Where To Work Off Those Extra Holiday Calories: Gambrill State Park

A hiking trail in Gambrill State Park located in Frederick, MD


The holidays are just around the corner and we all need to find ways to burn off some of those extra calories!

Gambrill State Park is a great place for hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. And for spending time off time off with family, especially if you love the great outdoors! Its a favorite at Dave’s!

There are 16 miles of trails that take you through beautiful scenery on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. T

The park has two different areas: Rock Run Area and High Knob Area.

Overview of Gambrill State Park

High Knob Area

If you make it up to the 1600-foot High Knob lookout, your view will be stunning! Three stone overlooks provide stunning views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys, which extend all the way to the northern reaches of the Shenandoah Mountains.

The park has three native-stone overlooks, all of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

The huge stone staircase and platform at the Frederick Overlook are popular for weddings.

The Middletown Overlook, also within High Knob, provides panoramic views of the western sky.

Gambrill State Park’s North Frederick Overlook has spectacular views of Catoctin Mountain to the east and is located just north of Gambrill Park Road near the High Knob entrance.

The High Knob area also has wooded picnic areas, three picnic shelters, and a big stone lodge called the Tea Room. The picnic shelters and the Tea Room may be booked.

Rock Run Area

A cozy family-style camping area, a picnic area, and a tiny pond for fishing can be found in the Rock Run Are of Gambrill State Park.

Although it’s too late in the year already, the Rock Run campground is open every year rom April 15 to October 30 . Reservations are necessary for the full season now. Campers check in at the bathhouse and can also obtain their camping permits there.

Things to Do in Gambrill State Park


The Rock Run Area campground has 13 basic sites, nine tent-only sites and six sites with electricity.

Picnic tables, fire rings, and latern posts are among the camper amenities. There is a designated area for sewage and drinkable water in each site.

There is also a bathhouse within the campground that provides hot showers and toilets.

Four camper cabins with electricity can be found in the Rock Run Campground. Each cabin has a double bed and a set of bunk beds, which can accommodate four people. Camper’s are even allowed to bring pets!

Cabins do not offer heat or air conditioning but electric heaters or fans are permissible to bring into the campsite. Propane heaters are not permitted.

Linen must be brought by campers themselves because there is no washing machine available.


In Rock Run, a little body of water houses a healthy population of largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish!

This pond, which is located near the campground, is ideal for teaching kids how to fish because it is a Free Fishing Pond and no fishing license is required.

However, visitors should check out Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for information about fishing regulations.

You should take note that no swimming is allowed in the pond!


There are over 16 miles of trails for walking, mountain biking, and horseback riding at Gambrill State Park.

Every trail begins at the Gambrill Park Road trailhead parking lot, between Rock Run and the High Knob area.

If the parking lot is full, continue up the mountain to High Knob – there are several other trails that may be accessed throughout the area with trail maps posted on bulletin boards.

Many of the pathways provide magnificent views. The majority of the paths are classified as moderately difficult because to the rocky terrain and steep slopes. Although, White Oak Trail is a one-mile loop path that is simple enough for families with small children to enjoy.

One super interesting not is that hiker’s can even bring their pets! Or their horse! If they have one!

Horseback riding is permitted on all trail routes, with the exception of the White Oak Trail. Also, visitors should note that parking might be limited for horse trailers and the parks department does not offer horse rentals. Visitors must bring their own!

History of Gambrill State Park

James H. Gambrill, Jr., a well-known citizen of Frederick, was the namesake of Gambrill State Park. Mr. Gambrill was a conservationist who first brought attention to the region’s beauty in the early 1900s and believed that it was in the public’s best interests to establish a park there.

Following his example, a group of local citizens banded together to buy the property, and subsequently donated the land to Frederick as a public park. A short while after, the city of Frederick transferred ownership of the land to the State of Maryland for to help with development!

Hours for Gambrill State Park


April-October: 8 a.m. to sunset

November-March: 10 a.m. to sunset

Driving Directions to Gambrill State Park

Gambrill State Park is located south of the intersection of MD Route 80/Old Hundred Road and Frederick County’s Gambrill Park Rd.

Here is how to get there:


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