“A loop route featuring several steep rocky slopes with wide, smooth level areas to recover.
— Pam Smith
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views
A 'mountain' experience in central Maryland, this loop encompasses two popular trails in Gambrill State Park. Begin on the Catoctin Trail, and break west at the intersection with the Green Trail. Finish up your loop on the Black Locust Trail (West)
to return to where you started.
Park closes at sunset
Need to Know
Camping is available at Gambrill. You can find a map of the campsite here
Expect lots of rocks and roots.
All trails used in this loop begin at the 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). There are a number of trails that begin at this lot, all of which are loops except for the Catoctin Trail which connects with Catoctin Mountain State park.
All along this loop, visitors will be treated to scenic views. Be warned that the way is generally steep, and rocky, and that descents/ascents can be slippery after a rain or when the weather is particularly humid. The Black Locust loop has lots of steep slopes balanced by flat terrain to recover. The trail is mostly hard pack dirt, but the steeper sections are very rocky (medium sized rocks) that will slow your pace for a moment.
History & Background
Named after the late James H. Gambrill, Jr., a well-known citizen of Frederick and conservationist who first brought attention to the beauty of the area in the early 1900s.