hiking, Maryland Parks

Maryland Hikes: Catoctin Mountain Park, the Hog Rock Trail

Since I moved to Maryland 3 years ago, I have been consistently on the look out for hiking spots. When I lived in downtown Baltimore, I had to rely on friends or public transportation, so I mostly explored the parks within Baltimore’s city limits.  Since getting  a car, I’ve been able to branch out into some of Maryland’s state parks. I have to be honest, hiking the pristine and relatively remote Adirondacks has spoiled me for other areas, but Maryland does have some beautiful hiking trails, and a rich historical landscape.

Last year for Christmas, my husband bought us the Falcon Guide to”Hiking Maryland and Delaware”. This  trail guide includes mostly loop day hikes in dozens of parks across the state.  This past weekend, we did a 5 mile loop hike to Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park, which is also the home of Camp David.

The Hog Rock loop hike is one of the most popular hikes in the park, and in my opinion has the best views, as well as some interesting geological formations.  During the Industrial Revolution, many areas of Catoctin Mountain were stripped bare to create charcoal for the Catoctin Iron Furnace. Hikers can stop by the site of an old collier hearth located near the Hog Rock trail, and learn about how charcoal was made from burning trees.

The hikes starts off pretty steep from the visitor center parking lot, but soon evens out. The first view is at Thurmonst Vista Overlook, pictured below.

img_6169Much of the trail is wooded and flat until Thurmont Vista, but after the Vista there are lots of interesting rock formations.Much of the trail is wooded and flat until Thurmont Vista, but after the Vista there are lots of interesting rock formations, like the one shown below.img_6184

Interesting Rock formations- lots of opportunities for bouldering, if you’re into that kind of activity! img_6188

View from Hog Rock. Apparently the rock got it’s name because farmers used to let their hogs roam in the hills all summer to fatten up, and then gather them here at the end of the season.img_6199We made a detour to Cunningham Falls on the way back to the visitor center, but it wasn’t very impressive this time of year. Towards the bottom of the hill, we found some colorful trees though!


Stay tuned for my next post about other hikes in Maryland!



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