Items of Interest: Beautiful Drive, Hiking,
Parks, Camping, Fishing, Scant Traffic
(Located west of Thurmont Maryland
18 miles north of Frederick Maryland.)
Maryland Rt. 77 winds up into the Catoctin Mountains westward from Rt. 15 at Thurmont to Maryland Rt. 64, at which point you can take 64 South to Maryland 66.
For most of the ascent, a fresh water trout stream parallels the road, and in many spots arching trees form a complete canopy over the roadway.
Cunningham FallsCourtesy, Maryland State Parks
In some places, you would think you were in the Pacific Northwest because of the dense foliage and thick forest.
There are numerous stopping areas along the way to view Cunningham Falls, to visit at the Visitor's Center, or to join a hiking trail (all readily marked) into the forest.
There are also areas where you can "catch and release" trout (provided you have the proper equipment and licenses).
To the west of the road (there's a state park, Cunningham Falls, on the left and a national park, Catoctin Mountain, on the right) is Camp David - unmarked of course. We camped overnight for several days at Cunningham a few years ago, in one of their very bare cabins, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was our first time with such an adventure and found the state park very well run.
Beautiful at any time of the year, this is a drive that makes you wish you had purchased that sports car during your midlife crisis! It's hard to describe the wonderful feeling you have on this drive.
But seeing the fishermen in the stream, the hikers everywhere, the campers with their tents, and hearing the sound of a stream running over stones is very calming, to say the least.
On the descent you have a clear view of the Washington County valley with its farms and small towns.
It appears that it will be sometime before development blight comes to this area and with Rt. 77's being flanked by park land for several miles, at least this scenic route may be safe for the foreseeable future.
Catoctin Mountain FishingCourtesy, National Park Service