Rock Climbing

Climbing safety gear
Safety Climbing Gear

VIP John Zuke

Catoctin Mountain Park is a place of geologic and natural beauty. Visitors have enjoyed the rock formations here for many years, through a variety of recreational activities. These activities include hiking, scrambling, bouldering, and climbing. The park’s beautiful rock faces are an irreplaceable resource. To make sure you have a great experience and ensure that those after you do as well, please review the following guidelines, rules, and regulations.

Participation Guidelines

Bouldering and Climbing at Catoctin Mountain Park have become increasingly popular. The following guidelines have been developed to help protect park resources and ensure visitors will be able to continue to participate in these activities in the future. Participation in any park activity is at your own risk.

  • Roped climbing is permitted only at Wolf Rock.
  • The use of permanently fixed equipment is not permitted.
  • Climbing activities are only allowed during daylight hours.
  • Activities should only be conducted with the proper equipment and when conditions are safe.
  • Equipment should not impede travel on established trails or damage natural features. Place equipment that is not in use on durable surfaces when possible.
  • Vegetation should not be removed to “clean” or improve a route.
  • Commercial use and/or use by guiding services requires commercial use authorization. Email
  • Stay on designated trails whenever possible.
  • Park in designated areas only.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles.

A coiled dark brown and tan rattlesnake on a rock.
The Timber Rattlesnake is one of two venomous snake species found in Maryland.

NPS Photo/John Zuke


Be aware of snakes as their habitat includes rocky areas. Copperheads and Timber Rattlesnakes can be found at Catoctin Mountain Park, and both species are venomous. They will not openly attack and will only strike when threatened or provoked. Please respect their habitat and maintain a safe distance. All wildlife at Catoctin Mountain Park is protected by law.


Roped climbing is allowed only at Wolf Rock. The following activities are prohibited:

  • The placement of bolts, pitons, or any fixed or permanent anchors.
  • Chipping, gluing, or drilling.
  • Leaving climbing equipment or ropes unattended.
  • Using non-climbing specific hardware (i.e. concrete anchors, home-made equipment).
Trees as Anchors:
  • Anchoring on trees is permitted at Wolf Rock if the equipment does not cause physical damage to trees or plants.
  • Equipment must keep bark, lichen, and branches intact and unharmed.


Bouldering is allowed at most rock outcroppings throughout the park.
  • Prevent damage to natural vegetation by placing crash pad in a location that does not require removal of, or cause damage to, native plant life.
  • Make sure your equipment does not obstruct trails.
  • Place equipment that is not in use on durable surfaces where possible.
  • Remove chalk and tick marks when you are done or use natural colored chalk.
A map of the east side of catoctin mountain park showing trails with colored boxes representing bouldering and climbing areas.
Green boxes represent preferred bouldering areas. 
Purple box represents Wolf Rock, the area where roped climbing is permitted.
Red boxes represent sensitive areas, please do not climb in these areas. 

Last updated: December 18, 2021

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6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788


301 663-9388

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