Travel reviews by
Catoctin Mountain Park
Based on 60 traveler reviews
Leaf Peeping Trip
Oct 19, 2014 by: R Dale S from Columbia, Maryland
My wife and I like to drive through colorful areas in the fall for leaf peeping. We have been to Catoctin before and really liked it. We went today (Saturday, 18 October 2014) and it was good, but not the best we have seen there in past years. Basically, we were probably a week late. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the drive on local roads and on park roads. It was obvious that there were a lot of people parked at the many trail heads for camping, picnicing and/or hiking. The visitor center lot was over flowing.
No Peace, No Quiet
Sep 02, 2014 by: ljk73 from Annapolis, Maryland
We like to go camping over Labor Day, so this year we chose Owens Creek Campground. Our actual camp site was nice. Level tent area, large site, nice fire ring, lovely woods, great access. It should have been a wonderful weekend. There are 50 camp sites and a grand total of two (2) showers, one for women, one for men. Plan accordingly. While the restrooms had hot and cold running water as well as an outside area for washing dishes, the bathroom stalls were frequently out of toilet paper, I never saw any hand soap, and the other campers trashed the restroom to the point that the floor was a muddy mess. Worse, the noise level created by the other campers was unbelievable. Whether it was a pack of small children running through the woods screaming/playing until 9:30pm, a baby crying for what seemed like two days, or a group that brought their pack of unsocialized hunting dogs -- it was a relentless CACOPHONY of noise. This campground is part of the national park system, and there should be more and better monitoring and insistence of reasonable noise levels. It's a shame that a few inconsiderate, rude campers were allowed to ruin the camping experience of others. In the end, we left a day early to return to the suburbs where the noise level is much, much less. Tip: You must buy your firewood at the campground. It is $5 per bucket, which amounts to approximately 5-7 logs depending on size. Plan on $5 per day.
We did the main loop circuit from the visitor center
Jul 27, 2014 by: HelenaGuerra from Washington DC, District of Columbia
It's about 5 miles but there is nothing really remarkable except a few vistas in a couple of spots. The forest is beautiful though. The signage could be much better as we almost got lost at some point. The visitors center should always be referenced in the arrows along the way, in my opinion. The falls were packed and people were completely disregarding the warnings forbidding to walk on the rocks which I thought ridiculous.
Quiet Week in the Woods
Jul 02, 2014 by: pkrchrds from Savannah, GA
My wife and I stayed at Owens Creek campground in a small pop-up (no hookups) for a Sunday to Saturday camp. The site was wooded, near the creek and peaceful. The facilities were clean when we arrived late Sunday but no one cleaned the bathrooms for the first 2 days we were there. The good news was that there were only a few of us in the park. Kudos to the families of campers who arrived on our last night (a Friday). The park was as quiet that night as any. We visited throughout the park. Easy hikes and beautiful scenery. Wood is available for campfires. Thurmont or Smithburg are nearby for groceries. It you have a Verizon contract then you are in luck as it gives you great connection in most areas of the park. We even watched a US World Cup match on our phone. While the park is full of things to do, you have the added bonus of being about equidistant to both Antietam and Gettysburg, about a half hour drive away in opposite directions. We definitely enjoyed the trip and have already booked for June of 2015. There is Harper's Ferry, more hiking and a couple of vineyards left to be explored.
Hidden Gem -- very quiet and private
Jun 26, 2014 by: FMCMaryland from Maryland
We booked a site online for Owens Creek campground, based upon the knowledge that a friend had stayed there recently. We were looking for a quiet campground, primarily one for tenting. Owens Creek fit the bill exactly. The fee per site is $25.00. Reservations can be made online, but we found that we did not need one in the middle of the week, even in a prime weather week in June. We stayed in site #15 (there are about 50 sites total). Since there were so many vacant sites, we drove around to see if we wanted to change to another location, but we decided to stay where we started. First of all, the whole area is really nicely wooded, with large poplars and other trees. The screening between sites is excellent. There are two bath houses in the campground. The one nearest us (across from Site 18) did not have a shower, but the toilet facilities were clean and well maintained. The other bath house, not far away, is next to where the campground host was located; it had one shower stall. [Another option is the very nice bath house at the beach at nearby Cunningham Falls State Park, where there are many showers with doors that close, benches, and adjustable showers]. Each site has a tent pad, which is made of timber borders and is filled with gravel topped with wood chips. For Site #15, the tent pad was a few steps below the main part of the site where the picnic table was located, which made for even more privacy. I would avoid Site #18, which is right next to the septic field below the bath house. Wood is available for $5.00 per bucket. There is an outside water tap at the bathroom building, and there is also a separate utility sink area, so dishwashing can be done easily. There were a couple of handicapped tent sites near the wood shed area.
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