Catoctin Mountain Extended Loop Trail is a 8.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Thurmont, Maryland that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This loop is a combination of all of the three major loops in the Catoctin Mountain Park, totaling 8 miles and including Cunningham Falls, Hog Rock, Blue Ridge Summit, Thurmont Vista, Wolf Rock, and Chimney Rock. Ranges from an easy walk to a challenging uphill hike, but the beautiful vistas make it well worth the effort. The park also has many interesting geological formations and wildlife. The trail is very rocky in many areas.
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.
It took us too long to finish because we made several stops, but it was very pretty. I would say it's fairly a moderate to easy hike. Jumping across the gap at Chimney Rock was the only real challenge for me.
it was great
Very nice trail. Perfect for Saturday hike. The whole loop takes around 4.5h.
Beautiful hike to some really nice vistas. The clockwise loop from the Visitor Center seemed to be a more gradual climb.