterfalls (cascades, most likely) that are missed by this list because they have not come to the attention of the Maryland Geological Survey. Approximate locations are shown on the accompanying map.

Maryland's Highest Waterfalls

WATERFALL APPROXIMATE HEIGHT TYPE LOCATION / COMMENTS
Cunningham Falls 78 ft. cascading north-central Frederick County (Blue Ridge Mountains); Cunningham Falls State Park.
Great Falls of the Potomac 76 ft. cascading 15 miles northwest of Nation's capital on the Potomac River, in Montgomery County; Great Falls Park, part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Muddy Creek Falls 54 ft. free-falling western Garrett County (Appalachian Plateau); in Swallow Falls State Park; the highest free-falling waterfall in Maryland
Kilgores Rocks
(Falling Branch)
17 ft. free-falling north-central Harford County (Piedmont Plateau); on Falling Branch at Kilgores Rocks
(unnamed) 17 ft. cascading east-central Baltimore County (Piedmont Plateau) near the head of Dulaney Valley Branch
Swallow Falls 16 ft. cascading western Garrett County (Appalachian Plateau); in Swallow Falls State Park 30 yards upstream of Lower Falls; height varies slightly with seasons
Lower Falls 8-10 ft. cascading could be considered part of Swallow Falls, and is therefore included in this list; 30 yards down-stream of the main Swallow Falls; height varies seasonally

The elevations listed below are the highest elevations above sea level along some of the highest ridges in Maryland. Continuity of features and their names can cause some confusion. For example, the same ridge that in southwestern Garrett County is called Backbone Mountain is known as Big Savage Mountain in the northeastern part of the County. All that separates them is the Savage River gorge. But since the names have changed, both the highest points on Backbone and Big Savage are included in the list below. Approximate locations are shown on the map on the reverse side.

Maryland's Highest Mountains

MOUNTAIN ELEVATION (feet) COUNTY PHYSIOGRAPHIC PROVINCE
Backbone Mountain 3360 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
Negro Mountain* 3075 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
Meadow Mountain 3022 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
Big Savage Mountain 2991 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
Dans Mountain 2898 Allegany Appalachian Plateau

 

Location Key to Index Map

CODE FEATURE CODE FEATURE
BB Backbone Mountain MC Muddy Creek Falls
N Negro Mountain* L Lower Falls
M Meadow Mountain S Swallow Falls
BS Big Savage Mountain C Cunningham Falls
D Dans Mountain U Unnamed (Dulaney Valley Branch)
K Kilgores Rocks (Falling Branch) GF Great Falls of the Potomac


Index Map for FactSheet 9

THE HIGHEST 21 MOUNTAINS, RIDGES AND HILLS IN MARYLAND

RANK MOUNTAIN ELEVATION (feet) COUNTY PROVINCE (Comments)
1 Backbone Mountain 3360 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
2 Negro Mountain* 3075 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
3 Meadow Mountain 3022 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
4 Big Savage Mountain 2991 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
5 Dans Mountain 2898 Allegany Appalachian Plateau
6 Winding Ridge 2842 Garrett Appalachian Plateau
7 Warrior Mountain 2185 Allegany Ridge & Valley
8 Quirauk Mountain 2140 Washington Blue Ridge (part of South Mountain)
9 Town Hill 2039 Allegany Ridge & Valley
10 Hearthstone Mountain 2021 Washington Ridge & Valley (in Bear Pond Mountains)
11 Martin Mountain 1974 Allegany Ridge & Valley
12 Wills Mountain 1960+ Allegany Ridge & Valley
13 High Top 1880 Frederick Blue Ridge (part of Catoctin Mountain)
14 Polish Mountain 1783 Allegany Ridge & Valley
15 Sideling Hill 1760 Washington Ridge & Valley
16 Fairview Mountain 1690 Washington Ridge & Valley (in Bear Pond Mountains)
17 Powell Mountain 1548 Washington Ridge & Valley (in Bear Pond Mountains)
18 Sword Mountain 1530+ Washington Ridge & Valley (rising into Pa.)
19 Green Ridge 1424 Allegany Ridge & Valley
20 Sugarloaf Mountain 1282 Frederick Piedmont
21 Tonoloway Ridge 1240+ Washington Ridge & Valley

NOTE: The order of mountains has not been verified beyond the highest 5. The entire list should be considered provisional and subject to revision. (4-29-93)

*How did Negro Mountain get it's name?
     Legend says that Negro Mountain was named for a slave (a butler or valet; or possibly a scout or ranger) of settler Thomas Cresap’s, named Nemesis, who was killed in a battle with Native Americans in 1756. He is said to be buried on Negro Mountain. For more information see


Compiled by the Maryland Geological Survey, 2300 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
This electronic version of "Fact Sheet No.9 " was prepared by R.D. Conkwright, Division of Coastal and Estuarine Geology, Maryland Geological Survey. Please send comments on this page to Dale Shelton (dshelton@mgs.md.gov)