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2 days ago

We started at NORTH end of trail - only completed 1.7 miles out and back (3.4 Miles round trip). Beautiful, peaceful trail - only passed one other hiker! Trail is very well marked, just look for blue blazes carefully on switchbacks. Trail very "technical" in spots. We both had poles which were helpful but not required. At 1.7 miles in, GREAT "rocktop" view of the river valley! NOTE - at about 1.2 miles in there is a stream crossing - just look upstream for trail markers. North end - we parked right at entrance to trail - not sure if this was a parking area, but no issues.

2 days ago

Counter clockwise is the way to start. very steep up hill. About 6 Creek crossings. Lots of trekking through the creeks. Orange trail becomes blue, it is part of the loop.

4 days ago

We chose to start the trail at the end of this route because the otter camp personnel mentioned some of the trail was washed away if your started the trail at the campground.

This trail is not for those who are new to hiking. I would NOT recommend bringing dogs or kids.

As this was our first true hike, we probably shouldn’t have started with mod/hard trail.

1. The trail was marked very well, except one spot noted in the con section, which made it easy to follow.
2. If you’re concerned about water sources, as of today (sep 2018) there were so many many spots to get water you shouldn’t let that worry you. In the 7ish miles we made it through there were 3-4 spots to stop to get water. But you will need a purifier.

1. At one spot the trail enters a wooded area and we spent at least 30-45 min just trying to get back to the trail. Thankfully someone placed quite a number of blue blazes but it was rather disheartening to be turned around. Really glad I had this app to help work as a compass.

2. Spiderwebs. Everywhere.

3. The switchback we experienced was dreadful.

4. Spiderwebs. Did I mention those?

5. If you have a plan to stay the night in a tent this also doesn’t seem to be the trail to do that as most of the trail is on the edge of a hill or washed away. We did find one spot that had promise but would have to have backtracked to get there.

6. Spiderwebs.

Overall. Not a bad first hike but we decided to bail around mile 6-7 and caught an Uber back to our car. I think took too big of a bike this first hike, so the next couple will be shorter and a lot easier.

Definitely a HARD trail!!!!

4 days ago


Lots of fun, walk counter clockwise( towards sand spring trail first) then you can go down the steep section.

beautiful views

15 days ago

We'd read many of the previous reviews and were ready for the "physical" hike. The beginning is an easy walk in the woods. When we got to the boulders the hike turned fun although we watched where we were stepping. At approx 1 mile we saw 4 very pretty (my wife doesn't agree) copperheads within 3 feet of the trail. Being from northern New England, where we don't worry about snakes, we chickened out and turned around. The trail is gorgeous so we vowed to go back in cold weather.

17 days ago

Nice loop with hills and stream crossings. The lower section hugs the river and has some cool rock croppings to climb over. Most of the trail was pretty wide open with a few sections very over grown, like hiking a single track deer path. The river section was fun and I will decently be back.

To many steps

This hike was a lot of fun and had its challenges! The Catoctin Mountain Extension trail is actually a combination of trails that loop around a majority of park. If you want more of a challenge, definitely go counterclockwise (starting with Chimney Rock). If you have any questions, the park employees are very friendly! Only gave it 4 stars because of the views aren’t to die for, but still very beautiful overall.

Lots of parking and signs so you know where you're going. Trail is fun, very steep but a good workout and worth it for the views. My dogs loved it. My only advice is to please be aware that there are others trying to get photos at the top too. There's one fantastic photo spot where everyone wants to get some pics, so please don't sit down for 15 minutes while groups wait to see the view and snap their own pics.

23 days ago

Read this for directions.

Really great hike! Be very careful around the sunny areas on the rocky outcrops I saw a timber rattlesnake and two copperheads on one visit! They are usually on the rock crevices and under shady areas!!

One of my favorite Trails for sunrise

This was a fun trail. Definitely not as hard as the label would make it out to be.

30 days ago

Great trail. Very low traffic, as in, I saw zero other hikers during my visit. Not great of you are looking for the payoff of picturesque views, but perfect for an afternoon in the woods. Some nice water along the way to cool off in. Pick another trail if you don't want to get wet.

