Catoctin Mountain Park: The Adventurous Horse Trail! A Moderate 7.2 Mile Hike

  • May 24 · 9:00 AM
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Holiday Weekend Hike on Catoctin Mountain: The Wild and Adventurous and Little Known Horse Trail with Optional Post Hike Lunch!

"The Horse Trail is in a wonderfully secluded section of trails at Catoctin Mountain Park not to be misunderstood with trails that are built for horses. This is a hike on a trail named "Horse Trail", but we humans hike it. But, like most trails, it is probably open to horses as well, but unlikely to see any horses this time of year so come check out this hidden gem of Catoctin Mountain Park that was discovered in our group thanks to Sandy when leading her series of completing every trail in the park...thanks Sandy!

The west side of the park is the wilder side. Adventurous hikers are more likely to see wildlife, wetlands, and an up-close view of nature. Remnants of former farms dot the land. The park's picnic areas, campgrounds, and back-country shelters connect with the trails.

The Catoctin Trail and the Horse Trail dominate the west side where we are hiking today. There are two sections to this trail, the Horse Trail North Loops which is 3.7 miles, and the Horse Trail South Loop which is 3.2 miles. The remaining mileage is the trails we take to reach the Horse Trail bringing the total mileage right at about 7.2 miles.

Trail Information

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Thurmont
Length: 7.2 Total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Hike Time: About 3 hours at a 2.5mph pace
Skill Level: Moderate:
Local Contacts: Catoctin Mountain Park

Trail Notes for Leaders

Weather Information
We hike rain or shine. Click here to see an up to the minute forecast for where we will be hiking.

Carpool Information
There are 3 carpools for this hike!

DC Area Carpool (Centerville Park and Ride)
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride.
Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.

Laurel Area (Savage Station)

Click here for directions to Savage Station. To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station.

32 Park and Ride
There is an additional carpool location for this hike that is convenient to a vast majority of our members.
Click here for directions to the 32 park and ride location.

If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations such as the DC area, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!

Directions to the Trailhead

Click here for directions to where we meetup for this hike.

Hike is at 9:00 a.m.

Carpool time from Savage Park and Ride 7:45 a.m.

Carpool time from Centerville Park and Ride is 7:30 a.m.

Carpool meetup time from 32 Park and Ride is 8:00 a.m.

Optional Post Hike Lunch Information and Menu

We will have an optional hike lunch at Cozy Restaurantas they welcome hikers and have a fabulous buffet for a great price. I will ask for a show of hands of who wants to join us there for a bite mid-way through the hike and contact them with how many will be attending the lunch so you can decide on the trail.

Gear Information

Click here for suggestions for what to wear and what not to wear for our hikes.

Please remember we are a social hiking group that values fellowship and camaraderie and practice good hike etiquette. We take breaks as necessary and have at least one guide in the front in addition to a "sweeper" in the back which helps ensure that no hiker is left behind. If you get upset because someone has to rest at the top of a hill etc. then you need to find another group and there are a lot of great ones out there! We are very supportive, encouraging, and focus on safety while getting or staying fit on the trail and practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

Fido is Welcome on This Hike!

Let's have good times and see you on the trail!

Justin: [masked]

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  • Mike M.

    Hike was a lot of fun. Thanks for leading Justin!

    May 26

  • Heather

    The trail itself has nice elevation to get the heart going. Not too much scenery. But that was easily offset by the amazing conversations. Best group of people yet.

    1 · May 25

  • Heather

    The trail itself has nice elevation to get the heart going. Not too much scenery. But that was easily offset by the amazing conversations. Best group of people yet.

    May 25

  • Kellie C.

    Thanks you, Justin, for spending your first day after finals week and your holiday weekend leading a hike for our group! Also, special thanks for keeping the pace to a moderate, yay!

    May 25

  • Liz F.

    Hi, all -- I'm so sorry to have missed the group! by the time we got to the trail head, the group was out of sight- we had no map, I'd forgotten my trekking poles, I was quite out of breath. We gave up. The problem was that I forgot where the group was meeting -- Friday had forgotten to print out the directions (it was a hectic day!), and my very un-smart "SmartPhone" took far too long to give me the information I needed. Well, if Justin was the hike leader, I probably could not have kept up anyway. So Dale & I went on a hike from the Visitor Center to Cunningham Falls, then up to Hog Rock overlook and around the loop trail back to the Visitor Center and it was a nice hike. I hope you all had fun!

    May 24

  • Devashree

    Anyone driving from Silver Spring or a Red Line Metro location and willing to give a ride? Thanks!

    May 22

    • Chris

      Let's shoot for 7:30ish. It's an hour drive to the meet-up site. I'll be in a light blue Subaru wagon. I'll pull up in front, just where you come up the escalators and exit the station.

      May 23

    • Devashree

      Thanks Chris. I'll be there at 7:30am tomorrow morning.

      1 · May 23

  • Sophia B

    Im leaving from Annandale to ride with Kate from Kingstown area if anyone wants/needs a ride.

    May 23

  • Kate

    I live near Kingstown area and will be picking up a rider in Anniston area. I have room for two more if anyone needs a ride.

    1 · May 23

  • Linda G.

    Hi Heather, Near the King Street Metro.

    May 23

  • Heather

    Linda, I'm leaving from Kingstowne area. Where in Alexandria?

    May 23

    • Linda G.

      Hi Heather, Thank you for responding to my inquiry. Is the King Street Metro convenient for you?

      May 23

  • Linda G.

    Anyone leaving from the Alexandria, VA area I can catch a ride with?

    May 22

    • Chris

      Linda, I can drive you from the Grosvenor red line stop in MD, if you want to hop the Metro.

      May 23

  • Becky

    What is the elevation gain on this hike?

    May 22

  • Becky

    This is a beautiful area. Enjoyed a recent trek to Cat Rock, and would love to go back for the 8 mile loop that includes the Cunningham Falls and Chimney Rock. I made other plans for the 24th tho.

    May 22

  • Chris

    Anyone traveling from Montgomery County?

    May 19

  • Tanya

    Is the after hike venue dog-friendly?

    May 19

21 went

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