What to do in Gathland State Park

Gathland State Park was once the mountain home of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist. It is the site of a unique collection of buildings and structures that he designed and constructed, some of which have been restored. A large, stone monument dedicated to war correspondents is an outstanding attraction at this day use park.

The park includes all of Crampton's Gap, which was the southernmost gap fought over during the battle of South Mountain. Fought September 14, 1862, it was the first major battle of the Civil War fought in Maryland.

A large, stone monument dedicated to war correspondents is an outstanding attraction at Gathland State Park. This day use park, totaling 140 acres, hosts a segment of the Appalachian Trail passing the monument base. Other outdoor creations enjoyed at this historic park include cross-country skiing, picnicking, hiking, and touring the visitor center.

The state park is assisted through the helpful efforts of The Friends of Gathland State Park, Inc. It is a non-profit 501(C)(3) volunteer organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the historic, cultural and natural resources of the park, the War Correspondents Arch and the site of the Civil War battle of Crampton's Gap. These volunteers lecture at a small museum, give interpretive tours, help maintain visitor's area and have special events and fundraisers. They are in the process of establishing a George Alfred Townsend reference library and a museum depicting the Battle of South Mountain. Contact The Friends of Gathland State Park, P.O. Box 192, Burkittsville, MD 21718 for details.

Features of the park include cross-country skiing, viewing historic sites and re-enactments, a hiking trail, picnicking, and touring the visitor center.

Gathland State Park is located in Western Maryland within Washington and Frederick Counties, 1 mile west of Burkittsville, off MD State Route 17.

Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

c/o Greenbrier State Park
21843 National Pike
Boonsboro, MD 21713-9535

Phone: 301-791-4767

Fax: 301-791-0962

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