1 month ago

great trail, well kept, but it is a workout. bring plenty of water.

Me and my Girlfriend just visited this trail over the weekend. It was something she found, sp we decided to have our first ever runaway together.
We are in our (young 40's). I have to say it's a work out. I like to say the first 200 to 300 step will kick your butt for some reason but after that it seemed easier.
Great views from on Top.
I recommend after completing the "Thousand Steps" to go a bit more.
you can take a Right to check out some of the Rocks on the side of the hill but if you take a Left and head down to the building on the trail "It was used to service the Train on the Railroad" continue pass the building heading up to "Look out 5" if I remember.
You will get to the very top and look over the Valley.
You can't miss it, There is an old Railroad tie in the ground.
This spot makes it worth the climb.
My girlfriend counted on the way down for our trail hike. 1,143 steps... So, if you do the Thousand... What's a few more steps..
You'll be hurting with or without the extra steps.

1 month ago

Beautiful, well maintained trails

Great hike. If you take the left trailhead it’s about a mile uphill. Good workout. Great bouldering at wolf rock and beautiful view at chimney rock. Lots of rock jutting out on trail. We took time outs at both wolf and chimney and did the loop in 2 hr 30 min. Will be back!

Beautiful hike. I got lost but managed to find myself back on a trail! Found a rattle snake so be aware of your surroundings. Happy hiking :)

Mixed terrain, rocky in certain spots, one down hill that could be a little difficult with small children or pets, part of the cockscomb loop is not marked so well, but it's clear enough if you just avoid the 'No Trespassing' signs from the quarry below.

Personally, I liked it a lot. Not terribly challenging, but interesting enough. We hiked around the cockscomb trail, up to the money rocks and it was a great little 3 mile loop. The money rock overlook was neat. Not much of a vista in the summer when the trees are full, but a nice spot all the same. The money rocks have interesting rock carvings of names from the 1870s, which were cool to see. They're a little covered by graffiti now, but I think it added to the charm.

Definitely would hike again.

1 month ago

Hiked part of this trail from parking lot counter-clockwise to connect up to AT. Definitely interesting/scenic trail with plenty of streams worth the hike. Would agree with some other reviewers that is probably more Hard than Moderate trail given the long stretches of hiking upstream balancing on rocks/roots (though keeps it adventurous). Only 1st time on the trail so couldn't say whether was more due to recent rainfall or just the way the trail usually is. There is a wide stream crossing not too far off if starting from parking lot going north where is difficult to pass if water is higher than normal (no bridge/plank).

Have done this trail in 2 different seasons. This time the water was amazing - start out to the right and follow blue blazes for the sand spring trail. Be prepared - long sections involve walking upstream, often directly over the water and from rock to rock - great if you've got good balance - and it's also very beautiful. The final stream crossing has no bridge and is not easy to navigate. Be prepared.

1 month ago

Highly recommend bug spray! We forgot and it put a damper on our experience. That being said- not crowded, only saw one duo on the way to the falls and then two duo hikers on the way out. It’s been raining a lot so there’s a lot of mud, footing got a little slippery at times.

The falls were beautiful! I wish I would’ve brought water shoes to sit and soak a while but the bugs chased us out.

There is an industrial road that runs tandem to the trail. It’s ugly but we took advantage of it to help get us out of the woods quicker. We’d do this hike again— it’s a nice afternoon hike!

Not a big fan of this one. This felt like a long walk in the woods. The woods are beautiful, but there is no “real” overlook. I did not get the sense of a “summit”. Lastly, Cunningham Falls was a little disappointing. I expected more. Plus, the fact that the falls is not technically part of the hike(it has its own parking lot) took away some of the experience to me.

My husband and I are beginner hikers, we hiked up to Wolf Rock, and really enjoyed it a lot. Chimney Rock is the next destination on this hike!

1 month ago

Path had been flooded and nothing was really marked so I basically just stumbled around the woods for two hours and then got stung by a bee. That being said, the moss and ferns are gorgeous and I did see a cool purple mushroom.

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