Please check our main Recreation & Parks webpage for all updates. Please call our inclement weather lines about the status of camps, programs, events, facilities, and parks: www.howardcountymd.gov/inclementweatherlines.
Please Note: The Trail Hike program is currently on hold as COVID-19 restrictions evolve. We know this is a disappointment to many of our regular hikers but the safety of our volunteer leaders, staff and participants is our first priority. Details on adjustments to the timeframe for series completions will come out when we are able to return to the Trail as a group.
Many hiking trails are still open but please use caution and follow local guidelines when heading out. Please see the main HCRP page for local details. For current information regarding the Appalachian Trail, visit the National Park Service site at nps.gov and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at appalachiantrail.org.
Get outdoors and set foot on the Appalachian Trail, Catoctin Trail and more with the HCRP Trail Hike series! Make new friends and leave the driving to us; experienced leaders interpret points of interest along the way. Most hikes between 6-9 miles. Detailed information will be emailed to participants within a week of the Trail Hike date. Under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult. Call Matt Medicus, 410-313-1769 for more information.
Trail Hikes are led by dedicated HCRP volunteer Trail Hike Leaders Mary Boeckmann, John Breivogel, Henry Ellis, John Singleton and Sandy Stromer! Interested in joining their esteemed ranks as a Trail Hike leader? Call Matt Medicus at 410-313-1769 to find out how.
Considering joining us for a nice "walk in the woods?" Complete descriptions for trail sections available in the tabs below for more info before you sign up! View elevation and distance stats from recent trips on John Singleton's www.trailhiker.org page.
Complete all seven sections of the AT in Maryland within a three-year period to earn a certificate and patch! Earn a 100-mile patch and certificate for hiking additional miles on the Appalachian Trail in PA and VA during a five-year period!
(sections 1-7 = 46.5 miles)
Section #1, High Rock to Rte. 16 Begin at the panoramic view at High Rock. Cross the Mason-Dixon line and hike through a hemlock forest. Eat your lunch at the historic Pen Mar Park. Moderately difficult terrain: 6 miles.
Section #2, High Rock to Wolfsville Road Leave the panoramic view at High Rock and hike to the highest point of the AT in Maryland. Continue through a spruce forest and pass two newer Maryland trail shelters. Moderate terrain with one extended climb and hills: 7 miles.
Section #3, Wolfsville Road to Rte. 40 Have lunch at the site of the Black Rock Hotel, a 1900's hotel. Then hike to the panoramic view and fresh-water springs at Annapolis Rocks. Moderately difficult terrain: 9.5 miles.
Section #4, Rte 40 to Reno Monument Cross the backpacker's bridge over I-70 and hike through the rolling forest to the Washington Monument. Moderate terrain: 6.5 miles.
Section #5, Gathland State Park to Reno Monument Explore the 50-foot-high arch monument built as a tribute to Civil War newspaper correspondents and hike along the wooded mountain ridge. Eat your lunch at the White Rocks Overlook. Moderately difficult terrain: 6.5 miles.
Section #6, Gathland State Park to Weverton Cliffs Start at a unique monument dedicated to Civil War correspondents and site of several Union and Confederate battles. Hike through picturesque forests, catch a glimpse of the panoramic view at Pleasant Valley overlook and enjoy lunch at cliffs overlooking the Potomac River and the three states. Moderate terrain: 7 miles.
Section #7, Weverton to Harpers Ferry Hike along the C&O Canal overlooking the rapids of the Potomac, then stop for lunch below Maryland Heights at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Visit the site of John Brown's raid in historic Harpers Ferry and ATC Headquarters. Flat terrain with an optional steep climb to Maryland Heights: 5.5 miles.
Earn a 100-mile patch and certificate for hiking additional miles on the Appalachian Trail in PA and VA during a five-year period!
Section #1, Snowy Mountain Road to PA SR 16 Start at the intersection of Appalachian Trail and Snowy Mountain Road. Hike south for 9.5 miles to State Road 16. Eat a relaxing lunch at the Old Forge Picnic Area. There are two climbs and two descents. Moderate terrain: 9.5 miles.
Section #2, Snowy Mountain Road to Caledonia State Park Start at the intersection of Appalachian Trail and Snowy Mountain Road. Hike north for 6.3 miles to end at Caledonia State Park. Enjoy your lunch at the Rocky Mountain shelter. Hike is generally downhill; moderate terrain: 6.3 miles.
Section #3, Arendtsville Road to Caledonia State Park Start at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Arendtsville Road. Hike south for 9.8 miles to end at Caledonia State Park. Lunch along the trail near the Milesburn Cabin. The hike is generally downhill with a steep descent and climb at Milesburn Hollow. Moderate terrain: 9.8 miles.
Section #4, Arendtsville Road to Pine Grove Furnace State Park Eat your lunch at Toms Run Shelter and pass the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Hike is generally downhill; moderate terrain: 8.8 miles.
Section #5, PA SR 34 to Pine Grove Furnace State Park Eat your lunch after ascending to the top of Piney Mountain then descend into Pine Grove Furnace. Moderate terrain: 8.7 miles.
