Chimney Rock with is awesome views, boulders, crevaces, and eroded stone formations is part of the ancient Appalachian Mountains that were formed 250 million years ago. Geologically speaking, these mountains are very old and worn due to erosion over time.
In the eastern half of the park at Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock, the rocks have been metamorphosed into a hard, weather-resistant rock called quartzite. This area is part of the Weverton Formation. The Weverton Formation, named for its formation near the town of Weverton, is the main ridge-making formation in the eastern mountains in Maryland. The formation is composed of quartz cemented together by a secondary, less developed quartz.
There are rattlesnakes (timber and copperheads) in the area so be careful!
Trailhead: The trailhead is located in the Catoctin Mountain National Park. To reach the trailhead take route 15 towards Thurmont where you will pick up 77 West. You will see the entrance for the park approximately 2.5 miles on the right. Proceed to the Visitor Center at the intersection of Park Central Road. The trail is in the corner of the parking area. None of the trails have blazes but they are easy to follow and are well signed at all intersections.
Leaving the parking lot the trail climbs steadily. At .6 miles a trail junction comes in from the right. Take the trail to the right. Another junction is reached in .2 miles. Continue to the right or straight towards Chimney Rock. Here you will begin a long descent, sometimes rather steeply, often along large boulders. At about 1.7 miles as a junction leading to the park headquarters (where you can also start your hike). From here the trail climbs pretty quickly (roughly 700 feet in less than a mile) with a number of switchbacks. The trail levels off for a bit and then climbs again to the top where the access trail to Chimney Rock at 2.2 miles.
Camping is allowed only at one of the parks camping areas. Please see here for camping details.
All other areas within the park (other than Wolf Rock) are closed to rock climbing and rappelling, including Chimney Rock.