Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River
Forest and Park Service
c/o Deep Creek Lake Recreation Area
898 State Park Road
Swanton, Maryland 21561
Location - The
Youghiogheny Wild and
Scenic River is located in far western Garrett County between
Friendsville and Oakland.
The Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River
is part of the large Mississippi River watershed that stretches from
the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the
Rockies in the west. Beginning in the gently rolling farmlands of
southern Garrett County, the Youghiogheny cuts a northward path
through some of the most rugged mountain scenery in Maryland before
running into Pennsylvania and merging with the Monongahela at
The Youghiogheny drains an area
encompassing approximately 397 square miles in Maryland. In its first
20 miles, the river meanders through a pastoral setting of farms and
wood lots occasionally paralleled by country roads or railroad tracks.
North of the town of Oakland, the character of the river changes as
the river valley narrows, deepens, and becomes heavily forested. From
Swallow Falls to Hoyes Run, the Youghiogheny enters a stretch of falls
and rapids with a drop in elevation of 280 feet in four miles.
At Hoyes Run, a relatively smooth
stretch of river can be found all the way to Gap Falls, just north of
Sang Run. At that point, the most rugged and inaccessible section of
the river runs wild and free to the town limits of Friendsville,
dropping in elevation an average of over 100 feet per mile.
In 1976 a 21 mile long segment of the
Youghiogheny was designated as Maryland's first Wild River. A state
protected corridor along the river runs from Miller's Run just north
of Oakland to the town of Friendsville. This corridor is managed by
the Forest and Park Service to preserve the wild and natural scenic,
geologic, historic, ecologic, recreational, fish, wildlife, and
During the late 1800's, Garrett County prospered and grew and its
economy was based primarily on agriculture, timber, and coal. The
arrival of the B&O railroad to Garrett County after the Civil War
opened the area's natural resources to large scale harvest and
development. Besides providing a form of transportation for people,
the railroad offered a means of moving the timber resources of Garrett
County to markets in the east. Because of the multitude of falls and
rapids timber could not be floated downstream. Logging railroads
penetrated the Youghiogheny river valley permitting exploitation of
its timber and coal.
In 1889, the Confluence and Oakland
Railroad was built to reach the timberlands along the river held by
the Yough Manor Land Company. It followed the path of the river south
from Confluence, Pennsylvania through Friendsville, to the town of
Kendall (originally called Krug). Here was headquartered two major
lumber companies, the A. Knabb Co. which manufactured barrels and
staves from the white oak in the valley, and the Kendall Lumber Co.
which maintained a large sawmill at the site. As of 1908, Kendall was
a thriving town, however operations at the mills ceased by 1912 as the
timber in the river valley was depleted. Today, little remains of the
town of Kendall.
As the timber and coal industries along
the Youghiogheny waned, the land regenerated naturally and through the
efforts of many thoughtful landowners the river valley regained much
of its original beauty. The Department of Natural Resources is
currently purchasing lands along the river in an effort to preserve
the valley for the enjoyment of future generations.
Visiting the River
Most of the river corridor lies within private landholdings. Visitors
must take precautions to avoid trespass.
Public access points can be found at
Swallow Falls State Park, in the Sang Run area off of Sang Run Road,
and in Friendsville. Hikers can hike several miles upstream. Hoyes Run
area is also a public access point for hiking, and fly fishing (catch
and release only). Hikers can walk from Hoyes to the Sang Run put in.
Other points of access are primarily primitive and rugged, and every
effort should be taken by users to be familiar with the skills needed
to safely enjoy the remote and primitive environment of the river.
Park Headquarters is located at Deep
Creek Lake State Park, on State Park Road off of Glendale Road.
Information can be obtained here during business hours Monday through
Friday. If you need emergency assistance, call the Forest and Park
Service communication center at 410-260-8888 or dial 911. General park
information can be obtained at 301-387-5563.
Hiking is permitted and the best trail
access may be found at Swallow Falls State Park. The old logging
railroad right-of-way may be followed north from the east side of the
river. Other access points and trails at Hoyes Run and Friendsville
are very primitive and require the use of map and compass and
Whitewater boating has become an
increasingly popular way for many to experience the wildness of the
Youghiogheny. The river is extremely difficult and potentially
dangerous and must be treated with respect. Information on whitewater
boating may be obtained at the park office.
Hunting and fishing is permitted in the
park's backcountry areas during regular seasons. Applicable
regulations and license requirements apply.
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