Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Take a Hike Week: Catoctin Mountain

The Green Miles recently made the 75 minute drive from the DC area up northwest of Frederick to Maryland's Catoctin Mountain. It was one of those days that thunderstorms were a constant menace, but surprisingly the rain held off long enough to make the full 8-mile loop around the top of the mountain.

Part of the Bull Run Mountains, a subset of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Catoctin's highest peak is only about 1,900 feet. But the hike provides a great range of views, from Cunningham Falls all the way up to the Blue Ridge Vista:
Catoctin Mountain's Blue Ridge Vista

Like Virginia's Old Rag Mountain, the peaks feature exposed ancient granite, providing some fun rock-hopping at Chimney Rock:
The Green Miles at Catoctin Mountain's Chimney Rock

I decided to start a new tradition this hike, bringing two beers for my friend Dan & I to crack open on top of the mountain. Of course, after lugging the beers up the mountain I then realized I'd left my bottle opener in the car. Fortunately, at the Hog Rock overlook Dan found a sign with some exposed screws that made a great bottle opener. After a long slog up & around the mountain, Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre had never tasted better:
Catoctin Mountain's Hog Rock's Take a Hike Week
Tuesday: Old Rag Mountain
Wednesday: Catoctin Mountain
Thursday: Scott's Run Nature Preserve
FridayVirginia's Great Falls North
Did you know National Trails Day is Saturday, June 4th? DC, Maryland & Virginia are loaded with fantastic hikes just a short drive away. Find a NTD event near you at, or explore local trails & climbs at

1 comment:

Alan said...

So many great little time. I'd add two local State Parks to your list - Sky Meadows State Park and Mason Neck State Park - neither Park has particularly strenuous hikes, but they take you to the mountains or the water respectively, and both are great for families. And if you like Bald Eagles Mason Neck is a great place to see them - we saw 6 eagles on our last visit this spring.