Exploring Catoctin Mountain State Park

For Labor Day Weekend Michael came up to visit and we decided that we wanted to hike/be outdoors somewhere neither of us had ever been... so we kept it close to home and drove up to Catoctin Mountain National Park in Maryland. We chose to do a little side hike to Cunningham Falls and then hike up to Hog Rock. The park has a whole circuit where you can hike up to Hog Rock, Blue Ridge Summit Overlook, Thurmont Vista, Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock. We got to the park around 11 am and every parking lot was completely full and there were people everywhere. I personally enjoy hiking and exploring in solitude but because it was Labor Day Weekend and we were at a popular state park, there was no way we were going to find any privacy. However, we got lucky and found a parking spot at the main visitors center and started the first part of our hike to Cunningham Falls. It's a 1.2 mile, easy, beautiful hike. When we got to the falls there were hundreds of people on the observatory decks and climbing all over the falls. Michael and I immediately made a decision to hike back behind the main falls to find some peace and quiet. So we hoped the fence and hiked up until we found smaller little cascades and lots of rocks to jump around on. 

ALSO I finally got a camera so this trip was my first opportunity to try it out. I'm still messing with all the settings but I love it.

Our peace and quiet only lasted for about half an hour before hoards of people started climbing back to where we were, so we left to move on to the second part of our trip. 

We then hiked up to Hog Rock which is about 1.4 miles from Cunningham Falls. It was a pretty overcast day and the view wasn't particularly spectacular, but we only passed a few people on the trail and had the outlook to ourselves for a majority of the time. 

One of the great things about this park is there is a ton of wildlife despite the large numbers of people that come through. I didn't get a lot of pictures of all the cool bugs, deer,  squirrels, mushrooms, etc. that we saw but there were sooo many things to see. We probably stopped every few minutes for Michael to poke at something or draw attention to something that he found. He has a great eye for stuff like that. 

I'll always say I wish places were less crowded... and now that I can only hike and get outside on weekends like every other person in the world, my opportunities for peaceful lonely hikes are limited. I really shouldn't be complaining though, at least I'm getting outside. AND the weather had called for a 70% chance of rain Sunday/Monday but it barely rained and we had great partly cloudy weather! So that's always a plus... For more information about Cunningham State Park go here

The rest of the weekend consisted of going out to eat, spending some time at a beautiful vineyard and relaxing on the front porch.

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend!