Savage River State Forest

Savage River Stare Forest - Savage RiverSavage River State Forest, at over 54,000 acres, is the largest facility in the state forest system. It preserves a strategic watershed in Garrett County. Trail maps are available at the forest office, for all trails, including the 10 miles of cross country ski trails. The forest is classified as a mixed hardwood forest. More than 11,000 acres of the forest has been designated as Wildlands.

Western Maryland Access and Trail Restoration

Beginning November 7, 2016 construction will commence on the Western Maryland Access and Trail Restoration Project located on the St Johns Rock/Red Dog forest access road in Compartments 38 and 39 of Savage River State Forest. This project will develop the State's first modern off-road vehicle trail to include items such as technical trail spurs, single-track hare scramble style trail sections, a full size rock crawl area and campsites designed to support off-highway vehicle riders. Construction work will continue in this area throughout the duration of the project, with an anticipated completion date of June 2017.

This work involves the use of heavy machinery and specialized equipment for trail construction, tree removal, road grading, material hauling, earth moving, etc. All visitors to the area are advised to proceed with caution when travelling near the construction site(s). Whenever possible, visitors should avoid these areas for their own safety and the safety of the workers. If there are any questions or concerns, please contact the Savage River State Forest Office at 301-895-5759.

Map of St Johns Rock/Red Dog Road.

Click here for special trout management fishing areas in Western Maryland.


Biking trails, boat launch, cross country skiing, campsites, fishing, flat water canoeing, hiking trail, historic interest, hunting, picnic, riding trails, shelters, snowmobiling, white water canoeing. Pets are permitted but must be under control at all times.

State Forest regulations are posted in conspicuous locations throughout the forest.

Firewood Alert

Firewood for camping must be purchased onsite. Please do not bring firewood in to the State Forest The Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Southern & Central Maryland. For further details click here. Please help us keep our Ash trees safe.


70 primitive sites are available. Self register for these sites at the Headquarters Office or at any of the six self-registration sites on the forest. You must register for the campsite within the first hour of occupancy. Campsites are limited to no more than 6 people per site, and no more than two camping units (tent, dining canopy, pop up, RV, or combination thereof) and two vehicles per site. Leave No Trace standards apply to all campsites as we try to accommodate use while minimizing our impact on the soils and vegetation in these areas.

Backpack camping is also permitted throughout the forest. Self register for these sites at the Headquarters Office or at any of the six self-registration sites on the forest, by filling out an envelope, enclosing the appropriate payment ($10/ night/ site) and enclosing a trip itinerary and the names of the people in your party. The same restrictions apply as listed above in terms of numbers of people and tents per site. Campfires are permitted in most areas of the forest. However, Wildland regulations prohibit the use of campfires in these 12,000 primitive acres of the forest for safety issues and to minimize impact of these fragile and sensitive areas. Be sure to check area maps for Wildland boundaries so that if you are backpack camping in a Wildlands area you are not building campfires. Again Leave No Trace guidelines apply to backpack camping as well. The day use of the area is free.


Hunting is permitted throughout the forest except where posted with safety zone signs. Hunters should consult their hunting guide for exact seasons and bag limits. Please be aware of boundary markers indicating private property. The State Forest boundary lines are marked with yellow paint on trees. For more information about hunting on Maryland's public lands and obtaining a permit, see the Guide to Hunting & Trapping in Maryland.

Disabled accessible symbolSeveral access roads are available to hunters with disabilities. Hunters must possess a valid permit and have a "Permit Display Card" on their vehicle. Detailed maps of the access roads are available from the forest headquarters.

Shooting enthusiasts can also take advantage of the forest's shooting range on New Germany Road. Please be familiar with range rules and pay the appropriate service charge in the honor box provided at the site.

Yearly passes are available at the range by completing the self registration information. The permits can also be obtained at the forest headquarters.

Horse Back Riding

Horseback riding is permitted anywhere on Savage River State Forest except within park boundaries and on designated foot trails (Big Savage Hiking Trail and Monroe Run Hiking Trail). Recommended areas include Margroff Plantation, Keyser's Ridge, Negro Mountain Snowmobile Trail, the Meadow Mountain Trail and the Asa Durst Homestead Area.

Trail Maps: Cover of the Savage River State Forest Trail Guide


Trail maps are available at the park office, for all trails, including the 10 miles of cross-country ski trails at New Germany State Park.

The Big Savage Trail is now open but the going is rough and recommended for only the most experienced hikers with excellent navigation skills. The ice storm of 2002 and Gypsy Moth defoliations in 2006 and 2007 have ravaged the forest canopy over large areas of the trail, allowing sunlight to proliferate an abundance of vegetative growth on the forest floor thus obscuring the trail in many locations. Volunteer efforts are underway to clear these overgrown sections but until the forest canopy reestablishes itself at some point in the future keeping the trail open will continue to be a challenge.

Mountain Bikes - Mountain bikes are allowed on all hiking trails except for Monroe Run and Big Savage. Visitors can ride non-motorized bikes on many of the trails and roads in the state forest but are asked to exercise extreme caution, especially on blind curves.

Backpackers - A permit may be obtained at the Savage River office to backpack and camp in the state forest.

ORV Use - Trails for off-road vehicles, (ORV’s and snowmobiles) are available in Garrett, Potomac and Savage River State Forests. Off-road vehicles must be registered annually with DNR and display a registration sticker. Registration stickers are available from any DNR Regional Service Center. Trail maps are available at the State Forest office where ORV use is permitted.

The Poplar Lick ORV is permanently closed see the ORV page for details at Off-Road Vehicles; The Meadow Mountain ORV trail remains open.

Geocaching Guidelines and Approval Form

Pets - Allowed in all areas with a leash.

Disabled accessible symbol Accessibility for the Disabled - SRSF offers several handicapped hunter access roads which are open to hunters throughout the hunting season. These roads will be recognized by the "Vehicle Access by Special Permit Only" sign at the road entrance. Hunters must have a valid permit in their possession and a "Permit Display Card" on their vehicle. Permit applications may be obtained from the Wildlife Regional Service Center (301) 777-2136, located at 3 Pershing Street, Room 110 Cumberland, Maryland 21502. For further information you may contact our office at (301) 895-5759.

For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Forests and Parks, visit the Accessibility For All section of this website.

Top Photograph by Tom Darden​​​​