Catoctin lies just below the ridge of Catoctin Mountain and is adjacent to protected state forests and the Frederick watershed. The nearest town is Thurmont, Maryland. The camp is located on 383 acres of woods. In addition to our many cabins, the area houses an infirmary, small lodge, dining hall, bath- houses, craft building, creeks, a field for sports, basketball area, a pond, vegetable garden, and several fire circles.

What Catoctin Offers

Catoctin offers in-camp and out-of-camp experiences in the form of trips and service opportunities. Younger campers will be away from camp for shorter periods of time with less demanding activities than older campers. Trips may take them to various sections of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Spiritual development is nurtured through daily silent worship at the fire circle, regularly scheduled campfires, and in less formal ways by example and through continuous sharing of love.

Trips may include:

  • Backpacking roads and trails
  • Canoeing the Potomac, Antietam, and Shenandoah Rivers
  • Technical rock climbing instruction at several sites
  • Service projects

In-camp activities include:

  • Arts and crafts,
  • Informal dance, drama, & music
  • Low pressure athletics
  • Swimming
  • Work projects and chores also play an important part in our community’s life
Interactive Map & Oral History Project
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Session Information

For session dates, fees, handbooks, registration and more please go to our registration page.

Session and Registration Info Handbook


Life at Catoctin

Every day at Camp Catoctin is lived to the fullest, whether it is spent in camp or on trail.  Our in-camp days include time for meeting for worship, age-group activities, chores, choice activities or workshops, a little relaxation time, and lots of singing.  Each week, campers and counselors leave for a two or three night camping trip.  They are most often hiking or rock climbing in the areas many parks and forests, or canoeing on a nearby river.  They carry everything they need with them, and though they are not back at the cabins, they are still at camp-playing games, laughing and singing.

Typical Day at Catoctin

  • 7:45 Wake Up Bell
  • 8:00 Breakfast
  • 8:45 Breakfast Chores
  • 9:15 Meeting for Silent Worship
  • 9:45 Unit Activity
  • 11:00 General Swim
  • 11:30 Lunch Set-up
  • 12:00 Lunch & Lunch Clean Up
  • 12:45 Lunch Chores
  • 1:15 Rest Period and Cabin Clean Up
  • 2:30 Mail Call
  • 2:45 Afternoon Activity
  • 4:30 GeneralSwim
  • 5:30 Dinner Set-up
  • 6:00 Dinner & After Dinner Chores
  • 6:45 Dinner Chores
  • 7:30 Evening Activity
  • 9:30 Back to Cabins for Bed


Campers spend two nights and three days away from camp each week. Trips vary each week depending on age and interest. Some groups hike on the Appalachian Trail, others rock climb, and canoe. Campers and counselors find that the time away from camp in a small group, working through the challenges of outdoor adventure provides the perfect setting for building close-knit friendships and community. While all trips vary, the basic formula remains the same.

All trips include:

  • Campers carry their own gear; backpack, bedding, clothes, mess kit, toiletries, flashlight, some group food and gear (depending on age).
  • Sleeping on the ground underneath a tarp with other campers.
  • Eating food cooked on a camp stove.
  • Campers are pushed to overcome their perceived limits through safe risk-taking.
  • Counselors are warm, generous young people dedicated to truly listening to each camper, and pushing them when they need to be pushed and supporting them when they need guidance and structure.

For our hiking trips campers hike between 2 and 12 miles per day, exploring varied trails and backroads. Each night stopping to sleep in camp sites along the way. When groups hike, one counselor is at the front of the group; “point” and another follows the campers; known as “sweep”.

Canoeing trips move along the Antietam, Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Campers experience a different pace of life along the river, enjoying time playing in the water, spending time with one other special canoe partner, and having floating Meeting for Worship. Campers and counselors are required to wear life-vests at all times, and each unit at camp has at least one lifeguard and an American Canoe Association certified instructor.

Rock climbing offers one of our greatest challenges and areas where campers and counselors can push against their own limits. Rock climbing is optional or “challenge by choice.” For many, rock climbing creates a safe place to experience one’s strength, explore nature in a new way, and overcome fears. Our rock climbing trips are led by a certified rock climbing instructor.


Campers having a mealAt Catoctin, meals are served family style at tables in our dining hall where all staff and campers eat together. Kitchen staff are all work  grant members, which means that each cook is a family member or friend of a child in the program and has a real interest in making sure the meal goes well. Our experienced head cooks prepare meals with an eye toward food that is both kid-friendly and nutritious. Surrounded by rich farmland, we also buy locally wherever possible, as well as pulling from our on-site garden.

