The Cunningham Falls State Park trail system varies in terrain from short, flat hikes to steep and rocky ascents that will challenge even the experienced hiker. For this reason, mountain biking is not permitted. Trail distances vary from .5 mile to 7.5 miles.
Additionally, Cunningham Falls State Park offers trails that traverse public hunting areas. Please be familiar with the hunting seasons and remember to wear bright colors and be alert to all visitors recreating in the area.
Catoctin Trail Parking:
Gambrill State Park: Park at the Trailhead or in the High Knob Area. Overnight parking is only permitted in the Trailhead with prior approval from Gambrill SP staff.
Any vehicles left overnight without prior approval may receive a citation. Please email Gambrill.StatePark@maryland.gov. Please forward your campsite reservation information to the staff.
Cunningham Falls State Park: Park at the gravel lot on Catoctin Hollow Road, in the William Houck Area or in the Manor Area. Parking at the Camp Office for hiking is not permitted April through October.
William Houck Area Trails
- Lower Trail -- ½ mile (red blaze) -- This easy to moderate trail is the shortest and easiest access to the Falls. Interpretive signs and benches along the way. Return to the lake by this trail or Cliff Trail. This trail terminates at the Falls. Convenient parking in the Day- Use Area, overflow in South Beach and NorthBeach lots.
- Cliff Trail -- ¾ mile (yellow blaze) -- Rough terrain offers strenuous hiking past rock outcrops that lead to the falls. Return to the lake by this trail or Lower Trail. Convenient parking in the Day-Use Area, overflow in South Beach and North Beach lots.
- Campground Trail -- ¾ mile (orange blaze) -- This strenuous trail gives campers access to the Cliff Trail. Access at entrance to Bear Branch Loop.
- Old Misery Trail -- 2 miles -- (orange blaze) -- This steep, strenuous trail with many switchbacks and scenic views connects with the Cat Rock Trail. Accessible via the Dam Overlook parking lot off of Catoctin Hollow Road.
- Cat Rock Trail -- 1.5 miles (yellow blaze) -- This steep, strenuous trail leads to Cat Rock (elevation 1560’) and scenic views. Convenient parking located at Peniel Lot off of Route 77.
Manor Area Trails
- Catoctin Furnace Trail -- ¼ mile (no blaze) -- A self-guided trail which leads to Catoctin Furnace Historical Village. Crosses U.S. 15 via elevated foot path (46 steps up the stairway). Access via lower day-use area in Manor Area.
- African American Cemetery Trail -- ½ mile (no blaze) -- Use the wayside interpretive panels to learn about the iron making process. More importantly, learn the names and stories of those enslaved to work in the village. This ADA-style unpaved path has two viewing platforms and three wooden benches. Parking is recommended at the Catoctin Furnace or the Manor Area of Cunningham Falls State Park.
- Bob’s Hill Trail -- 1.5 miles (yellow blaze) -- This steep, strenuous trail leads to Bob’s Hill (elevation 1765’) and two short spur trails with views North and South. Convenient parking in Manor Area day-use.
- Cat Rock / Bob’s Hill Hike -- 7.5 miles one way -- (yellow blaze) This strenuous trail crosses the mountain and passes two scenic rock outcrops with scenic views. Convenient parking in Manor Area day- use or in Peniel Lot off of Route 77.
- Catoctin Trail -- 27 miles (blue blaze) -- This strenuous trail leads from Gambrill State Park through Frederick City Watershed, Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. Nine miles of trail are in Cunningham Falls. Camping permitted only in designated campgrounds. Notify the park in advance if leaving vehicle in park overnight.
A new map of the trails at Cunningham Falls State Park can be downloaded for free from this website. Please make sure to read the printing instructions and information for how to download the file to cell phones. The map is in a PDF format that requires Adobe Reader. To get the free Adobe Reader go to Adobe.com