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sky over the potomac river at a state park near frederick marylandFrederick County is famous for its mountainous views, a skyline of clustered spirals, and essential crossroads. It is located at the intersection of some north-south Native American trails and east routes to the Chesapeake Bay.

No matter why you are visiting this beautiful county, whether it is to learn more about its Civil War history or perhaps to find the right antique for the perfect water lily, it will not disappoint you.

Another reason why Frederick County should be on your bucket list is the county’s rolling hills, abundant farmlands, and a wide variety of outdoor experiences like hiking, biking, camping, golfing, or even fishing. You will get everything you could possibly ask for here.

Map of State Parks Near Frederick MD

Here is a map of the Maryland state parks covered in this post:

List of State Parks Near Frederick

Here are each of those state parks with distance from Frederick and features that make each unique.

1. Gambrill State Park

Location: 8602 Gambrill Park Rd, Frederick, MD 21702

Located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains, Gambrill State Park is most famous for its features, such as 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. However, if you go on a 1600-foot high knob, you will experience breathtaking views of the Frederick and Middletown valleys.

The park is divided into two parts, the Rock Run area, and the High Knob area.

The High Knob offers wooded areas, three picnic shelters, and a big stone lodge, which is also known as the Tea Room. You can reserve the picnic shelters and The Tea room prior to your visit.

The second part of the park, The Rock Run area, will let you experience a cozy family-style picnic on its campground and a small pond nearby if you feel like fishing.

2. Fort Frederick State Park

historic cabin at a state park near frederick marylandLocation: 11100 Fort Frederick Rd, Big Pool, MD 21711

A public recreation and historic preservation area, Fort Frederick State Park is located south of the town of Big Pool. As a result of two wars, the French and Indian War (1754-1789) and the American Revolution War (1775-1783), the park is home to a unique stone fort built during the first war as a part of Maryland’s frontier defense.

The shape of the fort is like a quadrangle. Each corner has a bastion. There are three faces to the curtain wall, each 179 feet long, 17.5 feet tall, and 3 feet thick at the base. In addition, three bastions extend diagonally about 100 feet, each 4.5 feet thick at the bottom, to provide a platform.

Apart from fort tours, exhibits, and displays, the park also offers camping, fishing, picnicking, and a nature trail. Immediately to the west of the park is the 23-mile-long Western Maryland Rail Trail. If you visit the park on weekends in spring and fall, staff and volunteers don period clothing and occupy the fort to demonstrate everyday life in the 18th century.

3. Cunningham Falls State Park

Location: 14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788

The Cunningham Falls State Park encompasses Cunningham Falls, the longest waterfall in Maryland, a 43-acre artificial lake, and the remains of a historic iron furnace. It is one of the several protected areas located on the 50-mile-long Catoctin Mountain.

Locally, the park is known as McAfee Falls, after an early settler family. Above the falls, you can see an old homestead, an abandoned iron mine, and ruins from the third Catoctin iron furnace.

A portion of the park is devoted to the William Houck Area, which is three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77 and has a lake, falls, and camping area. The park also offers some recreation activities like hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, and camping.

4. Greenbrier State Park

fall colors around a lake in a state park near frederick marylandLocation: 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713

Created in 1963, the Greenbrier State Park is located in Appalachian Mountain, three miles away northeast of Boonsboro in Washington County. It offers a stunning 42-acre man-made freshwater lake and white sandy beach. The park draws many visitors who come here for activities like swimming, canoeing, boating, and fishing.

Throughout the year, you can visit the visitor center, which features information on South Mountain Recreation Area. They also have a small gift shop if you want to take home something to remember from this visit.

If you have come with hiking intentions, the hiking trail winds through a variety of wildlife habitats for almost eleven miles. You can also see many of the Earth’s geologic features in rock outcrops. And in the forest setting of Greenbrier State Park, you’ll find 164 campsites with fresh water and bathhouses in each loop.

With many features and offerings, this park has some campsites that the disabled can access. They also provide a beach wheelchair. You will also find two pet-friendly camping loops, an electric camping loop, camping sites, and RV hookups.

5. Seneca Creek State Park

Location: 11950 Clopper Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Located only 25 miles from Frederick, Seneca Creek State Park is a great destination for a family day trip.

This park covers 6300 acres of land, parts of which stretch along 14 miles of Seneca Creek and also cover 90-acre Clopper Lake. Both bodies of water make for excellent boating for canoe and kayak enthusiasts, and paddleboarding and other small watercraft fans can also use the lake.

The boat center on the lake offers hourly and daily rentals of a variety of watercraft and personal flotation devices if you would like to spend some time on the water without hauling in your own equipment.

For those who prefer to stay on land, Seneca offers 50 miles of trail systems for biking, hiking, and also horseback riding.

There are a variety of easy and moderate trails available, giving hikers and riders of all abilities the opportunity to partake of the beautiful landscapes and views of the lake and creek.

While there are no overnight camping facilities at this park, there are both reservation and first come first served picnic areas and pavilions.

For those looking for a unique activity, Seneca Creek State Park also offers a 27-hole disc golf course. This 32-acre course covers both open and forested land, and is excellent fun for both families and groups.


Although Frederick, MD, is a favorite with people who are passionate about history, food, art, antiques, shops, and festivals, you can’t miss this place’s natural beauty.

Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this gorgeous city, and turn your visit into a thrilling and memorable experience by visiting one of these nearby state parks.