Gambrill State Park
About Gambrill State Park
Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. Its most popular feature is the 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park is separated into two areas, the Rock Run area and the High Knob area. From the 1600-foot High Knob, three stone overlooks offer breathtaking views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys then continue to the northern reaches of the Shenandoah Mountains. The High Knob area also offers wooded picnic areas, three picnic shelters, and a large stone lodge, called the Tea Room. The picnic shelters and the Tea Room are available for reservation. The Rock Run area offers a cozy family-style campground, a picnic area, and a small pond for fishing.
History of Gambrill State Park
Gambrill State Park was named in honor of the late James H. Gambrill, Jr., a well-known citizen of Frederick. Mr. Gambrill was a conservationist who first brought attention to the beauty of the area in the early 1900’s. He believed that it was in the public’s best interest to develop the area into a park. Following his lead, a group of local citizens joined together to purchase the land. The group then donated the land to the City of Frederick to be used for a park. The City of Frederick soon-after gave the land to the State of Maryland for the development of Gambrill State Park.
Gambrill has over 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. All trails begin at the Trailhead Parking Lot on Gambrill Park Road, between the Rock Run area and the High Knob area. Many of the trails feature great views. Due to the rocky terrain and steep hills, most of the trails are rated moderate to difficult. However, the White Oak Trail is an easy one-mile loop trail, which makes it a good choice for families with small children. All trails close at sunset. Pets are allowed on the trails, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
All trails are open to horseback riding with the exception of the White Oak Trail, which is restricted to hiking. Parking for horse trailers is limited. The Maryland Park Service does not rent horses, and only provides the trails as a means of recreation.
Picnicking and Picnic Shelters
Picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and playground facilities are available at Gambrill State Park. The High Knob area also offers three rustic log picnic shelters, available for rent from April through October. Pets are allowed in the day-use area
The Rock Run area campground has 13 basic sites, 9 tent only sites, and 8 sites with electrical hookup. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and latern post. A dump station is available for sewage and potable water. A bathhouse is located at the center of the campground, with hot showers and flush-toilets. Pets are allowed in the campground, but must be kept on a leash and attended at all times.
Four camper cabins with electricity are in the Rock Run Campground. Each cabin has a double bed and a set of bunk beds and sleeps 4 people. Camper cabins have a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. All cooking must be done outside the cabin. The cabins have no heat. Campers may bring an electric heater or fan. Heat sources should not be left on while the cabin is unattended. No propane heaters are allowed. Campers must provide their own linens. Pets are permitted in Cabin 18.
The High Knob Nature Center features information on the CCC, as well as information on native wildlife. The Nature Center also has activity packets available for family activities such as scavenger hunts and self-guided hikes. The Nature Center is open by appointment when staffing levels permit. Please contact the Park Office to schedule access.
Gambrill State Park
8602 Gambrill Park Rd
Frederick, MD 21702