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Gambrill State Park Mountain Bike Trails

Capital Region, Maryland

Directions & Trail Description

Location: Frederick, MD. Frederick County

Length & Configuration: 16+ miles on a network of interconnecting loop trails.

Terrain & Surface: Rocky, hilly terrain with plenty of technical singletrack trails.

Technical Difficulty: Intermediate / Advanced

Elevation change: Several hundred feet over many steep slopes.

Trail Use : mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding

Caution: Multi-use trails. Be sure your bike is in good condition and bring tools, spare tubes and water.




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Gambrill State Park Trail Map

Note: The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features. Read Full Disclaimer.


Gambrill State Park is located 51 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. and 53 miles west of Baltimore, MD. From US Rte 70, exit onto US Rte 40 at Frederick. Travel about 6 miles and turn right onto Gambrill Park Rd. Follow about 1 mile to the park entrance.


General Description:

The 1,137 acres of Gambrill State Park lie along the ridge of Catoctin Mountain. Dramatic views of the surrounding farmland and forest are possible atop the 1,600 ft. High Knob. To the north is the Frederick City Municipal Forest, to the south are Crampton’s Gap, Middletown and Monocacy Valleys and to the west, South Mountain. Many Civil War engagements took place in these areas.

A variety of recreational opportunities are available at the Gambrill State Park's two Recreation Areas. The Rock Run Area at the park entrance has a campground, modern bathhouse and cabins. The High Knob Area, with its dramatic views of the valley, provides picnic tables, grills, shelters and the Tea Room. The Tea Room, a native stone building, has a kitchen, stone balcony and fireplace and is available for day use. A Nature Center is also located at High Knob, offering nature walks and evening campfire programs.

Springtime brings the flowering of the parks trees and shrubs. Dogwood trees bloom in late May and Mountain Laurel in early June. Wildlife inhabiting the park include salamanders, white-tailed deer, black bear, woodpeckers, songbirds, raptors, coyotes and snakes. Use caution when walking in rocky areas or near streams because two venomous snake species, the northern copperhead and timber rattler, live here.


Gambrill State Park Mountain Bike Trails:

There are over 16 miles of wooded trails ideal for mountain biking at Gambrill State Park in Frederick, Maryland.
They are all accessible from the Trailhead parking lot on the right side of Gambrill Park Road. Except for the White Oak Trail, which is open to hikers only, all trails are open to mountain bikes and equestrians. While the mountain biking here may be considered some of the best in the Maryland's Capital region, most of these trails are not for the novice or faint-hearted. If you are a recreational rider seeking an easy, relaxing bike ride, this is not for you. The off-camber singletrack, trails with many obstacles, long and steep doubletrack climbs and rock gardens will test your abilities and provide a thrilling, challenging MTB experience.


Red Maple Trail - 1 mile

This is a moderately difficult trail that makes a good warm-up loop. It has one short, fairly steep section, rocks and water bars.


Yellow Poplar Trail: 7.1 miles

This is the longest loop trail at Gambrill. It is more rideable (in a clockwise direction) than the Black or Blue trails, but still presents a challenge for the intermediate to advanced rider. There are impressive views from the North Frederick Overlook as you travel the ridge line along Catoctin Mountain to the far reaches of the park. Sections of the trail are steep, rocky, and technical. The lower trail descends into some nice faster singletrack with occasional rocks and obstacles. This is a demanding trail for the aspiring mountain biker who wants to test and improve his or her skills. The Yellow Trail is maintained by the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE).


Green Ash Trail: 2.0 miles

This is definitely a challenge for the more adventurous rider. There are several steep slopes with very little level trail. Add the rock gardens, log water bars and other obstacles and the ride becomes strenuous at best. Wheel Base, a bike shop in Frederick, MD maintains the trail.


Black Locust Trail: 3.3 miles

This trail passes through the High Knob Area and highlights the beauty of the Gambrill State Park, from wooded slopes to dramatic views. It qualifies as a hike-and-bike for many of us. That means much of the trail is unrideable and you will be walking long stretches of steep terrain. It will sap the energy of even the more advanced riders.


Blue Catoctin Trail: 3.0 miles

This trail traverses the park and continues north for 23.5 miles through the Frederick City Watershed, Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain National Park. it ends at Mt. Zion Road, 1.3 miles north of the National Park's Owens Creek Campground. This trail, like the Black Trail, is intense and will be another hike-and-bike experience for the average rider. It will test your skills over rough, technical terrain. The trail is maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.




Historical Note:

If you have an interest in interest in Civil War history, Frederick County straddling the Mason Dixon Line is located at the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Many historic battles took place in around Frederick County, including the battles of South Mountain, the Monocacy, Antietam and Gettysburg. Other nearby historical sites include Harpers Ferry National Park, Antietam National Battlefield Park and Crampton's Gap (Gathland State Park). These parks offer a variety of activities including Civil War living history experiences which feature Civil War re-enactors. It's a great way to learn about the life and times of the Civil War era soldiers' life.



For more information:

Gambrill State Park c/o Cunningham Falls State Park
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road
Thurmont, Maryland 21702

Phone: (301) 271-7574
TTY: call via the Maryland Relay at 711 (in Maryland) or 800-735-2258
Web site: Gambrill State Park


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