Section #1, Shannondale Road to Harpers Ferry Start at Shannondale Road and hike north to Harpers Ferry for a distance of 10.2 miles. Hike is generally downhill except for a climb at Loudoun Heights. Lunch at an overlook on Loudoun Heights. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderate: 10.2 miles.
Section #2, Shannondale Road to Snickers Gap Start at Shannondale Road and hike south to Snickers Gap on VA 9 for a distance of 8.4 miles. Enjoy several mountain and valley views; have lunch at the Devils Racecourse. Moderately difficult terrain: 8.4 miles.
Section #3, Ashby Hollow to Snickers Gap Start near Ashby Hollow and hike north to Snickers Gap while ascending four hills and crossing four streams. Eat your lunch at the Sam Moore Appalachian Trail Shelter. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderately difficult terrain: 6.8 miles.
Section #4, Ashby Hollow to Ashby Gap Start near Ashby Hollow and hike south to Ashby Gap on US 50 for a distance of 7.8 miles. Climb four hills and cross five streams. Lunch at Rod Hollow Appalachian Trail Shelter. Several views of mountains and valleys. Moderate terrain: 7.8 miles.
Section #5, G. Richard Thompson Area to Ashby Gap Start at Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area and hike north to Ashby Gap on US 50 for a distance of 6.8 miles. Hike is generally downhill. Climb one hill and cross several streams. Lunch at Sky Meadows State Park. Moderate terrain: 6.8 miles.
Section #6, G. Richard Thompson Area to Manassas Gap Start at Lot #7 in the G. Richard Thompson Area and hike south to Manassas Gap on VA 55 for a distance of 5.5 miles. Hike is generally downhill. Cross several streams. Lunch at Manassas Gap Appalachian Trail Shelter. Moderate terrain: 5.5 miles.
Section #7, Manassas Gap to Chester Gap Start at Manassas Gap on VA 55 and hike south to Chester Gap on US 522 towards near Front Royal, VA. Climb two hills and cross several streams. Moderate terrain: 7 miles.
The 27-mile Catoctin Trail runs from Gambrill State Park through Frederick City Watershed and ends in Catoctin Mountain Park. Nine miles of the trail crisscrosses through Cunningham Falls State Park. Earn a certificate and patch by hiking each of the four sections in the series at least once within a three-year period.
CAT #1, Fishing Creek to Gambrills State Park
Pass an old springhouse, view panoramas of Frederick County and cross winding streams. Moderately difficult terrain: 8 miles.
CAT #2, Mountaindale Road to Hunting Creek
Look for signs of deer and wild turkey along this wooded trail that crosses Steep Creek. Survey the scenery at White Rocks. Moderately difficult terrain: 7 miles.
CAT #3, Hunting Creek to Houck Area
Pass through a hardwood forest, enjoy the scenic view from Bob's Hill Overlook and visit the site of the Catoctin Furnace. Steep terrain: 6 miles.
CAT #4, Houck Area to Mount Zion Road
Follow the Cunningham Falls State Park trail into the wooded National Park horse trails. Pass hemlock groves, fresh springs and creeks. Enjoy a spectacular lunch-break at the top of the falls. Moderately difficult terrain: 7 miles.
Billy Goat Trail
Hike along the Potomac River and through Mather Gorge. Scramble over rocks and enjoy the scenery of Great Falls. Visit the Great Falls Visitor Center. Difficult terrain; 4 miles.
Catoctin on the Rocks
Visit Catoctin National Park and enjoy the exciting overlooks of Cat Rock, Chimney Rock, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Overlook and Hog Rock. Visit the park nature center and stop in Thurmont for ice cream. Difficult terrain; several steep hills; 7 miles.
Dark Hollows Trail
This scenic figure-eight circuit begins in Caledonia State Park, passes rhododendrons, cathedral pines, and hemlocks, and joins the Appalachian Trail to follow the rocky gorge of Dark Hollow. Moderately difficult terrain; 8 miles.
Great Falls Circuit
Discover the best views of the falls, look for kayakers and rock climbers at Mathers Gorge, hike along the Difficult Run Creek Trail and the Potomac River, and visit the River Bend Nature Center. Moderate terrain; 7 miles.
Gunpowder Falls Circuit
Follow this forested trail as you hike along rocky gorges and scenic stream valleys. Enjoy lunch at Prettyboy Reservoir. Strenuous terrain; 6.5 miles.
Susquehanna Grist Mill Trail
Discover agricultural history as you hike by a manor, miller’s carriage and toll houses. Pass a pumping station, canal and mill race. After lunch, you may see how corn was ground into flour using a water-powered grist mill. Moderate terrain; 5.5 miles.
Hike to the top of the rocky vistas in Frederick County, cross small creeks, see remnants of the American Chestnut Tree and view the Catoctin Mountain range at White’s Rock overlook. Moderate terrain; 5 miles.
The trail passes through the remains of Camp Michaux, which was used as a prisoner-of-war camp for German officers during World War II. The highlight of the hike is a moderately difficult scramble of almost a half of a mile along a boulder outcrop with beautiful panoramic views. Moderate terrain; 7.8 miles.
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