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/.
Very steep and rocky at the onset (it was predominantly rocky throughout...make sure to wear thick-soled hiking shoes) but the reward of Chimney Rock is worth it. Incredible views! Wolf Rock is a cool stopping point too but there's no view from the rocks. Thurmont Vista is a nice view and the rest of the trek back to the visitors center was a gradual down hill walk through the woods. The Catoctin's are beautiful and I look forward to exploring more of its trails.
A really nice trail in the fall! Would definitely rate it more moderate than hard, initial hike up the mountain was definitely steep but not too difficult. Would not suggest climbing chimney rock without good grip shoes, though. Beautiful views, about a 2 1/2 hour trip in and out but we stopped a lot for pictures!
State park authority tries to limit liability by posting signs not to hike on the falls to protect the grasses. Its next to impossible for them to enforce as there are seemingly hundreds on the falls during the weekend. The trail itself is crazy easy to the falls and well maintained. The biggest challenge is avoiding the throngs in flip flops. The upper trail is moderately more difficult but uninteresting save for a couple of rock formations.