At a Glance

Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ The road on the south shore of the reservoir allows access to the dam when the gate is open;the dam offers a good view of the length of the lake. ◾ No restrooms.

Best Seasons: Spring, fall, and winter.

Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Frostburg NW, Frostburg CW, Avilton NE, Avilton CE

Local MOS Chapter: Allegany-Garrett Bird Club

Piney Reservoir

2880 Piney Run Road, Frostburg, MD 21532
(301) 334-8218

Piney Reservoir (aka Frostburg Reservoir) is a manmade freshwater lake that acts as a water supply reservoir for Frostburg, MD. It is west of the town of Finzel in Garrett County and can be reached from Piney Run Road north of US Route 40.

An access road takes you out along the edge of the lake so that you can bird from the car or park at the large pull-off past the row of trees that line the road, and set up a scope. No boats are allowed on Piney Reservoir, but the reservoir is open to fishing or birding from the shore. Public access is allowed along its entire shoreline. There are no trails.

Piney Reservoir’s surface area is 120 acres with a maximum depth of 35 feet. The upper shallow end of the lake has heavy growth of aquatic vegetation during the summer months, providing habitat for waders. Near the lower portion, flooded standing timber provides a different habitat. A wetland at a creek mouth on the east side of the access road offers good habitat for passerines. The rocky dam breast area should be checked for swallows in the warm months.


With an eBird list of more than 200 species, Piney Reservoir is a great spot for waterfowl and occasionally for herons, shorebirds, gulls, and terns.  Water levels vary by season and by year. Occasionally in late summer, the water level dwindles and shorebirds are attracted to the exposed mud. Good birds that have occurred here are Greater White-fronted Goose, Northern Shrike, and a Sandhill Crane that was in the cornfields just beyond the reservoir. Bald Eagle, Osprey, Merlin, and Common Loon are regular in appropriate seasons.


Park in any of the pull-offs on the left as you drive in. Park well off the main road.

Special Features:

Because the access road runs the length of the reservoir, this is a great place for those who are mobility-impaired, because it is possible to bird from or near the car. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Allegany & Garrett Counties Bird Club, which hosts field trips in the region and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.


From I-68, take the Finzel Exit for MD Route 546 North and take an immediate left; proceed 0.25 miles to a stop sign at US Route 40. Drive straight across US Route 40 onto Piney Run Road; continue about 2.5 miles to the reservoir. Turn left onto the access road along the lake (labelled Grantsville Road on Google Maps) and park in designated areas.

Nearby Sites:

Finzel Swamp Preserve, Rocky Gap State Park, Carey Run MOS Sanctuary.


Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Lawn, Ballfields, Golf Course Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Freshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams


BeginnersBirding By CarFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeParkingPets AllowedWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families


Driving Tour (Roadside Birding)Ponds, Lakes, and Reservoirs