East Hiking Trails

 
Image of CATO East Hiking Trail Blaze Map - Click to Enlarge
Catoctin Mountain Park East Hiking Trail Blaze Map - Click to Enlarge

Whether you're looking for a gentle stroll under the forest canopy, a challenging hike, or a large loop trail, the east side paths of Catoctin Mountain Park have a destination to meet your needs.

BLAZE MAP

WHITE BLAZE (Rectangle) Gateway Trail (Visitor Center to Lewis Property.)
ORANGE BLAZE (Rectangle) Chimney Rock/Wolf Rock/Visitor Center Loop Trail.
YELLOW BLAZE (Rectangle) Cunningham Falls/Hog Rock/Blue Ridge Summit Loop
YELLOW BLAZE (Triangle) Hog Rock Nature Trail
PINK/PURPLE (Rectangle) Thurmont Vista Loop from Thurmont Vista Parking Lot
PINK/PURPLE (Triangle) Charcoal Exhibit Trail
 

Easy Hikes

 
Image of Blue Blazes Trail Guide - Click to Enlarge
Image of Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail Guide - Click to Enlarge

Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail

Distance: 0.6 Miles (Round Trip)
Color Blaze: None
Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Easy


Description: The Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail is accessed from the gravel parking lot across from the visitor center. The trailhead begins just before the wooden footbridge at the northwest corner of the gravel parking lot. As you travel along the Blue Blazes creek, interpretive trailside signs explore stream ecology and the history of whiskey production on Catoctin Mountain during the time of Prohibition. The trail concludes at an actual whiskey still.
 
Image of Charcoal Trail hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Image of Charcoal Trail hiking Guide - Click To Enlarge

Charcoal Trail

Distance: 0.5 Miles (Round Trip)
Color Blaze: Pink/Purple Triangle
Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Easy

Description: This one-half mile loop trail will take you along several exhibits and
displays that will tell the story of the once thriving charcoal making industry on
the mountain. The trail is readily accessible from the Thurmont Vista Parking
Area. The Charcoal Exhibit Trail can also be accessed from the nearby Thurmont
Vista Trail (Blazed Pink/Purple Rectangle) or from the Hog Rock Loop Trail
(Blazed Yellow Rectangle.)

Note: Thurmont Vista Parking Area is closed during the winter season.
 
Image of Hog Rock Nature Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Hog Rock Nature Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Hog Rock Nature Trail

Distance: 1 Mile
Color Blaze: Yellow Triangle
Estimated Time: 45 Minutes (Round Trip)
Difficulty Level of Hike: Easy

Description: An extension of the Hog Rock Loop Trail, the Hog Rock Nature
Trail is most readily accessed from the Hog Rock Parking Area off of Park
Central Road. Picnic tables and a comfort station (pit toilet) are located at this
parking area. As you venture into the woods, labeled posts, which accompanies
a brochure guide (obtained at the trailhead or Visitor Center,) identifies several
features you will discover along the trail. Expect a few small hills, uneven
surfaces, and several rocky features along the hike.

Notes: The Hog Rock Parking Area and comfort station are closed during the
winter season. The Hog Rock formation is a pet-free area.
 
Image of Blue Ridge Summit Vista Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Image of Blue Ridge Summit Vista Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Blue Ridge Summit Trail

Distance: 0.6 Miles (Round Trip)
Color Blaze: Yellow Rectangle
Estimated Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Easy

Description: Part of the much larger Hog Rock Loop Trail (blazed Yellow
Rectangle) the Blue Ridge Summit Vista is most readily accessible from the
Hog Rock Parking Area. Picnic tables and a comfort station (pit toilet) are
located at this parking area. From the Hog Rock Parking area, expect one hill to
climb to reach the mass of boulders that make up the vista area.

Note: The Hog Rock Parking Area and comfort station are closed during the
winter season.
 
Image of VC to Park Headquarters Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Visitor Center to Park Headquarters Hiking Guide  - Click to Enlarge

Visitor Center to Park Headquarters Trail

Distance: 2 Miles
Color Blaze: Orange Rectangle
Estimated Time: 90+ Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Easy/Moderate

Description: This rocky and uneven trail offers several small hills for you to
hike along as you parallel Md. 77 from the Visitor Center to Park Headquarters
and back. Once at Park Headquarters, you could extend your hike by
continuing on the Orange Blaze trail to Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock. Take
note that this section of the Orange Blaze trail is strenuous. Another option
from Park Headquarters is to hike along the White Blazed Gateway Trail to the
Lewis Property.
 

