At a Glance

Hours: 8 am to sunset, April-October; 10 am to sunset, November-March.

Cost: MD residents: $3/vehicle; out-of-state: $5/vehicle.

Tips: Black bears occur in the park; be alert. ◾ Hunting is not allowed at Gambrill State Park. ◾ Restroom locations are shown on the Trail Map at the link below.

Best Seasons: Spring and fall. North Frederick Overlook & Rock Run Areas are closed to vehicular traffic December-March and during periods of inclement weather. All areas are open to foot traffic year-round.

Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Frederick NW, Frederick CW, Middletown NE

Local MOS Chapter: Frederick Bird Club

Gambrill State Park

8602 Gambrill Park Road, Frederick, MD 21702
(301) 271-7574

Gambrill State Park is a beautiful 1,200-acre mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains northwest of the city of Frederick. The park has two visitor sections: Rock Run has a campground, picnic tables, camping and a small fishing pond; High Knob has extensive picnic facilities and stunning views to the east and west.

The Trailhead Parking Area off Gambrill Park Road between the Rock Run and High Knob areas is a convenient access point for a network of over 16 miles of trails. Gambrill State Park is part of a large area of contiguous woodland that includes the Frederick City Watershed and Cooperative Wildlife Management Area, Cunningham State Park, and Catoctin Mountain Park.

Early morning at the Rock Run area provides the most rewarding birding. A walk along the Rock Run camping area rim road is always productive. Please respect camper privacy and avoid walking  through camp sites.

Birdlife:

Over 105 species have been reported to eBird from the park. Gambrill State Park is a wonderful migrant trap and a very reliable spot for migrant warblers and thrushes. Common migrant warblers include Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, and American Redstart; more difficult to find species such as Mourning, Connecticut, Cape May, and Wilson’s have also been reported here. Nesting warblers include Hooded Warbler, Ovenbird, and Worm-eating Warbler. Other easily found breeding birds include Brown Thrasher, Wood Thrush, Eastern Towhee, Red-eyed Vireo, most woodpecker species and small woodland birds. Winter species such as Purple Finch and Red-breasted Nuthatch occur in some years.

Parking:

Parking areas at Rock Run and High Knob are paved and ample. Parking is only allowed in lots; no parking is permitted on roadsides. The Trailhead Parking Area is gravel and located mid-way between Rock Run and High Knob.

Special Features:

During warm weather, High Knob is a popular picnic area. Large picnic shelters are available for rent. The Tea Room, a native-stone building that holds up to 75 people, is available for rent for meetings and gatherings from April through October. ◾ Gambrill State Park is part of the Maryland Blue Ridge Important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audubon Society. ◾ 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.

Directions:

From I-70, exit onto US Route 40 at Frederick. Travel approximately six miles west on US Route 40. Turn right (north) onto Gambrill Park Road and follow it approximately one mile to the park entrance on the left. The park Visitor Center is located on the park road, north of the high Knob Nature Center.

Nearby Sites:

Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, Greenbrier State Park.

Habitats:

ConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Rivers & Streams

Features:

BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)CampingFishingFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsNature Education ProgramsOvernight Lodging or CabinsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewYoung People / Families

Type:

Audubon Important Bird AreasState Parks