Gravel Hill Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Signage at Gravel Hill Swamp WMAAt only 68 acres in size, this relatively small wildlife management area is big in species diversity and richness. Located in the higher elevations of the Catoction Mountains of northwestern Frederick County, Gravel Hill Swamp offers protection to the headwaters of Buzzard branch an important Brook Trout stream. The swamp also provides important habitat for a number of rare, threatened and endangered plant species.


What to See

Spring Flowers at Gravel Hill Swamp WMAThe entire property is dominated by an oak/poplar forest with a thick understory of Spice Bush. White-tailed deer, wild turkey and black bear are some of forest wildlife species that can be found on the property. For the birding enthusiast the opportunity to spy a variety of flashy, forest interior birds in the upper tree canopy await you. During the warmer months, woodland flowers can be seen throughout the WMA. In the spring be on the lookout for colorful spring flowers such as Cut-leaf Toothwort, Spring Beauty and perhaps Wild Geranium. In some areas of the forest, the spring flowers are so numerous they can cover the forest floor. If you are the adventurous type, walk around the fringes of the “swamp” and you will be awarded with the sight of False Hellebore, Marsh Marigold, or Great Lobelia.

Remember to only take pictures and watch your step as this WMA supports a number of rare, threatened and endangered plant species.

What to do

GravelHillSwampScenicView.jpgFor the hunting enthusiast this archery hunting only area offers the opportunity to pursue white-tailed deer, wild turkey and grey squirrels. For the non-hunter, this wooded property offers many opportunities to photograph colorful woodland flowers and birds. In the early spring the opportunity to collect wild moral mushrooms is a popular activity on the area.

Area Regulations

  • Use of Gravel Hill Swamp WMA is generally permitted seven days a week throughout the year.
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with established seasons and hunting hours.
  • Due to its small size, only archery hunting is allowed on the WMA.
  • Trapping is not permitted.
  • Disabled hunters may use the property by parking in several scattered pull-offs along the small gravel access road.

Special Areas

  • Gravel Hill Swamp WMA is managed to provide important habitat for forest wildlife species.
  • The area offers protection to the unique wetland area located on the site, which supports a number of rare plant species.

Non-Hunting User Guide

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome on the WMA.
  • Be aware of open hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
  • Bird watching, nature photography and mushroom hunting are popular uses of the area.
  • Hardwood forest and wetlands compose all of the property and support a rich variety of songbirds and wildflower species.
  • The area is relatively flat, which offers an easy stroll through the property.

Site Management Goals

The primary management goal of this wildlife area is to provide protection to this unique wetland and the number of rare, threatened and endanger plant species that the wetland harbors.


From I-70 west, take the Braddock Rd exit and continue east towards Frederick.. At the first light turn left (Old Camp Rd) and take another left at the next light. This should put you on US 40, west bound. Follow US 40 west for approximately 3 miles and make a right on to Gambrill Park Road. Continue on Gambrill Park Road for approximately 10 miles and the road will split. Keep to the left, which is Tower Road. Continue on Tower Road until the first left, which is Middlepoint Road. The WMA is located on the left. There is a small gravel lane approximately ½ mile up this road on the left, which will take you through the center of the WMA property. There are several small pull-off located along this gravel lane.

Click here for map.

This area is a part of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the State’s wildlife resources.

Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.

Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.​