Gambrill State Park | Outdoorsy

Gambrill State Park
Guide

Introduction

Showcasing jaw-dropping views of the surrounding area and featuring tree-covered mountains, valleys, and spectacular wooded areas, Gambrill State Park is a dream destination for RV nature lovers. Located just outside of Frederick, Maryland, this state park is a must-visit for your next RV getaway. Originally opened back in 1934, the park was constructed with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps and many buildings in the park are still standing from this time. There are countless opportunities for outdoor recreation in this unique mountain landscape. From hiking and fishing to picnicking and visiting the Nature Center, Gambrill State Park offers a diverse array of outdoor adventures.

The overlook views of Gambrill State Park are spectacular, from the rising 1,600-foot High Knob to the cozy-family style Rock Run area. You will love soaking up the mountain air while being surrounded by nature, including native wildlife and snakes that live in the area. Once you park your camper at Gambrill State Park, you can wander out onto any of the 16 miles of trails located in the park. All trails are open for equestrians, except the White Oak Trail, which is restricted to hiking.

Planning on staying in the area? Gambrill State Park has multiple RV-friendly sites that feature electric hookups, tent-only sites, camper cabins, and group camping areas. Gambrill State Park is an excellent RV destination no matter what time of the year you come to visit, but keep in mind that all accommodations are only available during the peak season, which runs from April to October.

RV Rentals in Gambrill State Park

Transportation

Driving

Gambrill State Park is very easily accessible by car or RV for even beginners since it is located near Frederick off of U.S. Route 40. Local roads will take you wherever you want to go in the park, from the scenic overlooks and pavilion to the picnic areas and trailheads. There are no driving restrictions for RVs or trailers within the park, so you will be able to get around easily, whether you are in your RV or another vehicle.

During the winter months, the campground at the park shuts down, but the park will still be open if you would like to visit during this time. Since there can be some snow in the area during these months, you do have the option to call the park office to double-check that it will be open during your planned arrival.

Parking

There are numerous options to park RVs and trailers, with nine lots located throughout the park. You'll be able to locate spots at the picnic areas, the pavilion, fishing areas, and near the trailheads. Of course, if you are staying overnight, you can park at the campground. Should you want to get out and stretch your legs, park your RV at the picnic area and take a short walk on the One Mile Red Maple Trail that will take you to the rest of the park. Just be sure to watch out for one short steep section.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Gambrill State Park

Campsites in Gambrill State Park

Reservations camping

Harpers Ferry / Civil War Battlefields KOA

RV travelers looking for a place to stay outside of the park should consider calling Harpers Ferry / Civil War Battlefields KOA home for your trip. Located around 25 miles to the southwest, the campground offers you the chance to stay in luxury.

The campground features a mixture of site options, including back-in and pull-through full-hookup sites that are suitable for RVs up to 60 feet in length. It is also home to a specialty coffee and wine store, junior Olympic swimming pool, jumping pillow, and giant inflatable area to keep the kids entertained. If you are traveling with your dogs don't forget to bring your furry friends to the Bark Zone Dog Park for some run and playtime.

Harpers Ferry / Civil War Battlefields KOA is also open all year round so it is a great option to stay during the off-season. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance.

Rock Run Campground

The Rock Run Campground within Gambrill State Park is the best place to stay for RV travelers wanting to be as close as possible to all the fun activities at the park. Featuring 21 RV-friendly sites, eight of which come equipped with electric hookups, the campground is located in a forested setting and is known for being kept in great condition.

Each site is equipped with a gravel pad, picnic table, and fire ring for you to enjoy, and you will also be close to the restrooms, hot showers, and the dump station. The campsites are close to all the action of the park, including nature trails, picnic areas, and a fishing pond.

There is no Wi-Fi accessibility, and cell phone service may be spotty at times. Generator use is allowed except during quiet hours at night. You may stay up to 14 days at a time at the Rock Run Campground, which is open from April to October.

Alternate camping

Alternative Camping Options at Gambrill State Park

Not bringing an RV with you? Don't fret; there are still many great camping opportunities if you would like to stay in the great outdoors. If you are planning on visiting the park with a group, you will be happy to know that there are two group camps areas available for reservation. Each site features similar amenities, and they are suitable for groups of up to 20 people.

Another option is to pack a tent and stay at one of the nine sites within the main Rock Run Campground area that are suitable for tent-only camping. These sites are smaller than those that are suitable for RV camping, but they will offer you more privacy. Both the group and tent-only sites are open for reservations during the peak season.

Cabins at Gambrill State Park

Another accommodation option for your stay at Gambrill State Park are the camper cabins. There are four cabins within the Rock Run Campground that feature some great amenities that are perfect for a weekend getaway.

All four of the cabins are powered and can sleep up to four people with a double and bunk bed set. Outside of the cabin is where you can cook up a storm with a fire ring, picnic table, and lantern post. Please note that you will have to bring your own linen for the cabins, and they don't feature a bathroom, cooling, or heating amenities.

Since there are only four cabins available reservations well in advance are recommended so you don't miss out. Like the other camping options, all cabins are only available during the peak season.

Seasonal activities in Gambrill State Park

Off-Season

Picknicking

Picnicking is a great way to spend an afternoon at Gambrill State Park, and thanks to the three rustic log picnic shelters there are picnic facilities available for groups of all shapes and sizes. The shelters are available for rent and feature picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and have playground facilities nearby for your friends and family to enjoy during your RV vacation. Pets are also allowed in the day-use areas of the park, and there is plenty of room to throw down a picnic blanket too.

Stone Overlooks

Gambrill State Park has three amazing stone overlooks built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps that provide jaw-dropping views of the surrounding areas. The High Knob area provides views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys. The Frederick Overlook has a massive stone staircase and platform that is popular for weddings. North Frederick Overlook provides amazing views to the east of Catoctin Mountain. North Frederick Overlook is closed to vehicle traffic from December to March.

Visiting the Nature Center

If you wish to learn more about the park's history, park your rig and head to the High Knob Nature Center. There is information on the stone overlooks that were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and abundant information regarding the wildlife that is native to Gambrill State Park. There are also activity packets available should you wish to take a self-guided hike or participate in a scavenger hunt. If you have any questions you may want to ask during your stay, this is also the best time to do so.

In-Season

Horseback Riding

If you are an adventurous equestrian, you will jump at the chance of hitting the trails at Gambrill State Park. This state park does not provide any corrals, however, you are free to hit all of the trails, except the White Oak Trail. You may also park your horse trailer at the White Oak Trail, but space is limited. The remaining five trails are rated moderate or difficult due to their rocky terrain and steep hills, so they are recommended only for experienced horseback riders who are familiar with riding mountain trails.

Biking

Gambrill State Park is an amazing place to bring your bike and cruise on out into the mountainous terrain. Once you park your RV you can cycle down the Green Ash Trail, which is a two-mile steep-sloped trail that is great for a short ride. Another great biking trail is the three-mile Black Locust Trail. Here you can conquer the steep slopes or level areas while you check out the incredible views of Frederick Valley on the east or Middletown Valley on the west.

Hiking

You will definitely want to ensure that you bring your hiking boots in your motorhome since there are over 16 miles of hiking trails to enjoy at Gambrill State Park. There are trails suitable for any difficulty level thanks to the steep mountain terrain that greatly varies in elevation.

If it's a short, easy stroll that you need, check out the White Trail. This is a one-mile trail that is only open to hikers and allows you to take in the scenery all around you. This trail is also great for those RV adventurists with children.

For a much longer trail to just clear your head and think on, then consider the Yellow Popular Trail. This seven-mile trail has you passing stone overlooks, ascends you down the mountain and stretches far out into the park. All of the trails are pet-friendly and begin on Gambrill Park Road at the Trailhead Parking Lot.

Find the perfect campsite.