Catoctin Mountain Extended Loop Trail

MODERATE 149 reviews
#2 of 16 trails in

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.

DISTANCE
8.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,696 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

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.

hiking
1 month ago

1/6/19: This hike was a great break from being in D.C. There is a lot to see in a relatively close proximity. I hiked counterclockwise starting with Chimney Rock and saving Cunningham Falls for last. There’s a nice bench at the Thurmont Vista for lunch and the trails are very clearly marked. I took a few side excursions and and walked all the way around Wolf Rock and ended with 11.3 miles total. Parts of the trail was extremely crowded, while the stretch between Thurmont Vista and Blue Ridge Summit Vista was empty. There is one restroom at the Hog Rock parking area along with picnic tables. The only two draw backs are crossing the road to get to Cunningham Falls and front side of the trails follows along the road. The short .5 miles stroll to the Blue Blazes Moonshine Still has an outstanding story to go along with it.

3 months ago

We walked counter-clockwise from the visitors center and saw the falls first, then hog rock, and then we turned south on the yellow trail before reaching thurmont. We had a 2 and 3 yr old with us and were taking our time. We recorded 5.7 mi on the yellow loop. It was a very nice hike with beautiful views and fall colors.

hiking
3 months ago

had a fun day with some brisk walking around 10+miles (we did a little extra walking here and there) in around five hours!

4 months ago

The hike in this trail was amazing. We started with a warm up through the Park Headquarter / Orange Trail, then climbed up to the Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista and Chimney Rock, the view from Thurmont Vista and Chimney Rock is breathtaking.

4 months ago

Wonderful hike even on a foggy day, you miss some of the views but it’s an enchanting feel.

hiking
4 months ago

I'm docking a star only because one cannot truly summit this mountain since Camp David sits atop the peak. The trails for the most part are easy to follow. I tend to go counter-clockwise so I can save Cunningham Falls as a treat at the end. The large switchback on the White Trail is a bit tricky. Keep an eye out for the trail markers otherwise you will go a bit on a false trail that will disappear after about 1,000ft. Views from the overlooks are great. If you have the time, take the side trail, which is basically a pure scramble, to Wolf Rock for a proper view of it.

hiking
5 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

Fantastic trail! Well marked and challenging but worth the views.

hiking
7 months ago

It was good not that great. but you will have couple of good views up there. for me its good experience because i climbed rock which is little bit challenging.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! Cooler than staying in DC! Lots of boulders to climb!

hiking
9 months ago

Probably one of the best hikes for the area!! Crossing the road to get to the falls was a little precarious and some of the trail has stretches that run alongside the road unfortunately. It did have some fun challenges though and wolf rock was pretty cool to see! Definitely recommend doing it counterclockwise. I did also catch a woodpecker in action!!

9 months ago

Very nice people helping us get to know trials

9 months ago

Tasty

10 months ago

Pretty easy hike. It only took me about 3.8 hours but it was worth the drive. views were cool and the waterfalls was a nice one.

hiking
11 months ago

Great Saturday morning hike. I wouldn’t call the loop a hard hike, maybe a medium hike.

11 months ago

Views weren’t great. the waterfall was nice, but wasn’t part of the extended loop

hiking
Thursday, February 08, 2018

Lots of great lookouts along this trail. I would say hiking it normal and save Chimney Rock for last!

hiking
Saturday, December 02, 2017

somehow it was about 9.5 miles, but great fall trail!

hiking
Friday, November 24, 2017

Great hike!!! I hike trail counter clockwise. Great are views from Chimney Rock, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista, Blue Ridge Summit, and Hog Rock. Also, great views of Cunningham Falls.

hiking
Friday, November 24, 2017

Family hike on a rainy, cold day. Really enjoyed the views although it was overcast. Only complaint is the slippery leaves and rocks that I should have expected. I think the hard rating must be due to the elevation changes. If we did it again, I would cut out the section to the ranger station. It follows the road and is not very scenic. It was well marked with opportunities to bail back to the parking lot.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Great hike, nice views, pretty quiet on a bad weather day.

hiking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Easily one of my favorite hikes in Maryland, Catoctin Mountain is home to several different short trails, with multiple crossover points between them. Wolf and Chimney Rock are highlights, featuring great views of the valley below and boulders that make for great picnics or pictures. Trails have a few moderate difficulty climbs, but for the most part the paths are fairly easy.

hiking
Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lots of sights. Too many people; but it’s great early. Long walk.

hiking
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Harder with a 35 lb pack.

hiking
Monday, September 04, 2017

It's a long, but easy hike. Chimney Rock is the only thing worth seeing, so I would actually recommend doing the trail in reverse, checking out Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock, then calling it a day.

hiking
Sunday, August 20, 2017

overlooks are worth the hike

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

Rocky path, but that just makes it more fun. Beautiful views at Chimney Rock. Wolf Rock has views of the crevices than an expanse, but still an interesting experience. The southeastern part has brief periods that are overgrown. Don't worry, you're still on the trail. Highly recommend.

trail running
Sunday, July 02, 2017

My first visit to this trail today and I plan to return, repetitively. It is a great course, with geological history and challenge. I only completed part of the course due to rainstorms -- I ran about 40% of the part completed. Experienced runners recommended. It is downright unadvisable to run this course in the rain or under wet conditions. If you plan to trail run this, bring your best game. And bring your best trail running shoes. It is quite technical, with hundreds upon hundreds of pointy and sharp rocks, dagger tree limbs, and fallen-tree obstacles, so be careful. I plan to return to do all 8.6 miles, and see the waterfall (I have not seen the waterfall yet). I went off course in the beginning mile -- this is easy to do if you don't focus on guide markings. Once back on course, I went straight to Wolf Rock first, then to Chimney Rock, and then doubled back passed Wolf Rock up to Thurmont Vista. Then, the downpour came so I stopped, and took the short cut back to the trailhead/visitor center (my start point). I tracked part of the course that I completed (see the route I took). Overall, 5 stars, and a must due for technical running challenges (again, experienced runners recommended).

hiking
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Views just ok, and trail was rocky, but not in a good way. Wolf rock was cool, saw two snakes down the rock crevices. Not sure I'd go again.

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