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“Nice Historic Park”

Gambrill State Park
Ranked #13 of 57 things to do in Frederick
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 October 2013

rented a primitive 1 room cabin for a weekend trip. The Park was very nice and conceniently located. Bathhouse was clean. Cabin was spartan but in good shape. There was a small fishing pond and nice hiking trails. We hiked up to the overlooks, they were very impressive. There was lots of reference to the park's history with the CCC. There was a nature center but it was not open that weekend. We would go here again for a weekend trip.

1  Thank terps101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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56 - 60 of 63 reviews

Reviewed 18 October 2013

Went to Gambrill State Park for 2 nights in a mini-cabin this week. Being mid-week in October, the campground was pretty empty. On Tuesday night, we were the only ones in our loop, but several other people came on Wednesday night. The mini cabin was sparse but adequate – just beds, a light bulb lighting fixture, and electrical outlets. You are permitted to take a portable electric heater. A picnic table, fire ring and lantern hooks were included on the site outside.

Arrival was confusing and a little frustrating. We had registered in advance online. We went to the cabin around 5 pm, entering the park but passing no one. The cabin was padlocked with no further instruction. The state park office was closed; the phone number on the office door was not answered. The “emergency” number went to a different park, causing confusion. Just as we were pulling out of the office lot, the ranger pulled in. He was just coming on duty, so I don’t know if anyone was on duty prior to that. Turns out that I think you can also ask the firewood guy at campsite 28 for help (he changes all the locks regularly), but we didn’t know that.

We very much enjoyed the hiking trails, generally following the hike from midatlantichikes.com, although we left from the campsite rather than the parking lot described in the hike (red trail has a trailhead from campground). We come from a pretty flat and rockless coastal area, so this was a nice step up from our regular trails.

The bathhouse did not have hot water when we were there. Other than that, it was fine.

Even though I outlined a couple of issues, we really did enjoy our time in this beautiful park. We would love to hike more trails in this area.

3  Thank Annacanna_70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2013

Was looking for an alternative to Shenandoah National Park camping when the government shut down and found Gambrill State Park. We had been camping at Catoctin National Park just a few months beforehand, and really loved the area, so we decided to check out this part of the park. Gambrill is a 34-site park that is well-maintained and quite nice. While it wasn't as nice as Catoctin (Owen's Creek campground), it was what we were looking for- quiet, wooded area super close to a trail that meets up with several others that circle the High Knobb area and Rock Run area. Our campsite #34 was probably the most secluded. The site was flat, although we noticed several other sites were not. And, llke another reviewer warned, a few of the sites are in the sun, but not all of them and certainly not ours. I don't know what Cunningham State Park campgrounds look like, but I chose this one because it sounded less crowded and it was. There were only a two other tent campers there Wed-Friday. There were 3 other RV couples. The site has about 20 RV sites with electric hook-ups, about 4 cabins, and about 10 strictly tent sites. The women's bathroom was great- very nice and clean compared to Owen's Creek more rugged bathroom. I had a hot shower and the bathroom with flush toilets to myself every time i went in. Each campsite has a fire ring with a removable grate overtop, a lantern post, and a picnic table. Firewood can be purchased for $5, or just bring your own small axe and go to town on the dead wood. There's plenty of kindling laying around. There's no campstore here like at Cunningham state Park, but I didn't really want nor need a campstore...I think people have different opinions on what camping should be like. Regardless, the site is just 5 mins up from Rte 40, which has a Kmart, grocery store, Home Depot, liquor stores (although it's prohibited in the park), every fast food spot known to man, gas stations, diners, etc. For Maryland residents, drive-in fee is $23. Bring cash.
The hiking is great. Our camping site #34 was right next to the trailhead that led up to all the other trails, which offer great views of the area from native-stone overlooks. Unfortunately, the lookouts were overrun with those pesky stinkbugs. I recommend the Black Locust trail if you're looking for a workout through the beautiful woods. The High Knobb area has plenty of tables, so bring a picnic and feast on your goodies after one of the long, beautiful hikes. Enjoy!

7  Thank CasaSweety4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2013

Walking trails are enjoyable, great scenic overlooks. Nice to visit on a hot day as there is usually a nice cool breeze up there.

3  Thank Goyde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2013

This has got to be considered a hidden jem. Even on 4th of July weekend, it was not very busy. Lots of trails at different rates of difficulty for bikers and hikers. Note to bikers - they are some pretty serious trails, even the moderate are pretty difficult - we did the green and the red - a good portion of the green was walking - where as red was a little more manageable.

I cant wait to go back and hike the black on foot. Everything is very well blazed and marked. There are lots of beautiful picnic spots with grills, and over-look views. It was pretty cool in temperature even on a hot day because of all the shade. The spring located at the top of the green trail is a great place to refresh yourself on a hot summer hike.

We camped for the weekend at Cunningham Falls, but drove to look at Gambrill campsites. They were pretty rough, at least compared to Cunningham falls - a lot of the pads were overgrown, there didnt seem to be enough space for a big tent, and lots of the spots were in full sun. I would recommend NOT tent camping here unless you like it really rugged - from what it looked like driving by the sites.

The area is really great - you can combine this park with a weekend and also check out Cunningham Falls, and Catoctin, and also downtown Thurmont and Frederick.

Cant wait to go back and explore more!

2  Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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