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Catoctin Mountain Park

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General Information

Catoctin Mountain Park
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Catoctin Mountain Park
Description - The land that encompasses Catoctin Mountain Park was purchased during the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration site to create a national recreation area. This effort to employ many individuals during the Great Depression developed into Catoctin Mountain Park and Camp David. Camp David is not open to the public, but the eastern hardwood forest of Catoctin Mountain Park has many recreation opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

Attractions - The National Park Service and the Maryland State Forest and Park Service preserve the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains in Maryland. Nearly 6,000 acres give the public and our nation's highest public officials an outdoor haven for refreshment and relaxation. Catoctin Mountain encompasses both federal and state land. Camp David, the Presidential retreat and Cunningham Falls State Park provide outstanding recreation.

Park trails are available for nearly every purpose. Hog Rock, Browns Farm, and Deerfield Nature Trails are self-guiding and nature-oriented and have leaflets at the trailheads. A horse trail is open from April 15 to December 1st. Also, Park Central Road is closed for 2.5 miles from the visitor center for winter recreation mid-December to mid-March.

As you explore the park, notice the varied plant life. You will find chestnut oak, hickory, black birch, and a scattering of other trees. Look to the old mountain valleys now covered with black locust, wild cherry, sassafras, and yellow poplar, and look to the moist areas for red oak, beech, hemlock and ash.

Picnicking is a favorite at Catoctin Mountain Park. Several areas are offered, each with restrooms, tables and fire rings.

Driving the park is enjoyed year-round, with the exception of winter closures for Park Central Road and Manahan Road. The park staff at the visitor center on Route 77 can offer suggestions on routes and times. Travel to Hunting Creek Lake on the east side for a panoramic view of water and woods.

Camping is permitted only in campgrounds, of which there are several with varying operating seasons. Each has restrooms, tables, and fire rings. Group camps are offered, providing excellent outdoor environmental education classrooms.

Hunting Creek Lake is the major water source with several fishing streams enticing trout anglers.

Pets are restricted to Owens Creek Campground and must be leashed. They are not permitted in buildings, or in group camps. Pets are not permitted in developed areas of Cunningham Falls State Park including the campground, picnic groves, or lakeside day use areas.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities abound at this nationally administered site. Camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and scenery viewing are a few of the activities visitors can enjoy at Catoctin Mountain Park. A visitor center with exhibits about the region's human and natural history is a good place to begin your tour of the park. Interpretive programs are offered year-round from the visitor center. There are over 25 miles of hiking trails within the park as well as many scenic drives.

Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

Location - The mountain park is located in Thurmont, Maryland, along Highway 15. It lies in northern Maryland east of Hagerstown and southeast of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Sugarfoot
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Thurmont is within a mile of the park and has several restaurants, including fast-food as well as steam-table buffet. Best trails for a leisurely afternoon - under 3 hours/6 miles - Cat Rock to Bob's Hill doubling back, and the circuit from the Visitor Center to Wolf Den, Piedmont Vista, and Hog Rock. Even on a steamy, 98+ degree day, the trails are mostly shaded, cool and rarely crowded. 'Crowded' means seeing more than four people in a 6-mile circuit. Best aspect: the park's well-preserved history of charcoal-making, WPA, and whiskey. Best times: low-humidity days - the views from Cat Rock and Chimney Rock stretch for miles. Stay in the park boundaries - respect the Camp David perimeter - and part with a few bucks for the donation box in the Visitor's Center.

More Information

Contact Information:
Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road , Thurmont, MD, 21788-1598, Phone: 301-663-9330
, cato_superintendent@nps.gov

Additional Information:
Capital Region - The Capital Region of Maryland is as diverse as the people that inhabit the area stretching from the agricultural lands bordering Pennsylvania and continuing south past the United States Capital City and down into the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Maryland's National Park Service Sites - Maryland has twenty separate parcels of national lands including a battlefield, historic sites, national monuments, woodland parks, canals, and multi-state trail.

Catoctin Mountain Park - Official agency website.
Catoctin Mountain Park - Official agency website


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