Three native stone overlooks,
strategically located on the 1600-foot summit of
High Knob, midway between the Mason-Dixon Line and
the Potomac River, offer excellent and exciting
views of the surrounding area.
On a clear day, looking north,
a visitor can see the rugged tree-covered mountains
of the Frederick City Municipal Forest, one of the
State's best managed watersheds. Looking south, one
can see Crampton's Gap, a Civil War Landmark and the
site of Gathland State Park, and the Middletown and
Monocacy Valleys. South Mountain, where many
engagements between Confederate and Union troops
took place during the Civil War, can be seen to the
Gambrill State Park comes
alive in the spring, with the flowering of many
trees and shrubs, highlighted by the blooming of the
dogwood trees in late May and the abundance of the
beautiful mountain laurel's large white flowers in
Two separate areas of
State Park provide recreational facilities and
activities for visitors of all ages. The Rock Run
area is located at the park entrance. The High Knob
area is located at the top of Catoctin Mountain.
Gambrill State Park is
approximately 51 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
and 53 miles west of Baltimore on Catoctin Mountain.
Gambrill Park Road is located approximately six
miles away from Frederick on Route 40 West. The park
road traverses Catoctin Mountain, and accesses the
campground, the trailhead, and the High Knob areas
of this park.
- Picnic tables, grills, modern restrooms and
playground facilities are available at Gambrill
State Park. Pets are not allowed in the picnic
- The High Knob area offers three shelters,
available for rent from April through October, as
well as a lodge-type native stone shelter, The Tea
Room. The balcony of the Tea Room faces beautiful
vistas, while a huge stone fireplace dominates the
interior. The building accommodates 75 people and
has a kitchen designed for cooking and serving food.
Pets are not allowed in the Tea Room. Interior
layout of the Tea Room
Hiking and Nature Trails
- For those interested in hiking and observing
nature and wildlife, there are 13 miles of wooded
trails. A wide variety of birds, wildflowers, ferns,
trees and shrubs can be viewed along these trails.
Leashed pets are allowed on all trails.
- Camping is permitted in the upper portion of the
Rock Run area, where a modern washhouse with showers
and hot water is available from April through
mid-October. The camping area accommodates up to 30
family units. The park also offers four camper
cabins. Senior citizen rate applies only on
non-holiday Sunday through Thursday nights.
All trails begin at the
Trailhead Parking Lot on the east side of Gambrill
Park Road (about half-way up the mountain between
the Rock Run area and the High Knob area, on the
right side of the road). All trails are day use only
-there is no overnight parking. Park hours are 8
a.m. to sunset, April to October, and 10 a.m. to
sunset, November to March. All Maryland State
Forests and Parks are trash free. Please carry out
what you carry in.
White Oak Trail
- white blaze (1 mile) This easy
trail is open only to hikers (no mountain bikes),
and is a good choice for families with small
Red Maple Trail
- red blaze (1.1 mile) Fairly
easy to walk, this trail connects the campground
with the rest of the park. One short section of the
trail is somewhat steep. The trail is maintained by
The Trail House, an outdoor store in Frederick.
Green Ash Trail
- green blaze (2.0 miles) True
hikers will love this trail. There are several steep
slopes and very little level ground, making this
trail an adventure. As you hike the trail, imagine
what it was like to cross the Appalachian Mountains
on foot in the 1700's. The trail is maintained by
Wheel Base, a bike shop in Frederick.
Black Locust Trail
- black blaze (3.3 miles) This
trail is moderately easy to walk. Several steep
slopes are mixed with fairly level areas. This trail
truly shows the beauty of Gambrill State Park from
its wooded slopes to the breathtaking views of both
Frederick Valley to the east and Middletown Valley
to the west. The trail is maintained by the Potomac
Appalachian Trail Club, West Chapter.
Yellow Poplar Trail
- yellow blaze (4.6 miles) The
longest of the Gambrill Trails, this trail is only
moderately difficult to walk. Hikers who have
several hours can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Bringing you up the mountain and out into the far
reaches of the park, the trail passes two beautiful
stone overlooks built by the Civilian Conservation
Corps in the 1930's. A rest room is located near the
trail in the High Knob area. The trail is maintained
by M.O.R.E. (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts).
- blue blaze (26.5 miles) This
trail traverses Gambrill State Park for
approximately 3.0 miles, and continues north through
the Federick City Watershed, Cunningham Falls State
Park, and Catoctin Mountain National Park. The trail
ends at Mt. Zion Road, 1.3 miles north of Owens
Creek Campground in Catoctin Mountain Park. The
Appalachian Trail may be reached by traveling west
on Mt. Zion Road to Raven Rock Road for two miles.
Camping is permitted only at Rock Run Campground (Gambrill
State Park), the Manor and Houck Campgrounds
(Cunningham Falls State Park), and Owens Creek
Campground (Catoctin Mountain Park). If you need to
leave a vehicle overnight somewhere, please check
with the authorities of that area. The trail is
maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.