Catoctin Trail (Blue Trail)

The 26 mile long Catoctin Trail is located along the eastern portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western Maryland. Hikers experience stunning vistas, and freshwater streams including Maryland's largest cascading waterfall.

photo: Walking Bridge

Length: 26.60 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry, Mountain Bike Trail
Agency: National Park Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? 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

     Rock Climbing, Hunting Any

See more details.


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
Longitude: -77.47715
Latitude: 39.63394

Driving Directions

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.


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.

Additional Details

Width: 72 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: Crushed Rock
Rock, boulders
Rock, smooth
Soil, compacted

Average Grade: 6%
Maximum Grade: 12%
Elevation Low Point: 600
Elevation High Point: 1,765
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available

Year Designated:

Supporting Webpages and Documents

Document: Trail Sign
Website: NPS - Trail Information

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

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



No additional photos are available.


Local hiker

Best kept secret for a fun and challenging hike for all ages. Highly recommend! Beautiful wooded scenery, streams, vistas and Catoctin animal life.

February 15, 2022



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