Catoctin Mountain Park
In the 1930's, after years of making charcoal to fuel the iron furnace, mountain farming, and harvesting of trees for timber, land was purchased to be transformed into a productive recreation area; helping to put people back to work during the great depression. Beginning in 1935, the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area was under construction by both the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Originally planned to provide recreational camps for federal employees, one of the camps eventually became the home of the Presidential retreat, Camp David. The Presidential retreat is not open or accessible to the public, but the eastern hardwood forest of Catoctin Mountain Park has many other attractions for visitors: camping, picnicking, fishing, 25 miles of hiking trails, scenic mountain vistas, all await your exploration.
Catoctin's diverse cultural resources provide several vignettes of the nation's history in one small location. Native Americans quarried rhyolite for the production of lithic tools. A charcoal and iron industry is still visible today, along with smaller industries including farms, sawmills, and an old moonshine still. Historic structures and products of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, along with the site of the nation's first Job Corps Center, are tangible reminders of the capability of vigorous youth programs to strengthen the nation's economic and social fabric. The totality of resources found in Catoctin Mountain Park reflects much of the early fabric of the country.
Seasonality / Weather
The park is open all year from dawn until dusk. Visitor center hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The visitor center closes Wednesdays from December through March. The visitor center closes for the following winter federal holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, President's Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.
There may be temporary security closures. These are always posted on the park's home page. Call the park visitor center for more information.
From Washington DC take the George Washington Memorial Parkway north to I495 beltway to I270 north 27 miles to Frederick, Maryland. Take Route 15 17 miles north to Thurmont, Maryland. Take Route 77 west, the exit sign is marked Catoctin Mountain Park. Travel approximately three miles west on 77 and turn right onto Park Central Road. The Visitor Center is on the right.
From Baltimore, MD Take I695 beltway to I70 West to Frederick, Maryland. Take Route 15 North to Thurmont, Maryland. Take Route 77 West (the exit sign says Catoctin Mountain Park. Travel approximately three miles west on 77 and turn right onto Park Central Road. The Visitor Center is on the right.
From Hagerstown, Maryland I70 east to Route 66 north for seven miles to right on Route 64 for one mile to right onto Route 77 East at a traffic light. Continue on Route 77 East for approximately seven miles. Turn left onto Park Central Road and the Visitor Center is on the right.
From Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Route 15 south. In Thurmont, Maryland, exit onto Route 77 West (the exit sign says Catoctin Mountain Park, go approximately three miles, turn right onto Park Central Road and the Visitor Center is on the right.