Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail is quite a pretty hike. The geological highlights like Wolf Ridge and Chimney Rock are interesting stops and much more impressive once you get on top of them.
Don’t skip them — they don’t look like much from the trail, but they’re worth climbing up and exploring. There are no blazes as noted in the Hiking Upwards directions, but they have tied blue ties along the trees for the first 1.4 miles to keep folks on the trail as it’s mostly rocks at first and hard to see where the trail goes at points. It is very well signed — hard to take a wrong turn here.
We did this on a Saturday morning, arriving about 10:30am to the parking lot. Not many folks there but it fills up fast after that. Only one other couple was on Chimney Rock & Wolf Rock when we arrived in midday in April, but the lot was packed when we returned.
We didn’t take our poles and you really don’t need them on this hike.
There is a bathroom at the Hog Rock parking lot, a bit over halfway, but no water so have enough with you for the full circuit. Past Hog rock, and especially the last 1.4 miles to the visitor center, is more of a stroll than a hike — very easy trail. Friends did this one in the fall as well and they commented the colors were beautiful and it made for a really nice fall hike.
After doing the loop as listed, if we did it again we’d go to the Hog Rock parking lot or perhaps as far as Hog Rock Overlook and then head back around the loop the way we came and skip Cunningham Falls. If you’re going to see the falls, which are nice, arrive early and hit the falls on the way in. They are packed later in the day with dozens of folks scrambling all over them. The hike from Hog Rock to the falls and then back around to the visitor center is okay, but it’s where the trail is the most crowded due to the multiple parking areas within easy reach of those bits. The less crowded parts and the parts of the trail that make it a hike and not a stroll are all in the first half. Hog Rock Overlook isn’t as nice a view as Thurmont or Blue Ridge so it could be skipped as well. Turning around at the parking lot or Hog Rock would give a loop back to your car still and come out 9.2 or 9.8 miles.
|Elevation Gain||1370 feet|
|Temperature Range||upper 60s|
|Pack||CamelBak Aventura hydration pack|
|Navigation||Written notes 🙀|
|Shoes||Keen H2 sandals|
|Clothes||Top: Mesh tank|
Bottom: Knee-length sweatshorts
See my current gear, clothing, and thoughts about it on the Hiking Gear page.