Catoctin Mountain National Park and Cunningham Falls State Park — Featuring McAfee Falls, Hog Rock, Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, and Thurmont and Blue Ridge Vistas! A Moderate-to-Strenuous 8-Mile Hike
Rugged climbs mixed with a couple of easy strolls typify the diversity on the 25 miles of trails through the 5,770-acre park, located on the easternmost ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today's hike in these two parks includes several overlooks including Hog Rock, the highest point, and Chimney Rock, the most challenging ascent (no worries, as the reward at the top, is a rest stop which also happens to be a magnificent view). Additionally, we will enjoy Wolf Rock and the Thurmont and Blue Ridge Vistas.
Oh, did I mention the spectacular McAfee/Cunningham Falls? In this one hike, you can visit a splendid waterfall, enjoy a spectacular view of the Monocracy watershed, and find an intimate cross ridge at Catoctin’s summit and South Mountain, all while wandering through a second-growth, almost-old-growth-again, hardwood forest.
Our hike plan for this modified loop/circuit hike combines moderate and strenuous trails for a great day of hiking. Bring your camera, something to snack on along with plenty of hydration, and enjoy these exciting and beautiful vistas to capture a moment or several, that will leave a lasting impression on your mind, body, and soul for a long time to come. Enjoy!
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Thurmont
Scenery: Wooded uplands, waterfalls, sweeping vistas from overlooks
Elev. Gain: 1,500 feet
Length: 8 Total miles
Trail Type: Loop
Trail Surface: Mostly rocky or sandy; some boardwalk, pavement, grass, quite rooty.
Skill Level: Moderate due to length, but has well-graded hiking paths. Hills are rather short, yet vigorous climbs.
Local Contacts: Catoctin Mountain Park (National Park Status) and Cunningham Falls State Park
Facilities: Visitor center has a bookstore and restrooms. There is a picnic area, campground, and cabins. The park headquarters has toilets. There is also water near Hog Rock.
Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee.
Click Here (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/gear-information.html) for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain or shine. Click Here (http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Catoctin-Mountain/forecasts/100) to view the mountains forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to maintain an average moving pace of ~ 2.5 mph. This speed is frequently used in popular hiking publications to represent the pace of an average hiker. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here (http://www.meetup.com/Maryland-Hiking/pages/RSVP_Rules_and_Etiquette/) to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here (http://www.meetup.com/Maryland-Hiking/pages/Carpool_Directions_for_Savage_Station/) for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here (http://www.meetup.com/Maryland-Hiking/pages/Directions_to_Centerville_Park_and_Ride_Carpool/) for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.
Columbia Area Suggestion - Broken Land Pkwy and Rt. 32 Park and Ride
To carpool or caravan from the Columbia area, people can arrange to meet at the Broken Land Parkway and Rt. 32 Park and Ride. Click Here (http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Hiking-Group/pages/Dir.%3A_Broken_Land_Parkway_and_Rt._32_Park_and_Ride/) for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Broken Land Parkway and Rt. 32 Park and Ride location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here (http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Hiking-Group/pages/Suggested_Carpool_Locations/?name=Suggested_Carpool_Locations) for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment — by just offering a ride!
Optional Post Hike Meal and Camaraderie
We will have an optional post hike meal at nearby Mountain Gate Restaurant (next door to the now-defunct Cozy restaurant). The Mountain Gate is renowned for their delicious homemade cooking, fresh baked goods, catering, and unique gift shops. Click Here (http://mountaingatefamilyrestaurant.com/) for additional restaurant information, including their menu. The address for the restaurant is 133 Frederick Road, Thurmont, Maryland. All who want to join us for a fantastic post hike meal and camaraderie are welcome. We will convoy over together, or you are welcome to meet us at the restaurant.
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions (http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Hiking-Group/pages/Directions_to_Catoctin_Moutain_Park_Visitor_Center/) to Where We Meet for this Hike
Meet & Greet and Sign-In — 8:45-8:55 a.m.
The Hike is at 9:00 a.m.
Carpool Time from Savage Station — 7:45 a.m.
Carpool Time from Centreville Park and Ride — 7:30 a.m.
Carpool Time from 32 Park and Ride — 8:00 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/hike-and-trail-etiquette.html)and Leave No Trace (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/leave-no-trace.html) principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer (http://www.meetup.com/Mid-Atlantic-Hiking-Group/pages/9595722/How_To_Join_Our_Leadership_Team!/) as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/). Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/mahg-charity.html) and donations ARE tax deductible (https://midatlantichikinggroup.networkforgood.com/projects/17107-fall-into-hiking-for-health). Tax ID:[masked] (http://midatlantichikinggroup.org/mahg-charity.html).
A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Let’s have fun out on the trails and see you there.
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