Kilgore Falls is the second highest free-falling waterfall in the state of Maryland. The falls are located on the Falling Branch of Deer Creek, just west of the town of Pylesville, as part of a northern annex of Rocks State Park, which was opened to the public in 1993.
The “Kilgore Falls” area of Rocks State Park is approximately 67 acres, accessible by road via a parking lot off of Falling Branch Road. If you’re using a map to locate the falls, the actual address is 1026 Falling Branch Road, Pylesville, MD 21132.
For photographers, the Falls offers quite a few areas to shoot from, although in my opinion, the downstream views offer the most aesthetically pleasing potential. From the south (downstream), you get a partially tucked away shot of the falls behind a huge boulder, but you can also get a good bit of colorful wet rocks and pebbles in the foreground. Once you get about 10-15 feet downstream from the pool just below the falls, the water is typically shallow enough to wade around in waterproof boots and still keep your feet dry.
From the west you can grab a head-on shot of the Falls, and if you are careful with your footing, a tight view from the north is possible if you don’t mind setting up shop on some very slippery rocks. My rear end has been introduced to those rocks a couple of times. I’ve found the view from the west and north to be somewhat compositionally awkward, but still fun to get.
The Falls are also frequented by swimmers and those seeking a picnic with beautiful ambiance. Swimmers can make getting photographs challenging as they tend to hang around in a small pool just below the landing spot of the Falls.
If you decide to shoot the falls, I’d recommend bringing one wide-angle lens (15-21mm), and a medium range lens (between a focal length of 35-55mm). The wide-angle will be helpful from the North and West as the shots tend to be pretty close to the Falls, while the medium range lens will come in handy from the south. If you prefer zooms, a 24-70 lens will be sufficient, although having a wide-angle zoom would be helpful as well.
You can also get a good view of the Falls from above…it’s a relatively easy walk up to the top.
The Falls are about a quarter-mile easy hike from the parking lot. The only moderately challenging portion of the hike is when you cross the stream to access the path which takes you to the falls. The rocks can be very slippery around that portion of the stream, so watch your footing.
For those of you who live in the central Maryland area, Kilgore Falls offers you a nice, easy-to-get-to opportunity to practice on your long exposures and waterscape/waterfall imagery.