Savage River State Forest

ALERT:  As per Governor Hogan’s amended stay-at-home order​, on Thursday, May 7, 2020, the Maryland Forest Service has reopened the public shooting ranges at Green Ridge, Savage River, and Elk Neck State Forests and other recreational activities such as camping and equestrian use with certain c​onditions. Please read and follow these conditions for the safety of all visitors and staff, and so that these facilities can remain open for public use.

See shooting range guidance.

The southern section of the Big Savage Hiking Trail has been rerouted to avoid the area of unstable ground and is again open for visitors. Hiking Trail Reroute Map.

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.

St. John's Rock ORV Trail

The St. John's Rock Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Trail is the first trail on Department lands ever designed specifically for ORV enthusiasts. Features include a multi-site primitive campground designed to support ORV riders, children's riding trails within the campground, technical spur loops and hare scramble style trail sections for all terrain vehicles and motorcycles, a full-size rock crawl area for jeeps and four-wheel drive vehicles, and miles of forest access roads for all purpose riding opportunities. The total trail system is approximately 13 miles in length with varying challenges for riders of all skill levels. The accompanying map provides more detail on the extent and locations of the different areas. This Trail System requires a reservation for Daily Riding, the Rock Crawl and Camping. Reservations can be made on the department's COMPASS System ( For more information, contact the Savage River State Forest Headquarters at 301-895-5759.

Driving directions from Interstate 68: Take Exit 29 on to Maryland 546/Beall School Road heading south. Travel approximately 1 mile and turn left at the intersection of Old Frostburg Road. Travel approximately 1 mile to the St. John's Rock ORV Trail access road on the left.

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 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!


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 Universal Disability Pass. 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 in Savage River State Forest is permitted on all maintained forest roads that are open to public vehicle traffic, except for the East Shale ORV Trail and the St Johns Rock ORV Trail. Horseback riding is NOT permitted within any state park boundaries, designated wildlands or on any designated foot trails, which include the Big Savage Hiking Trail, Poplar Lick Hiking Trail and the Monroe Run Hiking Trail.

Savage River State Forest Horseback riding brochure with map.

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


Trail maps are available at the forest office for all trails. The 10 miles of cross-country ski trails at New Germany State Park are available at the New Germany State Park Office.

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

Savage River State Forest offers several disabled 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 Universal Disability Pass (formally Hunt From a Vehicle permit) in their posession. You may download and print the application here, or applications may be obtained from the Western Region Main Office, 12512 Pleasant Valley Road, NE, Flintstone, MD 21530. 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​​​​​​​​​