Vegetarian options are available at every meal. Other dietary needs (no-pork, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, etc) can be met upon request.


Campers washing dishesWe believe that working together in a way that’s both productive and fun is a great method to create bonding and to help each individual at Catoctin feel that they have investment in and responsibility to the greater community. Many campers are surprised to find that their favorite memories of camp are singing songs while washing dishes or moving benches in the silliest way possible. Parents often don’t mind that their children come home more excited to do chores, either!

Meeting for Worship

Fire circle at campMeeting for Worship is a period of silent reflection–typically held at our fire circle – where any person (regardless of religious belief) can pray silently or simply have a quiet moment to reflect on their day and the natural beauty around them. If participants –including and especially campers– have some words of wisdom they would like to share during this silence, they may.

General Swim

Campers swimmingTwice a day campers have the time for a leisurely dip in “The Lagoon.” Many campers also enjoy simply floating in inner-tubes, or playing in the sand at the beach side. Counselors are available to help campers interested in learning to swim and there are always life-jackets available for those who are not confident swimmers (or who simply prefer them). Certified life-guards are always on duty.


During unit activity time activities are done in groups by age. During afternoon activity, each camper can choose between 3-4 options. And during evening activity time, activities are done in mixed-age groups or all together as a community. Activities include a mixture of active, artistic, and environmental activities. Each session also has a number of one-time “special” activities.

Artsy activities may include:

  • tie-dye
  • sculpture
  • friendship bracelets
  • dream-catchers
  • candle-making
  • knitting/crochet
  • drawing and painting
  • wood-working
  • collage
  • stationery
  • mask-making
  • singing
  • poetry writing
  • creating skits
  • face-painting
  • baking

Active activities may include:

  • basketball
  • soccer
  • Frazleeram
  • Ga-ga-ga
  • volley ball
  • capture-the-flag
  • obstacle courses
  • dance
  • hula-hooping
  • Jugs
  • relays
  • running charades
  • many other active team-building games etc.

Nature activities may include:

  • day hikes
  • scavenger hunts
  • natural art
  • magic spots
  • bird-watching
  • stream-wading

Special Activities

Each week at Catoctin we have a number of “Special Activities.”  During our “Special Day” these might include:

  • relays,
  • county fairs where groups of campers make their own booths,
  • theme days,
  • talent shows,
  • square dancing
  • optional trips offered each session including rock climbing, and a trip to our neighboring Buddhist Temple

Learning about the natural world around us, becoming comfortable living in nature, and treating the earth gently are important components of the Catoctin curriculum.
Spiritual development is nurtured through daily silent worship at the fire circle, regularly scheduled campfires, and in less formal ways by example and through continuous sharing of love.

Catoctin Camp Physical Address

Catoctin Quaker Camp
12611 Tower Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

The following numbers are for use during the summer only:
Emergency: 301-271-2156
Social: 301-271-2184

Year Round, call the Camp Program Manager: 717-481-4870

Driving directions to Catoctin Quaker Camp

From Route 70, Route 270, and Route 340: Take 15 North at Frederick, MD. Go about 10 miles north to the u-turn at the Cunningham Falls State Park – Manor Area. Proceed south on Route 15 and turn right after 0.5 miles at the next road which is Catoctin Hollow Road. Go 3.6 miles to Mink Farm Road and turn left. Proceed 2 miles turning right at Foxville-Tower Road. The driveway to the camp is on the right just beyond the bridge.

From points north on Route 15: Take 15 south past Thurmont. Take MD Rt. 77 West at Thurmont for 2.5 miles. Turn left at Catoctin Hollow Road. After several miles turn right on Mink Farm Road. Follow it for 1.9 miles. Turn Right on Tower Road. The camp driveway is immediately on your right.

From Hagerstown and Points West – Take Interstate 70 east. Get off at exit 42 (Myersville, Gambril State Park). Turn left (north) on to Route 17. After .8 miles, turn right as indicated by the Greenbriar and Gambril State Parks sign. Also note the brick church on the left. Go only a short distance further to Route 40. Turn right on to Route 40. Turn left into Gambril State Park, just past the DanDee Motel (.7 miles beyond the turn off Ridge Road).

Proceed to the top of the mountain. You will find that the road comes to a “T” at the High Knob Scenic Area.Turn right at the “T”. Follow the paved road for 7.4 miles. At this point there is a “Y” in the road. Take the left fork of the “Y” onto Tower Road. Proceed slowly (15 mph) past Middlepoint Road (on the left). Go one mile and turn left to continue on Tower Road. The camp is on your immediate right.