Escape Winter Blahs with an Outdoor Adventure at Deep Creek

Located just two hours from Pittsburgh, Deep Creek offers a fun winter getaway. Here’s our guide on what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.

by Emma Diehl
January 7, 2021

With the holidays past us, and months of cold weather ahead, we don’t blame you if you just feel like hibernating until the sun comes out again.

But, if you did, you’d be missing out on all that winter in western Pennsylvania has to offer. With three day holidays weekends on the horizon, it’s time to escape Pittsburgh. Just two hours south in Maryland lies Deep Creek Lake, an all seasons getaway offering safe outdoor activities, even in the dead of winter.

What to Do

Deep Creek is a man-made lake with over 60 miles of shoreline, making it a great spot for summer water spots. But, in the winter, the nearby slopes and parks steal the show, offering a ton of different activities for everyone from thrill seekers, to leisure lovers.

Skiing & Snowboarding

Nearby Wisp Resort offers over 30 slopes for beginner, intermediate, and expert skiers and snowboarders. New to downhill sports? Wisp has rentals onsite, and you can even get a free lesson with some lift packages. Nearly a quarter of all runs are suited for beginners, so there’s plenty of variety.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

If vertical sport isn’t for you, try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. On the more leisurely side, you can rent skis or snowshoes on site at one of the Deep Creek area’s many state parks.

New Germany State Park has 10 miles of multi-use trails, which include groomed tracks in the winter for cross country skiers. But, download or print out a trail map before your visit — most of the state park doesn’t have cell service. You can rent snowshoes or skis on site, and entrance into the park is free.

Potomac-Garrett State Forest has groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as some more advanced backcountry trails for snowshoers. There is no fee to enter the park.

Located in the Garrett State Forest, Herrington Manor State Park is a true all season location, with a lake for swimming and kayaking in the summer, and a network of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking in the winter. The state park has 10 miles of groomed trails for snowsports, and rentals available on site. Entrance to the park for out of state visitors is $5 per vehicle.

Snow Tubing/Sledding

Have hill, will sled. But instead of hunting for hills, try Herrington Manor or New Germany State parks, where they offer sled rentals on site.

If you don’t mind a drive, West Virigina’s Blackwater Falls Sled Run is just 45-minutes from Deep Creek. Nestled in the Blackwater Falls State Park, this is the longest sled run on the east coast–you have to take a lift to get to the top before sliding down.

If you want even bigger thrills, head to Wisp’s snow tubing park or try the resort’s downhill Alpine Slide Mountain Coaster.

Sleigh Rides

Glide along snow-covered hills in style in a horse-drawn sleigh. Pleasant Valley Dream Rides offers year-round carriage rides with reservations.

Where to Stay

There’s a ton of traditional and online rentals available in the Deep Creek/Garrett County area, but here’s a few spots to check out for a unique getaway:

Blue Moon Rising

This village of sustainably built tiny homes is tucked on a mountain side just above the lake. The tiny homes sleep between 2-4 and each have their own shower, bathroom, and kitchenette. Plus, don’t forget to bring you pup along–these cabins are pet friendly.


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Ella’s Enchanted Treehouses

About 15 minutes from Deep Creek and off the beaten path, these unique wooden treehouses in the woods sleep at least five.

State Park Cabins

For a classic winter getaway feel, try renting one of the cabins at New Germany or Herrington Manor State Parks. Cabins are fully furnished, with wood burning stoves and full kitchens. From the cabin, you can ski or hike out for immediate access to the park’s snow-covered trails. Pro tip: check your cabin’s supplies to see if they supply bedding, towels, or linens (many don’t!).

Where to Eat

There’s a ton of dining and grocery options in the Deep Creek area, with amazing roadside produce stands to boot, but here are a few standouts for your weekend sustenance.

Firefly Farms

Add some award-winning cheese to your weekend chartucitrer. Visit Firefly Farms in nearby Accident, MD to try the most awarded cheese in the state, it’s well-worth the drive. Made from sustainable and locally sourced goat milk, Firefly has a ton of meats, cheeses, and accessories for your spread.

Brenda’s Pizzeria

Right on Deep Creek’s main drag, Brenda’s is classic New York-style pizza that’s perfect to pick up after a day of outdoor activities. Order ahead online to save time–this is the go-to spot for takeout on the weekends.

Moon Shadow

You might be in the woods, but that doesn’t mean a brunch is out of the question. Stop by Moon Shadow on the weekend for a classic brunch spread. This American-style eatery and pub is also open for lunch and dinner. Check out its events calendar for live music on the weekends.

Short Story Brewing at Deep Creek Lake

Founded in Rivesville, WV, Short Story Brewing has an outpost at Deep Creek Lake. Take a break, and sip a craft brew with views of Wisp. If you’re hungry, fill a growler or take a few cans to go, the brewery doesn’t have food on site.

The cold winter months can be less of bummer with some outdoor beauty. Enjoy the great outdoors and an easy weekend getaway close to Pittsburgh at Deep Creek.

Header photo by Austin Kirk, via Unsplash

Emma is a Pittsburgh-based writer, with a focus on lifestyle and technology. Her work has been featured on HuffpostLive!, NPR, XOJane, NEXTPittsburgh, and Niche.

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