Catoctin Mountain Park

Nestled in the heart of  Thurmont, Maryland, Catoctin Mountain Park is a breathtaking destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its majestic mountains and lush forests, it’s no wonder why this park attracts millions of visitors each year. From hiking to fishing and camping, there are plenty of activities to choose from at Catoctin Mountain Park. Take a journey into the serenity of nature with us and discover what makes this park so special.

The Catoctin Mountains span across 8,000 acres of unspoiled land near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Frederick County, Maryland. It’s an area of significant historical significance as well; during World War II it served as the presidential retreat known as Camp David. The landscape consists of thick pine forests, rocky ridges and valleys, streams and waterfalls – all suitable for exploring! From scenic trails to remote campsites, there’s something for everyone here at Catoctin Mountain Park.

In addition to its many recreational opportunities, Catoctin Mountain Park offers unique educational programs that allow visitors to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon adventure or a longer staycation in nature’s beauty – come explore the wonders of Catoctin Mountain Park! One of the many things to do in Thurmont.

Catoctin Mountain Park Location

Catoctin Mountain Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Frederick County, Maryland. It’s just a few miles from the Maryland-Pennsylvania border and about an hour’s drive from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The park is named after Catoctin Mountain, which is part of the easternmost ridge of South Mountain. The park consists of over 8,000 acres of land with many attractions for visitors to enjoy.

The park offers opportunities for camping, picnicking, fishing and swimming at Thurmont Vista Pool. In addition, it offers hiking on 35 miles of trails that wind through forested areas and along streams. Visitors can also explore historic sites such as Camp Greentop and Camp Round Meadow – former Civilian Conservation Corps camps – or take a self-guided tour along roads that lead to scenic views. A visitor center provides information about the park’s history, wildlife and recreational opportunities.

Catoctin Mountain Park offers something for everyone, whether they’re looking for a day trip to explore nature or a weekend getaway full of outdoor activities.


Catoctin Mountain Park has a rich history. It is located in Frederick County, Maryland, and was established in 1936 as a national park. The park’s land was originally part of the Catoctin Iron Furnace industry from 1776 to 1903. The furnace industry was used to produce iron for the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. After the furnace industry closed, the land became part of a farm before it became the national park it is today.

The National Park Service purchased much of the land in 1935 with funds from the Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration. The park was officially established on July 11, 1936 by President Franklin D Roosevelt in an executive order that designated it as “a public recreational area”.

Today, Catoctin Mountain Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, camping and other activities such as fishing and boating. Visitors can also take advantage of educational programming offered by the National Park Service at the visitor center or explore several historic sites located within its boundaries.


Leaving the historical background information of Catoctin Mountain Park behind, let’s look at some of the attractions that make this park a popular destination. From hiking trails and wildlife viewing to historic sites, there is something for everyone in this picturesque park.

The most popular activity in the park is hiking. There are over 30 miles of trails that snake through the lush forest, providing an excellent opportunity to observe native flora and fauna. Some of the more notable trails include Wolf Rock Trail and Thurmont Vista Loop, which provide beautiful views of the surrounding area. The park also offers interpretive programs such as guided hikes and nature walks throughout the year.

Bird watching is another popular activity in Catoctin Mountain Park. With over 100 species of birds calling this park home, it’s an ideal spot for birders looking to add new species to their life lists. The streams and ponds in the park also attract a variety of amphibians and reptiles making it a great place for wildlife observation or just some peaceful contemplation.

The park is also home to several special events throughout the year, including music and theater performances as well as educational workshops and seminars. During the summer months, there are often guided hikes and other recreational activities available for guests. Other popular offerings include stargazing parties, campfire programs, and ranger-led talks about local wildlife.

No matter what type of activity you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone at Catoctin Mountain Park. From outdoor recreation to historic sites to special events, every visitor is sure to find something that suits their interests during their visit.

You can also visit the Catoctin Wildlife Zoo.


Moving on from the activities offered at Catoctin Mountain Park, visitors have several accommodation options to consider. The main option is camping, which offers visitors a chance to explore the park and its natural beauty up close. Campsites are available for tents, trailers, and RVs, with various amenities including fire rings, picnic tables, and restrooms. Campers can stay in the campground year-round and enjoy access to trails and other activities in the area.

Visitors who don’t wish to camp can opt for lodging at nearby resorts or hotels. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms with modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and fitness centers. Guests also have access to restaurants, shops, pools, and other recreational activities that may not be available in the park itself.

For those who want an even more luxurious experience while visiting Catoctin Mountain Park, there are vacation home rentals located near the park’s entrance. These homes come with fully equipped kitchens and all the comforts of home as well as beautiful views of the park’s scenery from their decks or patios. Vacation home rentals provide guests with a peaceful retreat after a long day of exploring nature in Catoctin Mountain Park.

Rules And Regulations

Catoctin Mountain Park is a special place that requires visitors to follow certain rules and regulations. All visitors must abide by the laws of Maryland and Frederick County, as well as federal laws. Additionally, there are certain regulations that are specific to Catoctin Mountain Park.

Visitors must stay on designated trails unless they have received a permit from park staff. Pets must be leashed at all times and waste must be picked up immediately. Campfires are only permitted in designated areas and should not be left unattended. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the park, except in designated picnic areas with a valid permit.

No hunting or trapping is allowed in the park, nor can vehicles drive off-road or damage any vegetation or wildlife habitats. All plants and animals should be left undisturbed. Collecting any type of plant material or animal species is strictly prohibited without prior authorization from park staff. Violation of these rules may result in fines or even expulsion from the park. We ask that visitors respect these regulations while visiting Catoctin Mountain Park so that it remains a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.

Visitor Information

Moving on from the Rules and Regulations, visitors of Catoctin Mountain Park should be informed about the necessary information needed for their visit. The park is open seven days a week from 8am to 5pm, with some exceptions for certain holidays. It’s important to note that pets must remain leashed at all times and are not allowed on any of the trails or in any buildings.

Visitors who are looking to have a picnic in the park must stay within designated areas and remember to keep their area clean while they’re there. Everyone should also be aware that fishing is allowed with a valid Maryland state license.

Depending on what type of activities you plan on doing during your visit, some reservations may be required. For instance, camping reservations must be made ahead of time and are subject to availability. Additionally, some areas of the park may not be accessible due to weather conditions or maintenance closures. For more specific information, it’s best to check the website or contact park staff directly before your visit.

Find Other Things To Do in Thurmont MD

Catoctin Mountain Park Location Map

Things To Do in The DMV

Don't Miss Exciting Things to See and Do in The DMV. Never Be Bored Again