11100 Fort Frederick Road
Big Pool, MD 21711
Frederick State Park
Fort Frederick State Park is a
Maryland state park surrounding the restored Fort
Frederick, a fort from the French and Indian War and
American Revolutionary War. The park is south of the
town of Big Pool on the Potomac River; the C and O
canal runs through the park grounds.
The site of Maryland's
frontier defense during the French and Indian War
(1754-1763), the Fort's stone wall and two barracks
have been restored to their 1758 appearance.
Historic displays are in the Fort, barracks and
The park annually holds
military reenactments and other special events. Park
lands adjoin the Potomac River and the Chesapeake
and Ohio Canal passes through park acreage. Tours
are available by request. Daily Living History
programming is available from Memorial Day through
Labor Day and on weekends in the spring and fall.
The stone fort, named in honor
of Maryland's Lord Proprietor, Frederick Calvert,
Sixth Lord Baltimore, was erected by Governor
Horatio Sharpe in 1756 to protect English settlers
from the French and their Indian allies. Fort
Frederick was unique because of its large size and
strong stone wall. Most other forts of the period
were built of wood and earth.
The fort served as an
important supply base for English campaigns. During
1763, an Ottawa Indian chief named Pontiac forged a
massive Indian uprising. Several hundred settlers
and militia force sought protection within the fort
during this brief uprising.
Fort Frederick saw service
again during the American Revolution as a prison for
Hessian (German) and British soldiers. In 1791, the
State of Maryland sold the fort. For the next 131
years, the fort and surrounding lands were farmed.
During the Civil War, Union troops were often
stationed around the fort to guard the C & O
In 1922, the State of Maryland
re-purchased the fort. Throughout the 1920's, the
State began development of Maryland's first state
park. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, a
company of the Civilian Conservation Corps was
assigned to the park to reconstruct the dilapidated
stone wall, perform archaeology and locate the
foundations of the original interior buildings.
Restoration continued in 1975. Future plans include
reconstruction of the Officer's Quarters and other
America's premier stone
fortification from the French and Indian War, boat
launch, cross country skiing, camp sites, camp
store, food and beverage, fishing, flat water
canoeing, hiking trail, historic interest, picnic,
playground, shelters, visitor's center. Call the
park for fort hours.
The visitor center offers a 10
minute orientation film, "Legacy of Fort
Frederick," upon request. Exhibits highlight
aspects of the park's history.
Concession items, including
souvenirs and food, are offered at Captain Wort's
Sutler Shop. Call the park for shop hours.
Fort Frederick State Park
offers an easy trail for hikers. The Wetlands Trail,
.3 miles in length, passes along a wetlands area
behind the campground. Hikers can see several
species of turtles, waterfowl, birds, as well as
white-tailed deer and other wildlife.
Located just one-half mile
west of Fort Frederick is the Western Maryland Rail
Trail, a 23-mile long paved path that follows the
former Western Maryland Railway line. The Rails to
Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization,
recently chose the Western Maryland Rail Trail as
one of the top 12 trails in the United States for
viewing fall foliage.
The peak foliage season in
Western Maryland begins in mid October, and provides
an excellent opportunity for picturesque photography
along the trail. The Western Maryland Rail Trail can
be accessed from I-70, from either exit 12 (Big
Pool), exit 3 (Hancock), or from I-68 at exit 77 (Pearre