High Knob - Catoctin Mountain Loop, Gambrill State Park

Frederick, Maryland

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5 Reviews
3 out of 5
A circuit along and beside the ridge of Catoctin Mountain through mature hardwood forest, offering excellent views east and west. This hike along Catoctin Mountain offers plentiful, sweeping views north and west of South Mountain, home of the Appalachian Trail. On the hike’s return on the east side of the ridge are scenes of the Monocacy River watershed. The views west are slightly marred by the distant sounds of I –70, which passes below about 3 miles to the west. But the sounds on the east side of the ridge are more likely to be those of woodpeckers and barred owls.
Hiking Maryland & Delaware

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Maryland & Delaware

by David Edwin Lillard (Falcon Guides)

A circuit along and beside the ridge of Catoctin Mountain through mature hardwood forest, offering excellent views east and west. This hike along Catoctin Mountain offers plentiful, sweeping views north and west of South Mountain, home of the Appalachian Trail.

On the hike’s return on the east side of the ridge are scenes of the Monocacy River watershed. The views west are slightly marred by the distant sounds of I –70, which passes below about 3 miles to the west. But the sounds on the east side of the ridge are more likely to be those of woodpeckers and barred owls.

©  David Edwin Lillard/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Frederick
Distance: 5
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Gambrill State Park
Local Maps: USGS Frederick, Maryland
Driving Directions: Directions to High Knob - Catoctin Mountain Loop, Gambrill State Park

Recent Trail Reviews

2/7/2009
1

We visited on 2/7/09 and again on 2/14/09. If the text description is read and the hikers use their common sense this hike is logical and beautiful. First cross the road after parking. The trail head is ACROSS the Gambrill SP Road you just drove on. Second when the hikers arrive at the intersection of trails you'll notice Yellow continues straight. If you take this you'll miss all the nice overlooks. You need to go RIGHT and uphill following Green/Black. When you get to the picnic pavillion as mentioned in the trail description you'll notice Green goes straight but you need to go left onto the Orange trail which used to be Yellow trail (you'll see old Yellow marks here and there). The Orange trail will take you behind the Tea Room (also mentioned in the trail description). Follow this. The trail will again have an intersection. Go straight staying on Yellow. Right goes to the road. Left goes to the Yellow trail you'd have taken if you'd missed all the nice overlooks I mentioned earlier. There is a point where Yellow continues but a Yellow/Black goes to the right crossing Gambrill SP Road just after a stone overlook. Follow this. When Black splits to the right stay on Black. When you get to the dirt/cart road turn left onto Green. At the Blue/Black or Green T turn left to Blue/Black and follow it to Yellow which will take you to the parking lot. If you want a shorter hike do not turn left to Blue/Black but continue straight onto Green. Pretty nice hike and simple. It would be hard to get lost here. Just use common sense and be prepared (water, etc.). Have fun!


8/3/2008
2

Several people on our group hike had a difficult time locating the trailhead. The trail was poorly if at all blazed a times. The view was outstanding though so I would help volunteer to maintain this trail so it can be continued to be used in a less stressful manner:) The hike was great but not for beinggers due to large rocks and again, poor markings. Hope someone will maintain this trail. As I said, contact me and I will help as I enjoy maintaining the trails I use:) I will post some pics from our trip!


6/1/2008
0

Other than the views the hike isn't worth it. The place is full or roads and parking lots. You don't feel like your really hiking.


7/14/2007
0

This is a fairly easy trail to hike with good views to both the East and West of the park. I did find the blazes to be a bit confusing and didn't the didn't match up with the guide. Follow the turns in the guide, but don't rely on the colors. The map in the guide is also out of date, the park has added an additional section of the yellow trail that is about 2.5 to 3 miles long and does not take you to the blue trail. The map in the guide book does not leave the yellow trail before it intersects with the blue (catoctin) trail. The actual yellow trail no longer follows along the power lines, so when you first meet up with the power lines after crossing Gambrill Park Road follow the guide book, not the map, and dont follow the yellow blazes across the utility corridor. The utility corridor should take you to the section of the yellow trail that will intersect with the blue trail. Besides that mix-up I enjoyed the trail, and after doing the additional 2.5 miles or so in the Yellow Upper Loop, I did the trail in about 3 hours. I didnt find anywhere to refill on water for me or my dog, so bring plenty with you. There's plenty of shade from the trees but it can get pretty hot. The trail also has some sections that are very rocky, so I would advise wearing shoes that have good ankle support. I'll try to post back again later after doing the trail correctly and post how long it took me. As for the overlooks, they are technically closed at dusk, but I definitely recommend checking them out at night, they provide excellent views and the lights of Frederick are quite remarkable.


6/15/2004
0


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