dogs on leash
Catoctin's diverse cultural resources provide several vignettes of our nation's history in one small location. Native Americans quarried rhyolite for the production of lithic tools. A charcoal and iron industry is still visible today, along with smaller industries including farms, sawmills, and an old moonshine still. Historic structures and products of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, along with the site of our nation's first Job Corps Center, are tangible reminders of the capability of vigorous youth programs to strengthen the nation's economic and social fabric. The totality of resources found in Catoctin Mountain Park reflects much of the early fabric of our country. An Historic Resource Study was conducted in March 2000 by Dr. Edmund Werlhe and is available on line for your reference. Catoctin Mountain Park, An Administrative History by Barbara Kirkconnell, February 1988. 578KB, word document. For more information about archeology in Catoctin Mountain Park see http://www.nps.gov/rap/archeology/spotlight_CATO.htm and in the Washington, D.C. area see http://www.nps.gov/rap/.
Nice loop that has multiple viewpoints and interesting rock features. Would definitely rate as moderate instead of hard. The trail is so well maintained that much of it felt like I was walking on a nature trail. Multiple connections with roads meant lots of traffic on the trail. A perfect day hike if you don't have time to spend the whole day on a trail. Also a good place to take friends/family who are not big hikers.
This is one of my favorite hikes in the area! I usually park at the Visitors Center or (if that's full) at the parking lot across from the Park Headquarters, and do the trail counter-clockwise. The steepest parts are going up from the Park Headquarters to Chimney Rock, and then going down from Hog Rock to the falls. There are a number of good overlooks on this loop, including Chimney Rock, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista, and Blue Ridge Overlook. Note that technically you aren't supposed to go into Cunningham falls from this trail, but realistically everyone climbs over the barriers. You can download a detailed map from the NPS Catoctin site- they call it the 8-Mile Loop.