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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
425.00 ft (129.54 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
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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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Views. Scenery. Lake.

Cons

Can get crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

1,145.00 ft (349.00 m)

Highest point

1,570.00 ft (478.54 m)

Net Elevation Gain

425.00 ft (129.54 m)

Address

Unnamed Road
Thurmont, MD 21788
United States

Features

Near lake or river
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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