Off-Road Vehicle Use on Maryland's Public Lands

Off-Road Vehicle Use on Maryland's Public Lands

New St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and Campground Now Open, Effective July 23, 2017.

A jeep sitting on rocks.Maryland Department of Natural Resources has opened a new ORV Trail and campground on Savage River State Forest located on the south side of I-68 near the town of Finzel in Garrett County. Click here for a location map.

The Trail will be the first-ever ORV Trail on department lands designed specifically for ORV enthusiasts. Features will include:

  • A campsite specifically designed to support ORV riders, with large parking areas;
  • A family-friendly area with children’s trail loops within the campground area;
  • Single-track hare-scramble style trail sections for motorcycles;
  • Technical trail spur loops for all-terrain vehicles; and,
  • A full-size rock crawl area for four-wheel drive vehicles.

Click here for a detailed Trail Map.

What do I need to know about using the new ORV Trail and Campground?

The St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and campground is for ORV recreational use only. Users must have a registered ORV with the Department of Natural Resources, or a MVA-tagged vehicle that is suitable for off-road use. There are many other campsites available on State Forests for general recreational use.  Here is more information on other State Forest camping opportunities.

Advance reservations are required. To use the Trail and Campground, you must make advance reservations through the Department’s COMPASS system. Full payment is required to make a reservation through COMPASS. Reservations can be made for:

  • Campsites
  • Day use with parking
  • Day use without parking

Here is a helpful “step-by-step” explanation on how to reserve a Compass Daily Use Permit.

Here is a helpful “step-by-step” explanation on how to make a Compass Campsite Reservation and Daily Use Permit.

Make a Daily Use Permit or Campsite Reservation at https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/DnrCompassPortal.

How many campsites are available?

A total of eight ORV campsites will be available at St. John’s Rock.

  • Four large (group) ORV camping sites – camping pad size is 40’ x 40’ and the parking area can accommodate up to five trailered vehicles
  • Four small (individual) ORV camping sites – camping pad size is 20’ x 20’ and the parking area can accommodate one trailered vehicle and one non-trailered vehicle
  • Campsite Map

How does the Day Use reservation system work?

As mentioned above, Day Use reservations are available for purchase through the Department’s COMPASS system, with two options: (1) with parking and (2) without parking

Jeep and four-wheel drivers that will be on the trail or rock-crawl may not need parking, but a Day Use permit and reservation is still required to use the Trail.

A total of 19 Day Use with parking reservations are available each day. There is no limit on Day Use reservations without parking

For Day Use reservations with parking, there are 10 spaces for trailered vehicles and 9 spaces for non-trailered vehicles.

  • Size of trailered vehicle parking spaces is 12’ x 50’
  • Size of non-trailered vehicle parking spaces is 9’ x 20’

Proof of parking reservation documents from COMPASS are required to be placed in plain sight on the dashboard of all parked vehicles. Here is a map of the parking area.

What information do I need to know about the campground sites?

Campground check-in is 3:00 PM / check-out is 1:00PM.

Quiet hours are from 11:00PM to 6:00AM.

A maximum of four nights can be reserved for a single reservation. Campers must be set-up before quiet hours start at 11:00PM.

This is a primitive campground. The only campground amenity available is a vault (composting) toilet. No potable water is available at the campground, and no electric hook-ups are available.

This is a trash-free campground. All trash must be packed out and the campsites left in a clean condition.

Pets are allowed, but must be on a leash or under owner control at all times.

Alcohol is allowed, subject to COMAR 08.07.01.19 and COMAR 08.07.01.20.

Please be aware that cellular service is spotty in this area.

Please be aware that black bears are present in the area of the Trail. Campground visitors should take the appropriate campsite precautions – keeping a clean camp – to minimize potential bear interactions. For helpful instructions related to bears and camping see our Living with Black Bears webpage.

The operation of generators is prohibited during the established quiet hours from 11:00PM to 6:00AM. At times outside of quiet hours, all aspects of their operation must conform to standards designed to prevent disturbing other visitors and to preserve the peace and tranquility of the campground, per COMAR 08.07.01.20(F).

What information do I need to know about the Trail?

All ORV use is restricted to the designated ORV Trail system. Users must stay on the designated trail at all times.

ORV Trail use is limited to daylight hours - no nighttime riding is permitted on the Trail loops or rock-crawl areas. Nighttime driving is only allowed on the main road for entering and exiting the area.

The technical trail spur loops and single-track are two-way and narrow. Riders must ride cautiously and courteously.

Jeeps and MVA tagged four-wheel drive vehicles (e.g., vehicles that are wider than standard-width ORV’s) are not allowed on the trail spur loops and single-track sections of the Trail.

Children are allowed to use the ORV Trail, subject to COMAR 08.01.03.03A(2)(c)

What do I need to know about campfires?

Practice proper campfire safety procedures at all times.

Firewood for camping must be purchased from local vendors. Please note that there is no firewood for sale onsite. Do not bring personal firewood in to the State Forest. A wide variety of forest insect pests are accidentally transported and introduced to new areas by transporting personal firewood between distinct geographic locations. Please keep our forests safe!

Kindling and downed branches can be collected to burn in your fire ring. Campfires must be in the fire ring only. Cutting down trees is prohibited. Use of chainsaws is not permitted.

What is the reservation cancellation / refund policy for the St. John’s Rock ORV Trail?

Campsite reservations that are cancelled 30 days or more prior to scheduled arrival date receive a full refund, less a $6 per reservation cancellation service charge.

Campsite reservations cancelled between 29 and 8 days prior to scheduled arrival date receive a 50% refund, less a $6 per reservation cancellation service charge.

No refunds will be made for campsite reservation cancellations that are made 7 or less days prior to scheduled arrival date, for no-shows or early departures after the date of scheduled arrival.

No refunds for daily use permits will be issued.

To request a refund for a cancelled campsite reservation, per the policy listed above, please complete the Refund Request Form and send it to one of the Forest Service offices indicated on the back of the form.

If you have refund question please contact stjohnsrock.dnr@maryland.gov or the Savage River State Forest Office at 301-895-5759. Office hours are M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM, closed on state holidays and weekends.

What do we do if we have a problem?

To report a problem or concern, please contact the Natural Resources Police Communications Center at 1-800-628-9944 or 1-410-260-8888 at any time, day or night. This number is also posted in the campground. The dispatcher will identify the nature of the call and assist in getting help as needed.

How can I get additional information?

Send an email to stjohnsrock.dnr@maryland.gov

Call the Savage River State Forest Office at 301-895-5759. Office hours are M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM, closed on state holidays and weekends.