At a Glance
Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Visitor Center hours: 9 am – 5 pm during the fall; closed on the following federal holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.
Tips: Some of the park roads are closed in the winter; check the Official Website at link below for updates. ◾ Copperheads and timber rattlesnakes are occasionally seen on rock outcroppings. Black bears are common, but rarely seen. ◾ Trails vary in difficulty; hiking boots are recommended. ◾ Public hunting is not allowed in the park, but park employees conduct a managed deer hunt and there may be closures associated with the managed hunt.
Best Seasons: Year-round, but spring and fall migrations are most productive.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Blue Ridge Summit CW, Blue Ridge Summit SW, Blue Ridge Summit SE, Catoctin Furnace NE, Smithsburg SE
Local MOS Chapter: Frederick Bird Club
Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont Road, MD 21788
Catoctin Mountain Park, managed by the National Park Service, encompasses 8 square miles on the Catoctin Mountain ridge, on the eastern ramparts of the Appalachian Mountains. It features sparkling streams, rock outcroppings, extensive hiking trails, and panoramic views. The Manahan Road area has the most reliable population of Cerulean Warblers in this part of Maryland and nesting populations of several other warbler species. The nearby Owens Creek Picnic Area includes the Brown’s Farm Nature Trail that is also good for warblers, including Louisiana Waterthrush. Wood Thrush, Ovenbird; other denizens of mature deciduous forests are common throughout the park.
Over 120 species have been reported on eBird from Catoctin Mountain Park. A number of eBird hotspots cover the park, including:
- Catoctin Mountain (overall area) – 125+ species
- Catoctin Mountain Park–Brown Farm Nature Trail at Owens Creek Picnic Area – 63+ species
- Catoctin Mountain Park–Chestnut Picnic Area – 23+ species
- Catoctin Mountain Park–Owens Creek Campground – 81+ species
- Manahan Road – 91+ species
- Thurmont Vista Trail – 55+ species
The park has breeding populations of Cerulean, Hooded, and Kentucky Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Yellow-throated Vireo, Veery, Baltimore Oriole, and Scarlet Tanager. Regularly seen are most woodpecker species, Red-eyed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Common Raven, and small woodland birds. In migration, the park is a good place to find a variety of additional warbler species, migrating hawks and thrushes. In the winter, Purple Finch and kinglets can be seen.
Paved and gravel parking lots are available throughout the park; see Trail Map at link at left. Roadside parking is only permitted along Manahan Road.
Camp David, the Presidential Retreat, is located within the park. When the President is in residence, large sections of the park and some public roads may be closed. However, both Manahan Road and Owens Creek Picnic Area usually remain open. ◾ Catoctin Mountain Park is part of the Maryland Blue Ridge Important Bird Area (IBA), as designated by the National Audubon Society. ◾ Catoctin Mountain Park is not open for public hunting, but the National Park Service employs licensed sharpshooters to manage the deer population with the goal of protecting the ecosystem. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Frederick Bird Club, which hosts fields trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
From MD Route 15 in Thurmont, take Route 77 west for about 3 miles to the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor’s Center on the right. To reach Manahan Road, continue on Route 77 for another 3 miles and turn right on Foxville-Deerfield Road. After a short distance, turn right on Manahan Road. The best birding begins after crossing the Park Central Road. To reach Owens Creek Picnic Area, stay on Foxville-Deerfield Road for another mile to the turn-off for the picnic area on the right.
Frederick County: Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary ◾ C&O Canal – Mouth of Monocacy to Brunswick ◾ Cunningham Falls State Park ◾ Fred J. Archibald Audubon Sanctuary ◾ Gambrill State Park ◾ Lilypons Water Gardens ◾ Seymour B. Cooper MOS Sanctuary ◾ Sugarloaf Mountain
Features:BeginnersCampingFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeGift Shop or BookstoreHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingNature Education ProgramsOvernight Lodging or CabinsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:Audubon Important Bird AreasNational Parks & Monuments