Hogg Rock-Chimney Rock Circuit Hike
This 8.3-mile circuit hike can be started in a number of places, but my preference is to start at the Visitor Center and go clockwise. There are no blazes marking the trails, but they are usually easy to follow. After the hard winter, these trails could use some maintenance. Most trail intersections are well marked with destinations and mileage.
The first leg of this loop is the Falls Nature Trail. At a T-intersection after 1.2 miles, turn right to climb 1 mile up Hog Rock to 1610 ft. From this high point to the last one at Chimney Rock, there are a few minor ups and downs, but you basically remain up. From Hog Rock, continue north on part of the Hog Rock Nature Trail to Park Central Road, where there's a parking area and restrooms. From here it's only .3-mile to the Blue Ridge Summit Overlook, which provides a view towards the north. Curving around towards the east, it is 1.1-mile to Thurmont Vista with guess what--a view of the town of Thurmont.
|View from Hog Rock||View from Blue Ridge Summit Overlook||View from Thurmont Vista|
The trail continues gradually down a ridge 1.1-mile to Wolf Rock. Take the side path and climb up on the rocks. There are no great views here, but the formations are interesting, and it's a great place to have lunch in the sun.
Chimney Rock is 1/2 mile further on. Here, there are great views to the south and a few perches for lunch in the shade. The trail now starts a steep descent down towards park headquarters, but just before you reach there, turn right and climb up again. Nearing the end, this 1.2-mile ascent seems much harder than the one up Hog Rock, and when you get up to the intersection, it's another .4 mile down again to the Visitor Center.
|Panorama from Chimney Rock|
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