The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented obstacles into many lives. One of the more minor obstacles is the ability to get out of the house and travel. My family’s solution has been camping. The outdoors are much safer when it comes to COVID-19 and we are still able to see different surroundings.
Although I tent camp, I am super fortunate that my parents have an A-Frame camper. The other weekend I went to Rocky Gap State Park in Western Maryland to camp for a few nights with them. I say I am fortunate because one of the biggest risks of contracting COVID-19 while camping is the bathhouse. Because they have the camper, I am able to avoid the shared toilets and sinks. Not everyone has this ability and I haven’t each time while camping either. Call me silly or overcautious, but I bring a bottle of bleach with me and spray and wipe everything I am about to use (and after I use it for the safety of the next person) and wear my mask the whole time (I’d rather be safe than sorry). Another great option is choosing campgrounds that have private single bathrooms. Although these are still shared with other campers, it ensures that while using the bathroom you are by yourself in an enclosed area.
The campsite at Rocky Gap are AMAZING. They are large areas where you can have multiple tents spread out and the sites are spaced apart enough where you don’t feel like you can hear every word from your neighbor. There are electric and non-electric sites and one pet-friendly loop. Most of the loops are right next to the lake, so if you book a site in time you can typically either see the lake when you come out of your tent or it’s a 30 second walk over a hill to the shore.
As you can see in the picture above, you typically don’t get a gravel pad for your tent unless you reserve a tent only spot. Our campsite did not have direct visibility of the lake, but it was right over that wee hill behind my bike (literally a 30 second walk).
There are about four trails in the park for hiking and biking. Evitts Homesite Trail and the Lakeside loop trail at the campsites are the longest ones offered. Evitts comes out to be about 7.5 miles total and the lake loop is about 4 miles. Evitts is fairly challenging with three sections of steep hiking; however, there is about 4-5 total miles of moderate incline walk. Overall Evitts was a nice hike because you get a solid length and a few challenging bit and you get to see the Mason Dixon line! The only downside is Rocky Gap State Park does not do a great job showing how to find the trail heads.
The lakeside loop trail on the other hand is super accessible because it branches off from each lakeside campsite. It is a very picturesque walk especially during autumn. We were at Rocky Gap the first weekend of October and the leaves were just changing. I would suggest going either the second or third weekends to catch the peak. Also when you’re there outside of peak season you may get the chance to see neat wildlife.
For instance, each morning I woke up around 7am and just quietly wandered along the shoreline taking pictures…I ended making friends with a local beaver TWICE!
There are two other trails: The Canyon Overlook Trail and Touch of Nature Trail. Both are short and sweet options. The canyon trail is a quarter mile loop that offers a gorgeous view. Touch of Nature is also a quarter mile and it is handicap accessible: completely paved and offers benches throughout. Both are lovely options for anyone who likes to be out in nature but prefers shorter walks.
I highly recommend Rocky Gap State Park camping. It was an uber relaxing weekend filled with pleasant surprises (Mr. Beaver) and outstanding sights and colors. Below are links to the Maryland state website and the map of the park.
I hope everyone had a wonderful week and have plans to relax and find peace this weekend!