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Catoctin Trail (Blue Trail)

Location The Catoctin Trail runs 26.6 miles along the eastern-most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Frederick County, Maryland 55 miles northwest of Washington, DC and Baltimore.
State(s) Maryland
Counties Frederick
Type Backcountry
Mountain Bike Trail
Length 26.60 Miles / 42.81 Km Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses Bicycling (off pavement)
Boating, non-motorized: Canoeing
Boating, non-motorized: Kayaking
Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Rock Climbing
Snow - Cross-country Skiing
Snow - Snowshoeing
Agency National Park Service
Entry Fee? No Parking Fee? No




photo: Walking Bridge
Walking Bridge

The Catoctin Trail is 26 miles in length and passes through one national park, two state parks, and two municipal watersheds while traversing the eastern most ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Maryland. Portions of this trail were originally designed and constructed by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The Catoctin Trail provides recreation to the Towns of Thurmont and Smithsburg on the north and Frederick, Maryland on the south in addition to serving over three million visitors per year from the Washington Baltimore metropolitan area.

The trail lies within three miles of the Appalachian Trail, crosses a State Scenic Byway, and parallels the Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway. Along its route there are historic districts (Camp Greentop and Camp Misty Mount) as well as historic and prehistoric archeological resources including Indian flint napping sites and Colonial era charcoal hearths. In addition to skirting several lakes the trail also accesses numerous scenic vistas with views of the Monocacy River Valley.

A diverse partnership of all levels of government and non-profits manages a variety of recreational uses along the trail.


Visitor Information

Date Opens: 1/1 - Date Closes: 12/31

Time Opens: Sunrise - Time Closes: Sunset


South trailhead at Gambrill State Park Trailhead: From U.S. 70, exit onto U.S. Route 40 at Frederick, MD. Travel approximately six miles. Turn right onto Gambrill Park Road and follow it approximately one mile to the park entrance.

North Trailhead at Catoctin Mountain Park: Travel 20 miles North on U. S. Route 15 from Frederick, MD. Trailhead is located NW of Catoctin Mountain Park near Mt. Zion Road.


Additional Information

Width: 72 inches.

Primary Surface: Soil

Secondary Surface: Crushed Rock
Rock, boulders
Rock, smooth
Soil, compacted

Average Grade: 6%

Elevation Low Point: 600

Elevation High Point: 1765

Year Designated: 2011

Date Last Updated: 03/06/2013


Contact Information

Trail Management:
J. Mel Poole
Park Superintendent
National Park Service
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont , MD 21788
(301) 663-9330


Related Webpages and Documents

Title Type Link
Trail Sign Document View/Download
NPS - Trail Information Website View/Download



Do you see a problem with this trail data? Contact either the trail manager (listed above) or email


NOTE: The information on this web site and/or in this database is provided for the convenience of the public, trail managers, organizations, elected officials, etc. Neither the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, nor American Trails can guarantee that the information is accurate. Trail users are urged to inquire locally about weather, trail conditions, trail characteristics, fees, and regulations! The information on this web site and/or in this database should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government, and any mention of trade names, commercial products, or businesses does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.




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