Hog Rock Nature Trail is a well-traveled path that just may be all yours during a spring or fall weekday. The trail begins at the Hog Rock Parking Area where picnic tables adorn the thin woodland. Be sure to pick up an interpretive brochure before ascending the red maple-lined trail. The informative brochure is a wonderful work of nature study depicting eastern hardwoods. It serves as a great resource for students of botany.
Numbered posts coordinate with the brochure helping you identify the various trees. The most dominant forest tree is the red maple, an unmistakable species in the fall. Its brilliant crimson leaves are a major autumn attraction luring hordes of leaf-lookers to Catoctin Mountain. Other woodland trees include the beautiful southern dogwood, cornus florida, with its simple oval white blossoms and its fall red berries, a significant food source of songbirds. Legions of squirrels and chipmunks scampering about are the result of the stately shagbark hickories, white oaks, and chestnut oaks. This loop trail is easy to follow leading you to a beautiful overlook atop a huge flat green boulder dating back 600 millions years. After enjoying the view, follow the trail westbound, looping back to the parking lot.
Directions: From Thurmont, MD, Travel MD State Route 77 west approximately 3.5 miles turning right onto Park Central Road. Travel about 1/3 mile past visitor center to trailhead parking. Signage is excellent..
Elevation: 1,620 feet
Distance: 1.5 miles
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Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
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