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Catoctin Mountain Extended Loop Trail

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Catoctin Mountain Park

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 moderate. 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.

Length 8.6 mi Elevation gain 1,696 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Rock climbing

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (18)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

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.

http://www.nps.gov/cato/contacts.htm

Bring plenty of water, especially in the humid summer months. Walking poles assist with inclines and declines. Bring lunch along as this hike takes at least four hours.

The trail is accessible from parking lots near the Visitor Center, the Park Headquarters, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista, or Hog Rock. Directions to the park: www.nps.gov/cato/planyourvisit/directions.htm

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (303)
Photos (1142)
Recordings (193)
Completed (1207)
thomas lamoureux
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HikingBugsRocky

Did this with my 12 year old son. Arrived at the visitor center at 9am and got the very last spot. I took others’ advice and did the loop going counter-clockwise to get the hardest climb (chimney rock) done first. Only two long-ish climbs, one to Chimney Rock and one between Skyline Vista and Hog Rock. Overall a great loop, but it is truly rocky... the entire loop. I was wearing hiking shoes, custom insoles, and two socks, and my feet were still sore by the end. Good option for a solid workout. Wear sturdy shoes.

Pete S
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Rocky

about a year ago now, I started doing the individual loops in Catoctin. now nearly every weekend I do this full one. it's a great workout and good prep for harder stuff if you do it often enough. PEOPLE: you dont have to stop and put your mask on if Im walking like 20 feet away from you and will not come within 6+ feet of you...I mean do what you want but jeeze

Cherisse Rivera
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HikingRockyScramble

It was a great trail I didn’t feel like I was overheated or anything like that because of the shade… However it was extremely rocky and that’s just the way it is because of the geography around there...I was worried about tripping and twisting my ankle every second. At least I have my boots. So if you don’t mind stepping on rocks every second then it’s for you —otherwise never mind. Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock are cool, Hog Rock, meh. Great view at Blue Ridge Summit.

Nubion Thomas-Kennedy
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Hiking

Very shaded and long hike! It was great! the only thing is that, it is actually 9.6 miles and not 8.6.

minion s.
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HikingRocky
Patricia Berhau
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Hiking

Nice hike but pretty busy on a Sunday. We went counterclockwise and enjoyed it. Passed a lot of hikers coming the other way and (in the time of COVID-19...) was surprised to see so few hikers with masks even at-the-ready to put on when passing other hikers.

Stephanie Benedetti
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Hiking

I also took the great advice of going counter clockwise. Great workout. Nice moderate hike with some decent hills and then some flats. People were generally socially distanced. Went on a Sunday and I had long stretches where I was alone/didn't see another hiker. The visitors center was staffed on the weekend.. Took about 4 hours with some stops at some of the lookouts. Gets crowded as you start getting close to Cunningham and back to the Visitor's Center.

Alana Tabor
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HikingBugs

We did the recommendation of going counter clockwise. Definitely happy that we did! You get the harder part over with first, and then get the waterfall at the end. It was definitely moderate. It was my dog's first longer hike, so we definitely spent a good amount of time at the falls at the end. We saw quite a few ticks, so make sure you spray yourself down and check yourself over after your hike.

View Alana's Recording
Sage Rosenthal
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Hiking

Very flexible trail! If needed you can end early or keep going! Beware of snakes The trail wasn’t overtly shaded, and on a hot day, more shade would have been nice.

Gideon Wolf
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HikingRocky

This is a solid hike, and a relatively good workout. We did the counter-clockwise route, getting Wolf and Chimney rock (which also happen to me the more popular parts) out of the way first. After that the hike was much less crowded, and more fun. The views from Blue Ridge Summit and Hog Rock are great. THe over-crowdedness at Cunningham Falls kind of ruined it for us a bit--lots of people in the water and climbing on the rocks. Overall, this is a solid hike, some good uphill parts, but very doable for most hikers.

Amy Kuhns
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Hiking

Visitor center still closed. arrived by 7am. 2nd car in the parking lot. Finished before noon and parking lot was full. Very rocky throughout trails. The nice thing about this trail is you can cut it short or take a long path. Very shaded. Too many bugs for me.

View Amy's Recording
Zachary Cobb
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Hiking

Great Hike

Sarah Hoogenboom
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Hiking

Enjoyed this trail. Like others have said, I’d recommend to go counter clockwise to save your knees going down on large rocks near chimney rock. Easy to follow but missed one small loop at the beginning probably because I was really eager to reach chimney rock. completed in about 3 hours.

View Sarah's Recording
Georgia Howard
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HikingRocky

Tris was a fun hike and not too crowded. I suggest going in a counter clockwise direction so you do the hardest part and most rocky part first and avoid a rocky descent.

Emily Schuchardt
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Hiking

Great trial, well maintained! We started around 9 am on a Monday and only ran into approx 10 groups throughout the entire loop. It took about 4 hours. Lots of rocks and roots on the trail. We brought our 2 year old Aussie who did the trail without a problem! Make sure to bring water as there are no stations throughout.

Kaitlyn Rivera
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HikingMuddyRocky

Definitely recommend coming early morning on a week day. Got here at 8:30, no one on the trail until we got near the visitor center. We started at Hog Rock instead of the visitor center to get the scenic views before everyone started showing. Nice and shady! Make sure you bring plenty of water because no restrooms or water access during COVID.

Connie Stott
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HikingRocky

What a awesome beautiful day!!!

Amy Garrick
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MuddyRocky

I did this counter clockwise. Pretty easy and parts were enjoyable but there are nicer hikes. Chimney Rock was my favorite of the stops. Took 4 hours with stops.

Danny Levy
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HikingRocky

Peaceful, moderately challenging. Not too crowded, a few people hanging around at the vistas. Lots of rocks on the back half, watch your step.

L B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 1, 2020
Hiking

Great hike! Muddy spots here and there but not bad. Trails are well marked!

Leeann P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020
HikingMuddy

Cannot testify to the views since it was foggy with very low visibility. However, it was a solid well marked hike. I clocked the hike closer to 10 miles vs the documented 8.6. Very muddy and slippery even with hiking boots. Very cool rock formations. Will come again if in the area.

Cherry R
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HikingMuddy

Great trail loop. I recommend starting early, really early, to avoid the crowds. Most people on the trail didn't wear a mask. So if you're concerned about Covid-19, wear one, particularly at all the stopping points like Chimney Rock, Wolf Rock, and the waterfall. Trail had puddles of water and muddy spots in certain places. Not really a problem, just FYI. The higher up we went, the foggier it became. For 2-3 miles we couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of us. I actually loved that.

View Cherry's Recording
Arun Kumar G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Moderate tough trail. Anti-clockwise is challenging. Quite many people amid COVID19. Definitely take plenty of water.

View Arun Kumar's Recording
Jacob Rommal
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HikingRocky
View Jacob's Recording
Cristian Guillauma
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Hiking

Moderate describes this trail perfectly. A few hard stretches that don’t last long with mostly flat or downhill walking.

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