- The Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway is located in the central portion of Maryland from the Virginia to the Pennsylvania state lines.
- 37.85 miles (60 km)
- One hour to drive or 2 days to visit the Byway.
A delightful change from the hubbub and congestion of the D.C. and Baltimore areas, the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway offers an escape to exquisite mountains, waterfalls and hiking trails. The road wanders past two national parks, historic towns that have been lovingly restored, and famous battlegrounds.
This Byway follows Route 15 from the Virginia and Pennsylvania state lines through the heart of Maryland.
There are countless things to do along the way. Thousands of acres of parklands offer a network of hiking and biking trails, and numerous camp sites. Intriguing bits and pieces of Maryland history - of the native Americans, early explorers, religious shrines, and the Civil War battlefields - are found throughout the area. Historic Downtown Frederick presents a 50-block line up of restaurants and shops to enjoy a refreshing and friendly stop. Numerous B&Bs are also available for longer stays.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Appalachian National Scenic Trail (MD)
Stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the A.T. is one of the ultimate hiking opportunities and destinations of the United States.
C&O Canal (MD)
The C&O Canal National Historical Park preserves an early 19th Century canal. The park is part of a pathway system that connects Cumberland, Maryland with Washington, DC. Approximately 16 miles of the path runs alongside the Potomac River in southern Frederick County forming the southern terminus of the Byway. Recreational activities include hiking, cycling, skating, picnicking, and camping.
Catoctin Furnace (MD)
A good grade of hematite ore was discovered in the Catoctin Mountains in the 1770s by Thomas Johnson Jr., the first governor of Maryland. The Catoctin Furnace started producting pig iron in 1776. The fuel for the furnace was initially charcoal and the Catoctin forest provided the fuel for the furnace until 1873. Then the furnace was converted to coal. The remains of these iron works are found at the base of the Catoctin Mountains in Cunningham Falls State Park.
Catoctin Mountain Parks (MD)
In the 1930s, after years of making charcoal to fuel the iron furnace, land was purchased to be transformed into a productive recreation area; helping to put people back to work during the great depression. The WPA and CCC started constructing recreational camps for federal employees. One of the camps eventually became the home of the Presidential retreat, Camp David. The Presidential retreat is not open to the public, but the Park has many other attractions for visitors.
Take Route 15 17 miles north to Thurmont, MD. Take Route 77 West, the exit sign is, marked Catoctin Mountain Park. Travel approximately 3 miles west on 77 and turn right, onto Park Central Road. The Visitor Center is on the right.
Cunningham Falls State Park (MD)
Cunningham Falls State Park, located in the Catoctin Mountains, is known for its history and scenic beauty, as well as its 78-foot cascading waterfall. Tradition says the name Catoctin came from the tribe, the Kittoctons, who once lived at the foot of the mountains near the Potomac River. By the time the settlers began to arrive in the Monocacy River Valley, Native Americans were seldom seen.
The Houck Area is west of Thurmont. Follow MD Route 77 west, four miles to Catoctin Hollow Road.
Designated as one of America's "Dozen Distinct Destinations" bythe National Trust for Historic Preservation (2002), thousandsflock to Frederick's 50-block historic district every week to takein its breathtaking 18th and 19th Century architecture, its famousclustered spires, specialty shops, restaurants, and cultural artsofferings. Downtown Frederick boasts fine restaurants, galleries,antique shops and more than its share of Revolutionary and CivilWar ghosts.
Route 15 North/340 East from Virginia to Frederick. As you enter Frederick City continue straight through to South Street and make a right onto South Street. Follow South Street, staying in the left lane, through 2nd light, and make a left onto Market Street. Stay in the right lane on Market Street. Visitor Information signs will direct you to turn right onto Church Street. One-half block on the left, just past the parking deck, is the visitor center, 19 E. Church Street.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (MD)
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, located behind Mount SaintMary's University, is a replica of the famed Grotto of Lourdes in Franceand is the oldest such shrine in America.
National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (MD)
Visit the religious shrine honoring 1st American-born canonized saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. The shrine includes several buildings on the grounds, including a museum filled with exhibits and relics.
Point of Rocks (MD)
The Point of Rocks area is specifically unique for its relationship to thePotomac River, and interpretation of the flooding history associated withthe river and canal. The nearby railroad tunnel also offers opportunities todiscuss transportation history.
St. Paul's Church (MD)
During the Civil War, St. Paul's Church was used by Union troops of the United States Army. The building and its interior furnishings were used as barricades and for firewood. The building also served as a hospital and for cooking purposes. Following the war, the Vestry sued the United States Government for compensation and was awarded $1,000 by the 59th Congress for war damages. The payment was used for restoration purposes. There is also an outstanding view of Sugarloaf.
Take Clay Street east from US 15. Turn left on Ballenger Creek Pike (Old US 15). St. Paul's is on the left approximately 1 mile.