Gambrill State Park

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Gambrill State Park
Maryland State Park
Gambrill state park.jpg
Country United States
State Maryland
County Frederick
Elevation 1,549 ft (472 m) [1]
Coordinates 39°28′43″N 77°29′29″W / 39.47861°N 77.49139°W / 39.47861; -77.49139Coordinates: 39°28′43″N 77°29′29″W / 39.47861°N 77.49139°W / 39.47861; -77.49139 [1]
Area 1,191 acres (482 ha) [2]
Established 1934
Management Maryland Department of Natural Resources
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Nearest city Frederick, Maryland
Location in Maryland
Website: Gambrill State Park

Gambrill State Park is a public recreation area located on Catoctin Mountain near the city of Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland. The state park is known for the dramatic views of the surrounding area that can be seen from stone overlooks built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park is operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.[3]


The park is approximately 51 miles (82 km) northwest of Washington, D.C. and 53 miles (85 km) west of Baltimore on Catoctin Mountain. Gambrill Park Road is located approximately six miles (10 km) away from Frederick on Route 40 West. The park road traverses Catoctin Mountain, and accesses the campground, the trailhead, and the High Knob areas of this park.


The park is named after James H. Gambrill, Jr. (1866-1951), a participant in the grain industry and in Frederick city politics, who was a conservationist and frequent visitor to Catoctin Mountain. In an effort to establish a park, Gambrill convinced his fellow businessmen to purchase the land that now makes up the park and donate it to the city of Frederick. The city then donated the land one year later to the state of Maryland. The state park was dedicated on September 7, 1934.[4] A majority of the park's buildings and structures including its roads, stone overlooks, wooden picnic shelters, Tea Room, and ranger’s residence were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.[5]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The park offers trails for hikers and mountain bikers as well as a picnic area with a playground and a small fishing pond.


Each park trail is blazed with its own color scheme; each is maintained by a different volunteer group. The descriptions below are adapted from the official trail guide offered by the State of Maryland.[6]

  • White Oak Trail - white blaze (1 mile – 1.6 kilometers) This trail is open only to hikers (no mountain bikes).
  • Red Maple Trail - red blaze (1 mile – 1.8 kilometers) This trail connects the campground area with the rest of the park. One short section of the trail is somewhat steep. The trail is maintained by The Trail House, an outdoor store in Frederick.
  • Green Ash Trail - green blaze (2.0 miles – 3.2 kilometers) There are several steep slopes and very little level ground on this trail. The trail is maintained by Wheel Base, a bike shop in Frederick.
  • Black Locust Trail - black-on-white blaze (3.3 miles – 5.3 kilometers) This trail features several steep slopes mixed with fairly level areas, wooded slopes and views of Frederick Valley to the east and Middletown Valley to the west. The trail is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, West Virginia Chapter.
  • Yellow Poplar Trail - yellow blaze (7.1 miles – 7.4 kilometers) The longest of the Gambrill Trails. The trail passes two stone overlooks built by the CCC in the 1930s as it ascends the mountain and goes into the far reaches of the park,. The trail is maintained by M.O.R.E. (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts).
  • Catoctin Trail - blue blaze (26.5 miles – 42.4 kilometers) This trail traverses the state park for approximately 3.0 miles (4.8 km), and continues north through the Frederick City Watershed, Cunningham Falls State Park, and Catoctin Mountain Park, where it ends at Mt. Zion Road, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) north of Owens Creek Campground. Along the trail within Gambrill State Park, camping is permitted only at the Rock Run Campground.

Three native stone overlooks located on the 1600-foot (490 m) summit of High Knob, midway between the Mason–Dixon line and the Potomac River, offer views of the surrounding area: north – the rugged tree-covered mountains of the Frederick City Municipal Forest; south – Crampton's Gap, a Civil War landmark and the location of Gathland State Park, as well as the Middletown and Monocacy valleys; west – South Mountain, the site of numerous Civil War engagements.


  1. ^ a b "Gambrill State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Fiscal Year 2016 DNR Owned Lands Acreage" (PDF). Maryland Department of Natural Resources. July 29, 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Gambrill State Park". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The man behind the founding of Gambrill State Park". The Frederick News-Post. Frederick, Md. June 23, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Gambrill State Park: Civilian Conservation Corps". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Gambrill State Park Trail Guide". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]