Moderate Hikes

 
Image of Cunningham Falls Nature Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Image of Cunningham Falls Nature Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Cunningham Falls Nature Trail


Distance: 2.8 miles (Round Trip)
Color Blaze: Yellow Triangle
Estimated: 90+ Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Moderate

Description: The Falls Nature Trail is accessed from the gravel parking lot
directly across from the visitor center. The trail begins at the back of the gravel
parking lot on the right hand side and crosses Md. Rt. 77 1.1 miles from the
Visitor Center. The most popular trail in the park, this trail takes visitors to
the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland. Expect multiple hills uneven and
rocky surfaces.

Note: The Cunningham Falls are located within the boundaries of
Cunningham Falls State Park and State Park regulations and guidelines apply
 
Image of Thurmont Vista Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Image of Thurmont Vista Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Thurmont Vista Overlook


Distance: 1 Mile
Color Blaze: Pink/Purple Rectangle
Estimated Time: 45+ Minutes
Difficulty Level of Hike: Moderate

Description: Most readily accessible from the Thurmont Vista Parking Area, the short yet moderately challenging hike will crest the mountain ridgeline at the Thurmont Vista. The Charcoal Exhibit Trail can also be accessed from the nearby Thurmont Vista Trail (Blazed Pink/Purple Rectangle) or from the Hog Rock Loop Trail (Blazed Yellow Rectangle.)

Note: Thurmont Vista Parking Area is closed during the winter season.
 
Image of Thurmont Vista Loop Trail Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge
Image of Thurmont Vista Loop Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Thurmont Vista Loop Trail

Distance: 2.5 Miles
Color Blaze: Pink/Purple Rectangle
Estimated Time: 1 - 1 1/2+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Moderate

Description: This loop is a moderate trail with both uphill and downhill
sections. The maximum elevation reached on this trail/loop is at the Thurmont
Vista Overlook with an elevation of 1499 feet. Expect unven and rocky
surfaces.

Note: The Thurmont Vista Parking Area is closed during the winter season.
 

Strenuous Hikes

 
Image of VC - Chimney Rock - Wolf Rock Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge
Image of VC - Chimney Rock - Wolf Rock Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge

Visitor Center - Chimney Rock - Wolf Rock Loop Trail

Distance: 3.9 Miles
Color Blaze: Orange Rectangle
Estimated Time: 2 1/2+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Strenuous

Description: This loop trail contains the most strenuous sections of trail in the park. Expect uneven and rocky terrain from the river valley areas of the Visitor Center and Park Headquarters as you hike approx. 600 feet in elevation to the mountain ridgeline where Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock are located.

Please use caution when walking along rock surfaces. These areas can be slippery.
Closely supervise children at all times. Watch for rattlesnakes in the areas of Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock. Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, & Hog Rock formations are pet free areas.
 
Image of Visitor Center to Blue Ridge Summit Vista to Hog Rock to Cunningham Falls Trail - Click to Enlarge
Image of Visitor Center to Blue Ridge Summit Vista to Hog Rock to Cunningham Falls Trail - Click to Enlarge

Visitor Center - Blue Ridge Summit Vista - Hog Rock - Cunningham Falls Loop Trail


Distance: 4.6 Miles (Round Trip)
Color Blaze: Yellow Rectangle
Estimated Time: 2 1/2 - 3 1/2+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Strenuous

Description: This loop is a moderate hike with uphill and downhill sections of the trail that include moderate to steep inclines. This trail is the longest loop (without making
any variations) and features Maryland’s largest cascading waterfall at 78 feet and
two stunning vistas. The Hog Rock Vista is the highest elevation overlook on any
of the trails/loops reaching 1610 ft. Expect hills, uneven surfaces, and rocky
terrain along this loop trail. Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, & Hog Rock formations are pet free areas.
 
