Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park

Things To Do

Catoctin Mountain Park offers a variety of experiences. You may wish to start your visit at the park Visitor Center and ask our rangers about different hikes and camping options. Pick up a park map and discover some of Catoctin's many treasures.

Horse Trails

Approximately 6 miles of trails are maintained in Catoctin Mountain Park for public horseback riding.

The trail is open for day use only, from April 15th through January 31st and is closed in the winter to help preserve the trail.

The park does not supply mounts and the nearest rental facility is in Gettysburg, PA which would require trailering to the Park.

Public riding is not permitted on any trails in the park other than the designated public horse trail. Cross country travel, the cutting of switchbacks, and the use of other public areas is prohibited.

The horse trail can challenge the abilities of all riders, novice to competitive trail rider. Riders are surrounded by the beauty of the eastern hardwood forest and will experience creek crossings, rugged mountain terrain, and may also capture a glimpse of wildlife while on the trail.

An informational brochure indicating trail access and trailer parking area may be obtained by telephoning (301) 663-9388 or by stopping in at the park visitor center.

Orienteering

The basic orienteering course is located near the Park visitor center and consists of 10 points, the first six points constitute a loop of approximately 1.5 miles which was designed for the beginner. An additional 4 points designated on the map with letters are to challenge the orienteerer as their skill level increases.

The second course, known as the west side course, is located within the area bounded by Park Central Road, Manahan Road, and Foxville-Deerfield Road. This course consists of nine numbered points, which when successfully completed form a walk of approximately 1.5 miles.

If you are experienced in orienteering and wish to practice your skills, the park maintains the two courses that are available for public use from November 1st through April 15th. The courses are closed the rest of the year in order to lessen the impact on forest vegetation and wildlife. The courses are used on a first-come, first-served basis if no advance reservations are made.

Groups may use the courses independently between November 1st and April 15th. a written request prior to the group's arrival should be directed to:

Catoctin Mountain Park
c/o Chief Ranger
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788-1598

This assures that multiple groups will not be using the course at the same time.

Rock Climbing

A rock climbing permit may only be issued for Wolf Rock. All other areas within the park are closed to rock climbing and rappelling.

The permittee may call the Visitor Center up to 5 days in advance to make a reservation for rock climbing groups. The party will pick up and sign the permit on the day they are scheduled to climb. Walk in permits are issued depending upon site availability. Climbing helmets are required. Climbing is permitted 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Limit of 25 people total (families, individuals), or 1 organized group not to exceed 25 member.

Permits are not issued on weekends in October due to high visitation parkwide and are not issued during snow/ice conditions or when conditions appear to be unsafe for climbing. The National Park Service will be held harmless from any claim or liability resulting from the permitted use of the area. Climbers may be required to reimburse the United States Government for search, rescue and recovery in the case of accident or other emergency.

Fishing

BIG HUNTING CREEK has played a prominent role in the development of recreational trout fishing in Maryland. The stream has long been popular among fly fishermen. It is the birth place of the "Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock," an organization dedicated to helping young people understand and appreciate the sport of angling and the resources upon which it depends. Big Hunting Creek was first in the State of Maryland to be designated as a FLY FISHING ONLY stream. Later it became Maryland's first CATCH AND RETURN trout stream.

Anglers will find brook, brown, and rainbow trout in Big Hunting Creek. All three species spawn in the stream.
BIG HUNTING CREEK REGULATIONS:

  • Maryland fishing license and trout stamp are required.
  • All trout caught must be released.
  • A person may NOT use or possess any natural bait, baitfish, fishbait, scents or natural or synthetic devices capable of catching fish except artificial flies or streamers.
  • Only artificial flies and streamers constructed in a normal fashion using natural and/or synthetic materials on a single hook with the components wound on or about the hook.
  • A person may fish only with conventional fly fishing tackle. The use of spinning, spincast, and casting reels is prohibited.
  • Fly fishing is permitted throughout the year.

Consult the Maryland Sportfishing Guide for specific details.

OWENS CREEK FISHING REGULATIONS:

Put and Take Trout Fishing Area is mainstream from Raven Rock Road downstream to Roddy Road.

  • Maryland fishing license and trout stamp are required.
  • Fish only in specified seasons, check the Maryland Sportfishing Guide.
  • Fishing with bait is permitted.
  • Keep only 2 trout per day while fishing on park property.