blue blazes (whiskey) trail

December 4, 2020

Not so long ago, my son and I went for a hike…this was back on October 28. I can’t believe it was that long ago… We decided to go to the Blue Blazes Still trail located in the Catoctin Mts, outside of Thurmont, MD.

I tried to include a map, but none seemed good enough to share…

We try to get out as much as we can, depending on the weather. Now that winter is starting to set in, our adventures will be few and far between. I figured now is as good a time, as any, to share. I’ve actually been meaning to share before now, but life got in the way…

The hike we are going on today is, the blue blazes still…a short, easy hike – being only 0.3 miles one way (0.6 miles round trip).

Hope you enjoy!

Cunningham Falls (straight ahead)
Blue Blazes Still 0.3 miles (right)

This trail is part of Catoctin Mt trail system and is very easy to walk. The falling fall leaves made it a little harder, but the trail was still easy to follow. It helps that the trail more or less follows the creek back to the still.

across the creek
available at Picfair

“This trail follows the bank of Blue Blazes Run to the site of the Thurmont areas most famous whiskey still. Some early settlers distilled alcohol for family use. Others had an economic reason: a horse could haul four bushels of corn; if the corn was turned into whiskey, then the horse could haul the equivalent of 24 bushels. A few avoided taxes by making and selling by the light of the moon.
The Blue Blazes Whiskey Still was, however, a large, illegal, commercial distillery during the 1920’s Prohibition Era. Here the operators had the essentials: clean water, plenty of firewood, and nearby supplies of corn.”

not the best, I know…
Dogwood blossoms/white tail deer/Catoctin stream
water boatman (?)/blue blazes still
“Marylanders’ opposed prohibition because they believed it violated state’s rights, and Maryland became known as the “free state”
a walk in the woods
available at Picfair

Being in rural, western Maryland, transporting goods was hard to do – and expensive. The roads and interstate system was nothing like it is today. Horses were the only way to transport anything through the mountains in the days before the railroad.

A Fatal Shootout
“Near here, on July 3, 1929, Deputy sheriff Claude L. Hauver, was fatally wounded on a raid on Blue Blazes Still. Police finally tracked down several suspects and two moonshiners were convicted in connection with the murder after several days of conflicting testimony. Tales of a double crossing informant, a love triangle, arsons, and other rumors, spread throughout central Maryland. Exactly what happened remains a mystery.”
top right hand corner: Photo of Deputy Sheriff Claude L. Hauver, of Thurmont, MD
A bench in the woods
available at Picfair
Blue Blazes Still

The still that sits here today is much different than what was found that day back in 1929.

A group of people standing around large wooden vats.
google image

“This was one of the largest and best equipped whiskey stills ever found in Frederick County, Maryland. During the 1929 raid, thirteen huge vats, which could each hold 2,000 gallons, were found yielding more than 25,000 gallons of mash.” (

Some nature photos along the way…

close to the ground
hawk 2
available at Picfair
pink leaves
through the tree canopy 2
white in the fall

hope you enjoyed the easy stroll through nature and a little bit of an American/Maryland history lesson! there’s more, but the rest will have to wait for another day!

What in blue blazes were you thinking???? | Southern sayings, Southern  talk, Old quotes

What in blue blazes were you thinking????

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!

my blue blaze makes the... | Quotes & Writings by Sucheta Mishra | YourQuote

If the morning would speak, it’d say…

my blue blaze makes the pages
and that one silence
which hurts you in darkness
and you bluff that
it’s already lost
can be rescued and written
by the breaking sun.

~ Sucheta Mishra


A side note: About the “free state” info in the post… the nickname actually dates back to 1864 when the Maryland Constitution was adapted. I looked this up, because what was stated on the website/my photos didn’t sound right.

We serve customers living in Maryland. New Jersey, Pennsylvania AND  Delaware! | Used ford, Trip planning, States
The Free State Maryland

Free State. Maryland was first recognized as a “Free State” on November 1, 1864. On that date, the Maryland Constitution of 1864 took effect. By its provisions, slavery within the State’s borders was abolished, and Maryland, indeed, became a free state. To celebrate the emancipation, under direction of the Baltimore City Council, five hundred guns were fired, bells were rung, and flags displayed “to attest the joy of the people at their great deliverance.” (

take care
stay safe
much love

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