 Image of VC to Chimney Rock to Wolf Rock to Thurmont Vista Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge
Visitor Center to Chimney Rock to Wolf Rock to Thurmont Vista Hiking Guide  Click to Enlarge

Visitor Center - Park Headquarters - Chimney Rock - Wolf Rock - Thurmont Vista Combined Loop Trail

Distance: 5.3 Miles
Color Blaze: Orange Rectangle AND Pink/Purple Rectangle
Estimated Time: 2 1/2+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Strenuous

Description: This loop trail combines the Orange blaze and Pink/Purple blaze loop trails. The Orange blazed trail will guide you form the Visitor Center - Park Headquarters - Chimney Rock - Wolf Rock. Expect steep hills, rock outcroppings, and uneven surface trail conditions. Once past Wolf Rock, continue on the Pink/Purple blazed trail and you will hike along the ridgeline of Catoctin Mountain to Thurmont Vista. After this point, the trail will lead you down in elevation as it reconnects to the Orange blazed trail.

Please use caution when walking along rock surfaces. These areas can be
slippery. Closely supervise children at all times. Watch for rattlesnakes in the areas of Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock. Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, & Hog Rock formations are pet free areas.

Note: The Thurmont Vista Parking Area is closed during the winter season.
 
Image of 8 Mile Loop Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge
8 Mile Loop Hiking Guide Click to Enlarge

8 Mile Loop Trail

Distance: 8.5 Miles
Color Blaze: Orange Rectangle, Pink/Purple Rectangle, and Yellow Rectangle Combined
Estimated Time: 4+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Strenuous

Description: This loop is a combination of all of the three major loops in the park and completes an 8.5 mile loop. Access this trail from any of these parking lots: Visitor Center, Park Headquarters, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista, or Hog Rock. The loop makes a complete circle back to any of these access points. While hiking this loop visitors will experience Cunningham Falls, Hog Rock, Blue Ridge Summit, Thurmont Vista, Wolf Rock, and Chimney Rock. This loop combines moderate and strenuous trails for a great day of hiking.

Please use caution when walking along rock surfaces. These areas can be slippery. Closely supervise children at all times. Watch for rattlesnakes in the areas of Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock. Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, & Hog Rock formations are pet free areas.

Note: The Thurmont Vista and Hog Rock Parking Areas are closed during winter. The Cunningham Falls are located within the boundaries of Cunningham Falls State Park and State Park regulations and guidelines apply.

 
Image of Gateway Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge
Gateway Trail Hiking Guide - Click to Enlarge

Gateway Trail

Distance: 3.9 Miles
Color Blaze: White Rectanlge
Estimated Time: 2 1/2+ Hours
Difficulty Level of Hike: Strenuous

Description: Accessible from the Visitor Center, Park Headquarters, or from the Lewis Property Parking Area, the Gateway Trail in Catoctin Mountain Park
offers a challenging hike through rocky and hilly terrain. Coming from the Lewis Property Parking Area, one if offered the opportunity to parallel Big Hunting Creek or to summit the mountain near Chimney Rock. Alternatively, the Gateway Trail can lead you off park lands and into the community of Thurmont.

Note: The Lewis Property Parking Area is closed during the winter season.
 
 

Tips for Planning Your Trip

  1. Bring a daypack with food and water. No matter what season, visitors should always bring water when hiking.
  2. Hike with a friend (buddy system). Dogs need to be on leashes at all times.
  3. Wear sturdy hiking shoes. Sandals are not recommended.
  4. Be aware of the weather! Check the weather forecast before you leave your house and plan accordingly (i.e. rain gear if possibility of rain). Wear layers of clothing to add or take off as the weather and your body temperature change.
  5. Be aware of the trail and fauna (such as snakes and bees) on the trails. Avoid deviating from the trail and getting lost. This helps us protect the resources by limiting our impact on the forest. If wildlife is encountered do not taunt, touch or feed, and enjoy watching from a safe distance.
  6. Be very careful at overlooks and rock formations to avoid slips and falls as the rocks can be slippery and the formations have long, deep crevices that can cause injury or death.
  7. Leave No Trace. We are a trash free park. Everything brought in needs to leave with you.
  8. Leave wildflowers and other flora for all to enjoy.
  9. Be aware that cell phones may not work in all areas of the park and many service providers do not work at all. Test your phone for coverage.
  10. If you or someone you are with is injured report it to the first Park Ranger you encounter. (Emergency dispatch phone number: 1-866-677-6677).

Remember, walking/hiking estimated time varies on hiking ability and pace. Finally, have fun, be safe and have an adventure!

Last updated: July 26, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

Phone:

(301) 663-9388

Contact Us