Cunningham Falls Nature Trail is an easy alternative to the busy Cunningham Falls Lower Trail, still offering the same sight but with a more remote approach. You begin from the far end of the parking lot across from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center located on Park Central Road, north of MD State Route 77.
The trail is only 1.5 miles offering sights of lovely old white oaks, sugar maples, hemlocks, rhododendrons, and a sprinkling of wildflowers. Notice the abundance of birdsong, most prominent in the morning hours. The forest is filled with hundreds of species including the elusive wild turkey. As you approach Cunningham Falls, you'll enter state park property where the forest becomes noticeably noisier, not from birds but from humans. As you walk along the trail that now overlaps with Lower Trail, boardwalks assist your boulder-strewn journey. After enjoying this fabulous sight, and perhaps taking a cool dip, retrace your steps back into Catoctin Mountain Park.
Another side hike is possible. Signs directing you to Hog Rock lead to an outcropping stretching 1,610 feet above sea level.
Directions: From Thurmont, MD, Travel MD State Route 77 west approximately 3.5 miles turning right onto Park Central Road. Park across from the visitor center; trail begins on the far side of the parking lot across from the visitor center.
Elevation: 1,300 feet
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
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