Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. Its most popular feature is the 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The park is separated into two areas, the Rock Run area and the High Knob area. From the 1600-foot High Knob, three stone overlooks offer breathtaking views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys then continue to the northern reaches of the Shenandoah Mountains. The High Knob area also offers wooded picnic areas, three picnic shelters, and a large stone lodge, called the Tea Room. The picnic shelters and the Tea Room are available for reservation. The Rock Run area offers a cozy family-style campground, a picnic area, and a small pond for fishing.
History of Gambrill State Park
Gambrill State Park was named in honor of the late James H. Gambrill, Jr., a well-known citizen of Frederick. Mr. Gambrill was a conservationist who first brought attention to the beauty of the area in the early 1900ís. He believed that it was in the publicís best interest to develop the area into a park. Following his lead, a group of local citizens joined together to purchase the land. The group then donated the land to the City of Frederick to be used for a park. The City of Frederick soon-after gave the land to the State of Maryland for the development of Gambrill State Park.
Bike Demo - Saturday, April 13, 2013 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gambrill State Park will host the Bike Doctor and Trek Bicycles in the High Knob Area on April 13, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Trek Bicycle demonstrations. Visitors will be able to ride the trails and roads with new 2013 mountain bikes, road bikes and womenís specific design bikes. No reservations required. For more information please contact Gambrill State Park at 301-293-4170.
Third Annual Youth Fishing Rodeo - Saturday, April 20, 2013 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Gambrillís Rock Run Pond will be stocked and ready! Spend a few hours at the park with your kids as they fish for stocked trout. Prizes will be awarded to youth angler participants. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. This event is limited to the first 35 youths aged 14 and under. For more information or to register contact 301-293-4170 today!
Pets are allowed in Gambrill State Park in the following areas:
- Pets are allowed in campground
- Pets are allowed on all trails
- Pets are allowed in day-use area
The Civilian Conservation Corps
Most of the buildings and facilities within the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The CCC was a Federal program that was created during the Great Depression. The goal of the program was to create jobs for young men and to help restore the nationís struggling natural resources.
Gambrill has over 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. All trails begin at the Trailhead Parking Lot on Gambrill Park Road, between the Rock Run area and the High Knob area. Many of the trails feature great views. Due to the rocky terrain and steep hills, most of the trails are rated moderate to difficult. However, the White Oak Trail is an easy one-mile loop trail, which makes it a good choice for families with small children. All trails close at sunset. Pets are allowed on the trails, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
All trails are open to horseback riding with the exception of the White Oak Trail, which is restricted to hiking. Parking for horse trailers is limited.
Features of the Tea Room
The Tea Room has been a popular feature of Gambrill State Park for over 70 years. The Tea Room is a native-stone building, built by the CCC in the 1930ís. It was originally designed for community events and gatherings. Today, the building remains a popular location for weddings, family reunions, business meetings, and other special events.
The Tea Room has a kitchen, a dining room, and two restrooms. The kitchen is designed for cooking and serving food, with a refrigerator, sink, and conventional oven. Tables, chairs, and firewood are also provided. The building is available for rent from April through October, and can accommodate up to 75 people. Pets are not allowed in the Tea Room.
Picnicking and Picnic Shelters
Picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and playground facilities are available at Gambrill State Park. The High Knob area also offers three rustic log picnic shelters, available for rent from April through October. Pets are allowed in the day-use area
The Rock Run area of Gambrill State Park has a campground with 34 campsites. Tent camping will start April 5, 2013. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. Some campsites also have electric hook-ups. All types of camping units are welcome. A dump station is available for sewage and potable water. A bathhouse is located at the center of the campground, with hot showers and flush-toilets. Pets are allowed in the campground, but must be kept on a leash and attended at all times.
Four camper cabins with electricity are also available in the Rock Run Campground. Camper cabins are designed to sleep up to four people, with one bunk bed and one full size bed. Linens are not provided. Each cabin site has a picnic table, fire ring, and lantern post. All cooking must be done outside the cabin. The cabins do not have heat or air conditioning. Campers may bring an electric heater or fan. Propane heaters are not allowed. Pets also are not allowed inside the camper cabins.
A small pond is located in the Rock Run area, just a short walk from the campground. The pond has a healthy population of large mouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. A Maryland fishing license is required for anglers ages 16 and over. Additional fishing information can be found in the Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide. Swimming or wading is not allowed in the pond. Pets also are not allowed in the pond. Purchase a Maryland Fishing License.
The High Knob area of Gambrill State Park is known for its breathtaking views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys. The park has three native-stone overlooks, which were all built by the CCC in the 1930ís.
The High Knob Nature Center, located in the High Knob area of Gambrill State Park, is open by appointment when staffing levels permit. Please contact the Park Office to schedule access.
The Nature Center features information on the CCC, as well as information on native wildlife. The Nature Center also has activity packets available for family activities such as scavenger hunts and self-guided hikes.
Gambrill State Park offers an accessible comfort station and campground building. For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Parks, visit the Accessibility For All section of this website.
Gambrill State Park is located approximately 51 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., and 53 miles west of Baltimore on Catoctin Mountain. From U.S. 70, exit onto U.S. Route 40 at Frederick. Travel approximately six miles. Turn right onto Gambrill Park Road and follow it approximately one mile to the park entrance.
Gambrill State Park
8602 Gambrill Park Road
Frederick MD 21702
Phone: 301-293-4170 or
Hours of Operation
8 a.m. to Sunset, April-October
10 a.m. to Sunset, November-March
Certain activities are permitted outside of the regular park hours (e.g. fishing, boat launch, hunting where permitted). Please check with the park before your visit if you plan to engage in an activity which requires you to be in the park before or after the posted hours.
Contact the Park Service
- Toll Free: 1-800-830-3974
- Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
- Park Watch: 1-800-825-7275
- Email Us