Potomac-Garrett State Forest

A section of Garrett State ForestPotomac State Forest is 10,488 acres in southeastern Garrett County, off MD Route 135. The Potomac River has its headwaters in this rugged mountain forest.

Garrett State Forest is the birthplace of forestry conservation in Maryland. The generous donation of 1,917 acres by the Garrett Brothers in 1906 serves as the foundation of the Garrett State Forest, as well as Maryland's present Public Lands system. Mountain forests, streams and valleys make up the 8,144 acres of Garrett State Forest in Garrett County.

Potomac-Garrett State Forest is home to red oak, white oak, scarlet oak, black cherry, hickory, red maple, white pine and hemlock along the stream banks. Mountain streams trickle throughout the region, offering visitors glimpses of beaver ponds and cranberry bogs. Many wildlife species make their home in this forest. Primitive campsites, hiking, hunting, birding, biking, skiing and snowmobiling allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings.

State Forest regulations are posted in conspicuous locations throughout the forest. Additional information and a brochure of the forest can be obtained by calling the forest office at 301-334-2038.

Map of Potomac-Garrett State Forest

Firewood Alert

Firewood for camping must be purchased from local vendors. Please 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!

The Kindness Demonstration Area

Come out and enjoy a self-guided hike through the KINDNESS DEMONSTRATION AREAThe Kindness Demonstration Area features a 1.25 mile self guided hiking trail through 387 acres of forestland with signs explaining forest management and wildlife improvement practices.

Often referred to as the “birthplace of forestry and conservation in Maryland,” this area is part of the Garrett brothers’ original nearly 2,000-acre land donation which started Maryland’s Forestry and Public Lands System.

See the forest through the trees and better understand how foresters manage our precious forest resources. Come out and enjoy a self-guided hike through the Kindness Demonstration Area.

Directions - From I-68 East or West

  • Take Exit 14 and merge onto U.S. Rt. 219 South toward Oakland - 26.0 Miles
  • In Oakland, turn right onto East Green Street (first right past fire department) - < 0.1 Miles
  • East Green Street becomes East Liberty Street at stop light - 1.4 Miles
  • East Liberty Street becomes Herrington Manor Road - 0.1 Miles
  • Turn left onto Fingerboard Road (first left past the bridge) - 2.8 Miles
  • Kindness Demonstration Area will be on the left

Self-Guided Recreational Activities


Features

  • Potomac-Garrett State Forest outdoor recreation opportunities and amenities include cross country skiing, camping and shelters, fishing, hiking trails, hunting, picnicking, riding trails, and snowmobiling.
  • The 3-D Archery Range offers fun and challenging shots at 30 life size 3-dimensional targets. Cost is $7.00 for adults $5.00 for ages 12-16 and free for children under 11. The range is open daily from April through mid-September, from sunrise to sunset.

Trail Maps


Camping Areas

  • Piney Mountain: North of Oakland along Piney Mountain Road (6 sites).
    172 Piney Mountain Rd., Friendsville, MD 21531
  • Snaggy Mountain: Along Snaggy Mountain Road near Swallow Falls State Park (11 sites).
    3739 Snaggy Mountain Rd., Oakland, MD 21550
  • Wallman/Laurel Run: South of Oakland, along Wallman and Laurel Run Roads leading to North Branch of Potomac River (16 sites). 15 Laurel Run Rd., Oakland, MD 21550
  • Lostland Run: Near headquarters area, along Lostland Run road leading to North Branch of Potomac River (6 sites). 1701 Potomac Camp Rd., Oakland, MD 21550

Primitive Camping

Primitive camping along Forest Roads: One Group Site and one Shelter Site per area, along with roadside sites. Group Sites (up to 20 persons) must be reserved in advance for $20 per night. Shelter Sites ($15 per night) and all other sites ($10 per night) are "first come, first served". Self-registration at camping areas for shelter and roadside sites. Call Forest office for Group site reservations at 301-334-2038.

Backpack Camping

Backpack camping is also permitted throughout the forest. Backpackers must register at one of the four self-registration areas on the forest by filling out an envelope, enclosing the appropriate payment ($10/night) and including itinerary with names of all campers. Campers can also obtain a permit by mail. Campfires are permitted except during drought conditions. Leave No Trace guidelines apply to backpack camping as well. Camping is NOT allowed within 200 feet of any trail or stream. The day use area of the forest is free.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is allowed on designated, developed and maintained trails and roads designed to accommodate recreational use. Horses are not allowed on the foot trails in the Wilderness Ranch area, the Watchable Wildlife area and the Lostland Run area. Horse camping is also available.

Pets

Pets are allowed in all areas of the Forest. No leash is required as long as pets are under control.

Off-road Vehicles & Trails

Trails for off-road vehicles, (ORV’s and snowmobiles) are available in Garrett and Potomac State Forests. Off-road vehicles must be registered annually with the Department of Natural Resources and display a registration sticker. Permits are available online at the Department of Natural Resources COMPASS portal or from any DNR Regional Service Center. Trail maps are available at the State Forest office.

Disabled Accessible

Disabled Access symbolPotomac-Garrett State Forest offers accessible hunting areas. For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Forests and Parks, visit the Access For All section of this website.

​​​​