We love living and working in beautiful Frederick, MD! Maryland’s second-largest city is home to a diverse and stimulating population, many of whom take advantage of the region’s spectacular beauty and gentle, rolling topography. In fact, hiking Frederick, MD is something of an obsession with many Marylanders, who flock to natural areas such as Gambrill State Park, Discovery-Spring Garden, and Catoctin Creek Park & Nature Center.
Needless to say, many of us here at Green Goods are avid nature lovers too. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite options for hiking Frederick, MD. From easy hour-long strolls to more challenging day trips, you’ll find something that suits your abilities and ambitions here.
Whichever hikes you decide to try, be sure to prepare. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and don’t exert yourself past your limits. We want your hiking experience to be fun, rewarding, and safe!
Green Goods’ Favorite Spots for Hiking Frederick, MD
Monocacy National Battlefield / Thomas Farm Loop Trail
Frederick, MD 21704
A visit to Monocacy offers a chance to step back in time (and stretch your legs while you’re doing it). The Battle of Monocacy was a Civil War bout between Confederate and Union troops; while the Confederates won the battle, the Union was able to reinforce Washington, D.C., and avoid ultimate defeat. Today, the fields of Monocacy are starkly beautiful and serene. The park includes some seven loops, ranging from “easy” to “moderate” and up to 2 miles in length. Along the way, you’ll see some interpretive waysides to help explain the history of this spot.
Sensory Trail at Catoctin Creek Park & Nature Center
2929 Sumantown Rd
Middletown, MD 21769
The Catoctin Creek nature center is the centerpiece of a 138-acre parcel of pristine parkland about 20 minutes west of Frederick. Hike along the well-marked trails and creek to spot migratory bird habitats, the ruins of Colonial-era dwellings, and the lush forest for which Maryland is known. It’s a great choice for younger or less-experienced hikers, and many of the trails are ADA-accessible.
Annapolis Rock & Black Rock Cliff Trailhead
11175 Baltimore National Pike
Myersville, MD 21773
While it’s not located in Frederick proper, this regional attraction is just too good to pass up. While parts of the trail are somewhat strenuous, those who persevere will be rewarded by stunning vistas from both Annapolis Rock and Black Rock Cliff. Be forewarned, though: As a part of the Appalachian Trail, this trailhead is hardly a secret. Plan on coming early or at off-peak hours, or be prepared to share the road with other eager hikers.
Gambrill State Park
8602 Gambrill Park Rd
Frederick, MD 21702
Straddling the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains, Gambrill is a jewel of a park, boasting no fewer than 16 miles of mixed-use trails. Hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers all make good use of them, arguably making Gambrill the top spot for hiking in Frederick, MD. If you brave the climb to the top of 1600-foot High Knob, you’ll see stunning vistas of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys.
Ballenger Creek Trail Parking
5301 New Design Rd
Frederick, MD 21703
The conduit snaking between Ballenger Creek Park and Buckeystown Pike, this well-maintained, ADA-accessible hiking trail runs largely alongside the languid creek that lends the park its name. Walkers, joggers, skaters, and cyclists share the road here, making this 4.2-mile trail one of the most popular in the region.
Alternately, there’s a 1-mile loop, located close to the Ballenger Dog Park, that affords a more concentrated dose of nature for those on a tighter schedule.
Whichever trail you choose, you’ll be rewarded by the soothing sounds of the creek, the sight of fresh wildflowers poking through the nearby meadows, and all the sensory joys of a quiet communion with nature.