The Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock Loop in Catoctin Mountain Park will take you to two sweeping vistas in a geologically interesting area of Maryland. The loop is 4 miles long with some steep elevation gain and optional rock scrambles. The park contains four different rock formations according to the National Park Service, and Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock are part of what is called the Weverton Foundation. This rock formation includes quartzite, metaconglomerate, phyllite and metagraywacke rock. Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock are quartzite, which is the hardest type of rock and which erodes at a slower rate than the surrounding mountain. This phenomenon led to the unique and beautiful formations that make the hikes and areas so popular.
To experience Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock in a relatively simple 4-mile loop, park at the Catoctin Park visitor center. From there, head to the right side of the parking lot to reach the trails. Even though the sign has entries for both Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock, make sure you follow the Chimney Rock signs that will take you straight instead of left up the hill. You will see the orange blazes. The first part of the hike is on relatively even ground. After about a mile you will make a left up the mountain to Catoctin Rock. This section can get relatively rocky and steep. At the top of the mountain, a sign will direct you left to Chimney Rock. Take a moment to rest from the uphill climb and enjoy almost 360-degree views.
After taking in this view, return to the trail and follow it for about another quarter mile to Wolf Rock. A sign will greet you at Wolf Rock warning of the deep crevices, and they are not kidding. Once you climb up to the top of Wolf Rock, make sure you have sure footing, because there are many crevices that can cause injury. Once you get to the top of Wolf Rock, however, the view and the rock scrambling make for a fun excursion. There are no actual trails at the top of Wolf Rock, so roam as you see fit and keep safety in mind. Hawks and vultures call these areas home, so make sure to watch for that wildlife as you enjoy the view.
After exploring the summit of Wolf Rock, return to the trail and make a right. Follow the orange blazes until a sign directs you either to Thurmont Heights or to return to the visitor center. Follow the orange/purple blazes until you reach another sign that changes the blazes to orange/yellow and continue toward the visitor center.