Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail

Cunningham Falls State Park

Greater Washington D.C., Maryland

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Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail


  • After parking at the parking lot near Hunting Creek Lake, cross the street to find this sign.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • Follow the red blazes up the mountain.  This trail is steep and has many switchbacks, so keep an eye out for the blazes.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • Check out the view as you catch your breath after making it up that hill.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • Once you reach the top of the Old Misery Trail, make a right onto Catoctin Trail to reach Cat Rock.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • The trail is well marked.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • You will reach the summit of Cat Rock.  - Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • For those who like to rock scramble, the view from the top of Cat Rocks is spectacular.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • The view from Cat Rock.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • A view from the top of Cat Rock. Hawks love to play in the wind.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • Cat Rock is surrounded by woods.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
  • Careful on the rocks, however. There are deep crevices, and they are very uneven.- Cat Rock Mountain via Old Misery Trail
Overview + Weather
Views. Scenery. Lake.
Can get crowded.
Greater Washington D.C., MD
Pets allowed: 
Highest point: 
1,570.00 ft (478.54 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
425.00 ft (129.54 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall, Winter
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Total elevation gain: 
425.00 ft (129.54 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,145.00 ft (349.00 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Cunningham Falls State Park is more than just the falls for which it is named. It also contains dozens of miles of hiking with a variety of scenery, including creeks, lakes, scenic views, and a waterfall. Cat Rock scenic viewpoint can be reached several ways, and one rewarding route with a potential cool-off afterward (depending on the season) leaves from the Misery Trailhead off of Catoctin Hollow Road. This parking lot is across the street from the trailhead and right next to Hunting Creek Lake.  

To start this hike, park in the lot on Catoctin Hollow Road next to Hunting Creek Lake. From there, proceed to the Misery Creek Trailhead, which is marked by red blazes. The reason for this trail's name will become apparent almost as soon as the ascent begins. The trail has many switchbacks, but it is still very steep, particularly at the beginning. Eventually this trail ends at Catoctin Trail, which is marked by yellow blazes. Make a right to follow the trail to Cat Rock.  Eventually, you will see a sign that leads you to the summit.

At first, the summit of Cat Rock appears somewhat underwhelming. If you brave the rock scrambles, however, the view is definitely worth it. Be careful of the drops because they can be sudden and large. Cat Rock is thought to be made up of quartzite that was sea bottom sand 500 million years ago, according to Maryland's State Park website. Tremendous earth forces compressed and crystallized it into hard rock when the Appaliachain Mountains uplifted 200 million years ago. Tough quartzite erodes slowly, so it often forms ridges like those in Catotictin Mountain, including Cat Rock. Upon returning to the parking lot, take a moment to cool off from the strenuous hike in Hunting Creek Lake.

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