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Rocky Gorge Reservoir in Maryland

Trip Overview

Very pleasant and peaceful reservoir located between Olney and Laurel, Maryland. Rocky Gorge is a bit unusual for a Maryland lake/reservoir because it is fairly narrow for its entire length. It is probably about as wide as a small to medium-width river. Trees (a mixture of deciduous and conifer) come right down to the water's edge, which I like. No powerboats are allowed, so it is a nice place to paddle. If you put in at Brown's Bridge and go left (upstream), it is kind of a marshy/feeder stream type area. If you go down toward the dam, it is still narrow, but is definitely a reservoir. There are put-ins on both sides of the lower (Laurel, Maryland) end of the reservoir, plus a put-in at the top end (off of Brown's Bridge Road). I've only been there a few times, but if you go during the week, it seems that you will have a good chance of having most of the reservoir to yourself. On the weekends, I get the impression that there aren't very many boats out in the early morning (before 10 or 11 a.m.), with the bulk of the boaters coming out on weekend afternoons.


Bathroom facilities available at Brighton Dam and at all put-ins. No other facilities available.


$3 per day or $30 per year; available at Bright Dam visitors' center or at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission offices in Laurel.


Look for Brighton Dam or Triadelphia Reservoir on a Maryland map. There is a visitors' center at Brighton Dam, and free maps are available there. The Brown's Bridge put-in
is only about five miles (actually, I've never looked at my odometer, but I think that is about right) from the dam. The put-ins on the Laurel end of the reservoir aren't very
far from downtown Laurel.


Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, or the Brighton Dam visitors' center (301) 774-9124.


Free maps available at the Brighton Dam visitors' center.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip