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Located in the northwest part of Maryland State, Gambrill State Park was named after James H Gambrill, Jr, who was instrumental in the parks establishment. He was a keen conservationist and persuaded local businessmen to purchase tracts of land and donate them to the city. The park was officially opened in September 1934, and many of the buildings here date from that period. Limited facilities are available when you go RV camping at Gambrill State Park.
The state park is on the edge of the Appalachian Mountain range at a height of over 1600 feet in places such as High Knob, giving spectacular views over the surrounding area. A short distance to the southeast are the two biggest cities in the state, Baltimore and Washington, DC, while the nearby city of Frederick provides all the amenities you need when you book an RV in Gambrill State Park.
The park contains over 16 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, all colour marked for easy navigation, and parking is available for your rental RV. Being a mountainous area, most of the trails have steep sections, are rated moderate to difficult, and it’s recommended that you wear suitable walking boots. One trail, the White Oak Trail is is recommended for families with small children as it’s a one-mile loop over easy terrain.
The park nature center provides information on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that provided the manpower to create the buildings and trails in the park. You can also collect information packs from here, such as trail guides and even scavenger hunts for families.
The CCC built the Tea Room in the park using native stone, and it is available to rent for events such as weddings, meetings or parties. It’s fully equipped and can accommodate up to 55 people.
A small fishing pond is located along the Rock Run, close to the campground, and is stocked with bass, bluegill, and catfish. No licence is required to fish, but swimming is not allowed in the pond.
One of the best features of the park are the three overlooks, giving spectacular views over the Frederick and Middletown Valleys. There is limited parking for your RV rental at the overlooks, so it is probably better to park at the campground and hike up. High Knob is the most popular, but with its massive stone staircase and flat-level platform, the Frederick Overlook is often used for weddings. All the overlooks close at sunset and overlooks can be booked for events by contacting the park wardens.
A small campsite is located within Gambrill State Park, and camping with an RV is allowed. If you require an electrical hookup, it is advisable to book early as there are only a small number available. There are also another 13 basic sites, and all sites have a fire ring, lantern, and a picnic table. All the sites are situated within the trees, so quite secluded and generally quiet.
Basic facilities are provided on the campground, including hot showers and flush toilets, but not much else. Your pets are also welcome, but must always be kept on a leash.
Just a few miles south, when RV camping at Gambrill State Park, you will find the town of Frederick. This large town offers all the services and amenities you will need, including several gas stations and plenty of shopping opportunities. You will also find a wide selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants to choose from.
Downtown Frederick is packed with interesting shops and places to visit, including many art galleries and antique stores and a bustling nightlife with plenty of live music venues. You’ll also find several museums in the area, including the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Along with many exhibits and display depicting the methods and instruments available for medical staff of the era, the museum also organizes walking tours around the Civil War hospital locations in Frederick. It’s a fascinating look back to the medical procedures of the past.
Another step back in time is Rose Hill Manor Park and Museum. Established in 1746, with the manor house being built in 1789. Along with the house, there is a log cabin, blacksmith shop, carriage collection, and three museums. Tours of the manor house are guided, so you’ll need to book in advance.
The carriage museum has numerous restored carriages and sleighs on display, mostly from the era just before the introduction of the car. The farm museum exhibits take you back to life on a farm in the region during the 19th century. You will learn about the tools and practices used during the period, plus spring and fall festivals are organised every year with demonstrations, home-style cooking, farm animals and more. It makes a fun day out for all the family. Lastly, the Children’s Museum is dedicated to providing a fun learning experience, where children can learn about life in early America through interaction with exhibits and role play.