If you haven’t been to Rocks State Park then you don’t know what you’re missing. Situated at Jarrettsville, MD, this awesome park features 855 acres of rocky forest land nestled in rural northern Harford County. Primary attractions at Rocks include the King and Queen Seat and Kilgore Falls. The main section of the park includes three picnic areas, 3.5-miles of hiking trails, and access to Deer Creek, which is ideal for fishing, wading and tubing. The park’s two satellite properties, Falling Branch (home to Kilgore Falls) and Hidden Valley, are a short drive from the main park.
Be sure to visit the King & Queen Seat, but I warn you, this attraction is not for the out of shape person. With a trail that leads to the top of the peak, it sure is a hike and physically demanding. However, as my assistant and I was making our way back down from the peak, we did notice one gentleman who made three trips up to the top and back down before we even made it down.
The King and Queen Seat rises 190 feet above Deer Creek. The soaring natural rock outcrop provides a breathtaking view, as well as a challenge to the skilled climber. There are many vertical rock faces on the outcrop, some of which are as high as 94 feet. If you plan on coming to the seats, please use caution in this area, this is a very dangerous but fun attraction.
On June 24, 2018, around 6:00 p.m. a man fell to his death. According to Maryland Natural Resources Police Chief Public Information Officer Candy Thomson, a man died at King and Queen Seat. He fell from the rocky outcropping. The victim was a 35-year-old Harford County man. The circumstances surrounding the man’s death remained under investigation by Maryland Natural Resources Police.
“We went back to the scene today to ensure we retrieved all potential evidence,” Thomson said on Sunday on Sunday June 25, 2018. We also spoke to additional witnesses.”Previous to the 2018 death, one person died there in July 2015 in what was believed to be a suicide. There have also been several people rescued, including a man who fell while rappelling in December 2015.
Novice climbers should seek professional training before attempting to climb the King and Queen Seat. Climbs range from 8 to 115 feet, and are suitable for skill levels 4 to 5.12.
The Falling Branch area of Rocks State Park is located about five miles north of the main park on a separate 67-acre parcel of land. It is home to the 17-foot high Kilgore Falls, which is Maryland’s second highest vertical drop waterfall. This non-developed, environmentally sensitive area has a serene hiking trail leading back to the waterfall.
There is a downside. Parking. In order to protect the area’s sensitive habitat, parking is very limited. The park maintains a 28-car parking lot at 1026 Falling Branch Road, Pylesville, MD. The area is very popular in late spring, summer and early fall – even on weekdays. The park encourages patrons to carpool and arrive early. If the lot is full, patrons are encouraged to visit the main portion of Rocks State Park.
So if you plan ahead and check out their website before packing the car, you’ll be better prepared and have less disappointments. So what are you waiting for? Pack up and get climbing.