Tried all your local trails? Hike a new forest in Maryland this summer!

06 June 2024- For those looking for an outdoor experience that truly gets away from it all, Maryland has 214,000 acres of public forest land, much of which is open to hikers, bikers, birders, anglers, photographers, and campers.

Trails are available in all 11 forests managed by the Maryland Forest Service. State forests have short hikes that are perfect for a day trip, as well as long trails through remote terrain for real wilderness aficionados.

Maryland Forest Service trail planner Jeff Simcoe said hiking provides many benefits, beyond just being fun. 

“Individuals that hike regularly may experience improvements in physical and mental health while increasing their knowledge and appreciation of the natural world,” Simcoe said. 

Before setting out, trail users should carefully consider what route to take and what gear to bring. Whether hiking, biking, or just spending time in nature, it’s always best to have a partner. Other essentials include food, water, and first aid supplies. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges visitors to all public lands to follow the principles of Leave No Trace – leave what you find, travel and camp on durable surfaces, be considerate of others, respect wildlife, dispose of waste properly, minimize campfire impacts, and plan ahead and prepare.  

Parks, state forests, wilderness areas, or other public lands may provide different user experiences and amenities. Trail users may encounter differences in wayfinding signage, trail conditions and maintenance, and less available amenities such as restrooms or cell phone signals in state forests and wilderness areas compared to state parks.

For those venturing into a state forest, the Maryland Forest Service website provides key information and contacts if you need assistance.

Savage River State Forest

  • Monroe Run Trail. This 4.6-mile moderately difficult trail is short enough for an afternoon hike with good scenery at Monroe Run Overlook. The crumbling bridge abutments are the only remaining evidence that this scenic trail was formerly a connection road built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Frequent unbridged stream crossings provide plenty of cool resting spots along the way. There is a parking area off the New Germany Road and the trail ends near Big Run State Park. This trail can be hiked as an out and back, which will double the miles or trail users can set cars at the beginning and end of the trail for a shorter adventure. Campsites are nearby and it has one of the best views in Garrett County. 

Green Ridge State Forest

  • Twin Oaks Pine Lick Loop. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, this trail is approximately 4 miles in length. The loop starts on the Twin Oaks Trail that is blazed pink and returns to the starting point on the Pine Lick Trail that is blazed blue. The path offers an opportunity to see white oaks, red oaks, chestnut, hickory, dogwood, redbud and white pine trees at various life stages. 

Potomac-Garrett State Forest

  • Lostland Run itself is a clear, cold mountain stream, and the 3.5-mile trail that follows it includes a suspension bridge crossing and affords views of magnificent waterfalls and the confluence with the Potomac River. Hikers can take in the scenic beauty of Cascade Falls and enjoy rhododendrons and hemlock trees. At the end of the trail, a short spur leads to the Potomac Overlook. A hike on Lostland Run takes about two hours each way