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Offering a panoramic view of Harford County, Rocks State Park is just 30 miles north of Baltimore and 8 miles east of Bel Air.
The park is rich in history and folklore, starting with its namesake rock outcrop.
The natural 190-foot rock outcrop overlooks Deer Creek Valley. It's made of quartzite and quartz-pebble metaconglomerate and was formed millions of years ago when quartz was subjected to intense heat and pressure. The result of time and erosion left the tower of rock visitors see today.
For centuries, the "Rocks at Deer Creek" were a destination for picnickers. Riders on the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad would come and spend the day at the rocks.
Ranger Lindley Campbell said even before the day trippers in the 1800s, the outcrop was used by Native Americans.
"As the story goes, there's two carved out seats where the chief and his wife sat during their son's wedding."
In 1867, the Maryland Central Railroad was chartered to build a railroad line between Baltimore and Philadelphia. It never made it to Philly, but instead extended to York. From its creation until the late 1890s, the railroad was operated under several owners. In 1899, it became the Ma & Pa Railroad.
The Ma & Pa Railroad ceased passenger service on August 31, 1954. The southern part of the line from Baltimore to Delta was abandoned in 1958. The northern section operated for another 20 years. The trackers were pulled up in 1986. Although, some remnants of the railroad remain, including a section at Rocks State Park.
The state of Maryland purchased the site in 1949. Just two years later, Rocks State Park opened.
Home to Maryland's second largest vertical drop waterfall
The King and Queen Seat were once a ceremonial gathering place for the Susquehannock Indians
Famous King and Queen Seat and Kilgore Waterfall were featured in the film Tuck Everlasting
The park is just over 1,000 acres, offering over 3 miles of hiking trails, three picnic areas, and plenty of areas to enjoy Deer Creek River.
The Falling Branch area, a 5 mile drive from the rock outcrop, is home to Kilgore Falls. The falls are 17-feet high and a big attraction for visitors and locals alike.
"It's definitely one of the sites you have to see when you come to Rocks State Park, but it's not a very large area and it does get busy"
Parking is very limited in the area, park officials advise coming early. The area opens daily at 9 a.m. Ranger Campbell also recommends visiting in the fall or winter.
Rocks State Park offers several interpretive programs including nature and history hikes, crafts and demonstrations. For a full list of programs contact the park office at 410-557-7994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.