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Hiker Comments for the Catoctin Trail Hike - 1 to 14 of 14   
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By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 3, 2017
Great route for (older) kids getting started in backpacking. Took my 10 yr old son and boyfriend down this trail (we did SOBO and started at Catoctin). We are fortunate to have a family member who lives on the trail just off Catoctin Hollow Rd so we were able to cut this hike almost exactly in half. Great trail! We are planning on doing this again during Spring break.

By: James H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 8, 2017
Myself and two other friends hiked the whole trail from Gambrill State Park to Catoctin Mountain National Park. It was a great hike and this guide does a great job guiding you through it. They really need to put a bridge over Little Hunting Creek right as you cross into Cunningham Falls State Park. The creek was really high and walking to HWY 15 is the last thing you want to do after hiking 16 miles from Gambrill. We were pleasantly surprised with the Manor Campground. Can't wait to go again when there's more leaves on the trees.

By: Zach Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 30, 2016
This was my first backpacking experience. I actually did it in 2 nights and days, since I spent Friday night car camping in Gambrill State Park. It was rough, and the weather wasn't the best, but it is a great trail. While it is all walking through a forest, there are lots of variations in scenery and the trail itself. Parts of it are very flat and open, while others are very rocky. There were some pretty ponds and a couple of great views. I strongly recommend checking this out if you want a good backpacking experience. However, you would have to be in amazing shape to try this in one day.

By: Andy D. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 20, 2015
Have not hiked the whole trail, but have section-hiked certain sections of the trail. The trail is similar to the Appalachian Trail yet more remote. But, the Catoctin Trail can be combined with other trails in several places to make nice day hikes. Most notably in Gambrill State Park, south or north from the Manor Area to White Rocks or Bob's Hill and Cat Rock both in Cunningham Falls State Park, and combining with the Horse Trail and Deerfield Nature Trail in western Catoctin Mountain Park is nice as well. Most recently I did the hike to White Rocks from the Manor Area of Cunningham Falls SP. The trail can be accessed southbound from the furtherest parking lot in the Manor Area through the fisherman's access along Little Hunting Creek. Head upstream and you run into the blue blazed stream crossing in less than 100 yards. This avoids the extra distance and going uphill then down again to the stream crossing if you access via Bob's Hill Trail from the upper parking lot. Surprised White Rock/Thurmont Overlook isn't listed as a day hike with Cunningham Falls SP. Its the very southern end of State Park property just before the Catoctin Trail enters Frederick Watershed property.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, September 8, 2014
I hike the Catoctin Trail every year in September since 2010 as a scouting hike for PATC to assess trail conditions and to record and inform the Club of blowdowns to be cleared. It's a nice day hike for a long distance hiker and usually take me around 9 hours.

By: Kevin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 31, 2014
A friend and I hiked the whole trail over 2 days.  While the 16 miles didn't seem too bad, the amount of rocks on the trail really tore our feet up.  We started at 8:00AM and did the 16 miles in about 9 hours and made it to the Manor camping area with plenty of light left to set up camp and find some fire wood.  If you camp at Manor, ask them for site #31 (close to the water, bathrooms and the trail).  We slept well and decided to hike on starting at about 10:00 on Sunday morning.  We finished the last 12 miles in about 7.5 hours (with plenty of breaks).  The 2nd day was certainly tougher, but the actual terrain is a little better - still a lot of rocks, but less inclines.  The 'steady incline' for the last mile is more like a hill, it was pretty steep at points. 

Overall this hike is enjoyable.  There are a few good rest areas with excellent views of the valleys below and plenty of beautiful wooded areas to take in.  Be sure to plan ahead, practice hiking and be prepared for lots of rocks.  The trail was easy to follow as it is marked well and there are plenty of blue blazes.  There were a few points where we didn't see one for 30 minutes or so, but there were no other intersecting trails - best to take a good map too.  There are some good maps of the area online which can be printed.  We also recommend trekking poles, we split a pair between us which was enough.  But without one pole each, we both would have fallen a few times. 

HOK on!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, July 4, 2013
this has got to be one of my favorite trails...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 19, 2013
I completed the hike today - started at 0530 this morning and ended around 5 this afternoon. The streams are running fast and over flowing so be careful. There are many places were the blazes disappear - make sure you a good map and confident in your skills. Definitely will attempt this hike again and aim for a better completion time.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 20, 2013
2 friends and I accomplished this hike this past weekend. We camped at Gambrill's Friday evening to get an early start Saturday morning. Our plan was to be hiking by 6am, but we didn't start until 7am. We were carrying about 40lbs on our backs and could have shaved a few pounds in hindsight.

Because the Cunningham Falls Manor camp area was closed due to Hurricane Sandy damage, we had to reach the Houck Camp area instead. This added on about 6miles to our first day. We maintained a 2mph pace for most of the hike. At 7.5 miles, going through the pond wasn't an option and I don't think walking around it really added that much distance. It appeared there was a small path that followed the pond around rather than following the blazes. At 11.9miles, the gate has now been painted red, not yellow.

