February 17, 2001 - Catoctin Mountain Park Hike

High Adventure 3D Map of the Trail
Elevation Profile
NPS Catoctin Web Site
NPS Map of Park

A few members of the High Adventure Club hiked some trails in the Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland.   

Hikers: Animal (Ed Ramsey), Gadget (Bob Zinn) , Ice Man (Art Palaia), Rock (Peter Oetker), Zenith (Joe Kaehler), and (Mike McKay)

Below: Map of the Trail.

  Click for a Printable version of this MAP (PDF 110 k)

Trail Descriptions:

Catoctin Mountain Park

Hog-Wolf-Chimney-Cat Rocks

Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont Maryland

Length.- 8.7 or 10. 6 mi.

Elevation Change: Approx. 1200 ft

USGS Quad: Blue Ridge Summit, MD 

Map available at Visitor Center

The trails for this hike are located within the boundaries of Catoctin Mountain Park with the exception of a side trail leading to Cunningham Falls in the state park of that name. (Dogs are not allowed on the trail to the falls.) They are wide, blazed and well-maintained but rocky in many parts. The extension to Cat Rock is also in Cunningham Falls State Park (dogs OK here).

Most of this area was clear-cut in the 1800s for making charcoal to fuel nearby Catoctin Iron Furnace. The beginning of the hike follows a self-guiding nature trail, then makes a side trip to Cunningham Falls. Although most of the hiking is through deciduous woods, this area changes abruptly to evergreen upon crossing the road to the falls.

From the falls the trail returns to Catoctin Park and climbs the ridge for the first in a series of rocky overlooks. Hog Rock takes its name from the days of the early settlers when hogs gathered there to eat nuts in the fall. Since this was the ideal time for slaughter, it was very convenient for the farmers to go there to catch their fattened pigs. Next comes Blue Ridge Summit Overlook, then Thurmont Vista Overlook with a view of the town of Thurmont, Wolf Rock, named for a rock formation resembling a wolf's head and Chimney Rock with its rock chimney. The greenish rock formations at Cunningham Falls and along Hog Rock Trail are Catoctin greenstone while those at Wolf and Chimney rocks are Weverton quartzite.

This hike may be lengthened by adding the Cat Rock loop. Cat Rock can also be done as an independent, up- and-back hike of 3 miles.

Travel-Directions- I-495 to 1-270; 1-270 north to US 15 near Frederick, MD; US 15 north to MD 77 near Thurmont; MD 77 west about 3 mi. to Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center on right.

Total Travel Distance- 52 mi.

Trail Data

0.0 Park in lot to left of visitor Center. Follow sign, in far comer of lot, to Cunningham Falls.

1.2 Trail junction and sign for Cunningham Falls; turn left and cross road to falls (No dogs.).

1.4 Cunningham Falls; retrace steps across road and follow sign to Hog Rock.

2.6 Hog Rock Overlook, elevation 1620 ft; Monocacy Valley below. When you leave overlook, bear right. Left fork is self-guided nature trail.

3.1 Cross Park Central Rd and continue through picnic area; pass trail on right and shortly curve to right on well-worn path.

3.4 Side trail goes left to Blue Ridge Summit Overlook.

4.1 Wide cross trail; turn left to Thurmont Vista. (Right goes to Park Central Rd, straight to Visitor Center.)

4.3 Fork in trail; bear right.

4.5 Thurmont Vista Overlook.

5.3 Trail junction; continue straight to Wolf Rock.(Trail right goes to Park Headquarters).

5.6 Wolf Rock; interesting rocks but no view. (Caution.- Deep crevices both he.-e and at Chimney Rock) Return to main trail and turn left.

6.1 Sign to Park Headquarters; continue straight ahead to Chimney Rock with excellent view. Cat Rock is visible on ridge directly opposite. Return to main trail and turn right (sign to Park Headquarters).,

6.5 Sign for MD 77 and Crow's Nest (campground); turn right, downhill.

7.0 Take right trail, uphill, to Park Central Rd. Left goes to Park Headquarters. (See below for extension to Cat Rock.) Ascend ridge and pass turn-off to Wolf Rock.

8.2 Trail junction; follow signs to Visitor Center.

8.7 Visitor Center.

Cat Rock Extension.

This extension adds about 1.9 miles to the mileage and climbs to another outstanding rock outcrop. The 500 ft climb is well-graded and not much more than that required on the above return.

7.0 Turn, downhill, to Park Headquarters.

7.1 Park Headquarters. Cross road to Cat Rock parking area. Ascend yellow-blazed Cat Rock Trail.

8.3 Pass orange-blazed trail. Return here for descent.

8.6 Cat Rock; main overlook immediately to right. North

and South overlooks a few hundred feet on side trails. Retrace steps to orange-blazed trail.

8.9 Turn left and descend steeply on orange-blazed trail.

10.1 Turn right onto Catoctin Hollow Road.

10.6 Turn right onto MD 77 and left into Visitor Center.

E-Mail UsSend mail to rzinn@zinnware.com with comments about this site. 
© 2006 Zinn Enterprises, Inc.