At a Glance
- April through October: 8 am to sunset
- November through March: 10 am to sunset.
- Some areas may be closed to vehicular traffic December-March and during periods of inclement weather.
- All areas are open to foot traffic year-round.
Cost: Year-round: MD residents: $3/vehicle; out-of-state residents: $5/vehicle. ◾ Pay at honor boxes in the Rock Run, High Knob, and trailhead areas. ◾ Additional charges for camping, picnic shelters.
Tips: Black bears occur in the park; be alert. ◾ Most of the trails have steep sections and rocky surfaces. Wear sturdy, closed-toe hiking boots or shoes. A hiking stick may be helpful. ◾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. Some areas may be closed to vehicular traffic December-March and during periods of inclement weather.
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
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.
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.
Gambrill State Park is part of the Maryland Blue Ridge Important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audubon Society.
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.
The Friends of Cunningham Falls State Park and Gambrill State Park, Inc. is a support group for the two parks. The members generate financial support necessary for supplementing the park’s budget. All proceeds go directly to the parks and are used for improvements such as the the renovated Nature Center at High Rock Scenic Area of Gambrill State Park, tree plantings, new safety equipment, updated vehicles, and heavy equipment. The Friends also provide continuing support for events such as the “Maple Syrup Festival”, “Tea In The Tea Room” and the “Friends 10K, 5K and Fun Run Race.” The Friends would welcome your donation or your membership as an active volunteer.
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.
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.
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.
Frederick County: Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary ◾ C&O Canal – Mouth of Monocacy to Brunswick ◾ Catoctin Mountain Park ◾ Cunningham Falls State Park ◾ Fred J. Archibald Audubon Sanctuary ◾ Lilypons Water Gardens ◾ Seymour B. Cooper MOS Sanctuary ◾ Sugarloaf Mountain
ConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Rivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)CampingEntry Fee (Daily, All Year)FishingHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingNature Education ProgramsOvernight Lodging or CabinsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewYoung People / Families
Type:Audubon Important Bird AreasState Parks