Crossing Little Hunting Creek at 16.9mi was the most difficult crossing on the trail. The creek was running quickly and fighting time, we attempted to cross over a couple of fallen trees than to walk down to the road and then back up. The hike up to Bob's Overlook was VERY challenging after a long day. We eventually made it up and the view was very rewarding. The downhill seemed to take much longer than it should have and we were fighting daylight. We eventually had to put on headlamps to complete the decent.

We didn't attempt to venture down to Hunting Creek because it was dark at this point and the creek sounded like it was running faster than Little Hunting Creek. We took the road over to the camp area. It is a rather long and steep hike just up to the ranger station/check in. Luckily, we had informed both parks of our plan to do the hike and to camp here for the night, so they were happy to see us and expecting us at 8:30pm that evening. We got a ride to the camp store and to our camp site by the ranger. The staff was so very friendly and we greatly appreciated it. The camp store closes at 9pm by the way. The hike to our camp site would have probably taken at least 30-40min to do by foot at that point.

Sunday morning we got up and set out by 11am. We stayed at the Bear Branch site since it had easy access to the trail by way of a cut through. It might have been a lack of sleep/energy, but when we came to the intersection for Catoctin, we went to the right, when we should have gone LEFT. We lost about 1.5hrs in time after doubling back up the hill to the intersection again. The rest of the hike wasn't too bad. There is another 1mi climb just before the end but it wasn't as bad as Bob's Overlook.

In all, this was a great time. The weather was perfect and I'd do it again.

By: Kumar Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 23, 2012
Since this is not a circuit hike, I initially planned to do half the trail and back on one day and do the same from the other end on the next. However, the days being so short at this time of year threw a spanner in the works especially as Gambrill Park does not open until quite late in the morning. I hiked from the Mt Zion Rd trailhead to Bob's Hill overlook and back. Must say this portion of the trail was a disappointment: hardly any views (the overlook is an incredible disappointment, truly worthy of being overlooked) and the creeks were no more than trickles. Probably a better experience at a different time of the year. I only saw 2-3 other souls on the trail all day, and only on a brief stretch in Cunningham Falls Park. Good workout, I hope to do the other half of the trail soon if daylight permits. The directions on this page are incredibly detailed!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, August 12, 2012
I did this as an overnight out-and-back hike, starting Sunday at Gambrill State Park, camping at Cunningham Falls State Park (Manor Area), and returing Monday via the same route.  At around 17 miles each way this was my longest hike so far, and also was my first overnight.  The first three miles are the roughest and steepest part, the rest of the trail varies from "rough" to "medium", with a few smooth parts thrown in.  Lots of 3 and 4-way intersections, so a good map is recommended.  The section between Hamburg Road and Fishing Creek Road had relatively few blazes.  White Rock offers a nice view to the east and was a nice resting spot.  The Manor Area Campground was clean and pretty empty on Sunday night.  It has drinking water, rest rooms, but being close to Rt. 15 there is a lot of traffic noise.  The return leg was more difficult for me, given back-to-back 17 mile days carrying 36 pounds with not much sleep in between.  Saw lots of mountain bikers and a few hikers on Sunday, but not a single soul on Monday.  I'm glad I did this, and look forward to more overnight hike!

By: Gavin Berryman Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, August 26, 2011
After hiking 3 miles after the trail's end( 27.9 miles, which I hiked the first 16 miles with my 56yr 0ld father (who loves the outdoors) I was proud of him to say the least, Giving a guy that has hiked the grand canyon...much respect to out do him..haha.. It gave me a appreciation of nature and the solitude people need to realize who they are....

By: Gavin Berryman Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, August 22, 2011
Hiked the catoctin Trail on 8/22/11. I did the whole trail as a 2 day backpack...First day hiked from Gambrill too Houk area campground are in Cunnigham falls...This was a 22 mile trip the first day...Hiking through mountain tops and some beautiful overlooks, streams, mountain tops and ponds.....White rock was worth the whole trip with its amazing view on a clear day...Bob's Hill Overlook was weak to say the least and the hardest trek of the trip. Camped at the William Hock Area of Cunnigham St Park....If you follow this formula the second day wil be easy and only a 6mile trek....Please take the time to take this journey, it is well worth it...

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2011
totally awesome hike!   The terrain was fairly difficult, but not too bad.  The views were nice and the stream crossings were fun.

We did this hike to raise awareness for a few groups thats support abused and neglected children - Voices for Children,, and the National Center for Children and Families.   

1 Voice Trekking had 29 folks hike the trail and I was able to hike with Bryce Allison who mapped out the trail for HU.  It was a great day - sunny and clear.  The only thing I can say about this hike is that it was nice to rest at the base of Bob's Hill around mile 15 before hitting it hard.  The various stream crossings were fun and the ponds were clear and beautiful - if you go in the summer come prepared to take a dip (I'm told it is glorious).  The trail is rocky at times, but not so much in others.  It was easier terrain than the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, which is only a few miles away.  Wear boots with a foot guard - Keens are great for that.  Toward the later stages you will kick a few rocks as your legs get tired.

Hiking a longer distance is more mental than physical.  And on the physcial side, structural wear is more of an issue than lack of cardio.  Had a great time!  thank you Bryce and HU!!  This was a great hike (no Old Rag of course! ha!)

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