Winter Outdoor Recreation on Maryland’s Public Lands


Maryland is known as “America in Miniature” due to its diverse terrain, and that also means that our outdoors can provide fun for all seasons. Winter activities can be found on Maryland’s public lands from the mountains to the coast.

Park cabinCamping

​Several state parks and state forests remain open for camping year round. From the lower Eastern Shore to the scenic mountains of Western Maryland, quaint camper cabins and full service cabins await you, along with outdoor tent/RV sites. Check the department’s camping page for types of camping available at these locations.

Central Maryland

Gunpowder Falls State Park - youth group sites and Mill Pond Cottage open year round

Eastern Maryland

Janes Island State Park - full service cabins open year round, NEW - four campsites open year round

Martinak State Park - cottage open year round

Pocomoke River State Park:
Milburn Landing - campsites, mini cabins and youth group open till Dec. 14, mini cabins are also open Feb. 5-8, 2021 and Feb. 12-15, 2021, and youth group is open Feb. 12-15.
Shad Landing - Acorn, Robin's Nest and Water's Edge campsites open year round, all mini cabins open year round, youth group open year round

Pocomoke State Forest

Southern Maryland

Cedarville State Forest

Point Lookout State Park - Tulip Loop open year round

Western Maryland

Green Ridge State Forest

Herrington Manor State Park - full service cabins open year round

New Germany State Park - Full service cabins and campsites in White Oak and Pines open year round

Potomac-Garrett State Forest

Savage River State Forest​


Bundle up in layers, bring a snack and get out on the trails. No bugs and no crowds leads to a great hiking experience. Throughout the state, Maryland State Parks and State Forests have trails of varying difficulties -- check our website for details and trail maps.

And don’t forget one of Maryland’s fastest-growing New Year’s traditions -- First Day Hikes.

Nature Photography

However you decide to use Maryland public lands in the winter, be sure to bring a camera. Winter photo opportunities are bound to present themselves at every turn -- and enter your best winter shots in the Maryland DNR Photo Contest!

Cross Country Skiing at Deep Creek Lake, photo by Will WilliamsSkiing

Western Maryland – or Mountain Maryland as some call it – is a true winter wonderland. For some aerobic physical activity that invigorates your senses with cold fresh air, try your hand at cross-country skiing.

Find trails that offer a challenge for skiers of all abilities at Herrington Manor State ParkNew Germany State Park​Potomac-Garrett State Forest and Savage River State Forest​.

Snow mobileSnowmobiling

When there is adequate snow, you can make a reservation for a faster-paced experience snowmobiling at Deep Creek Lake State Park, Deep Creek Lake Natural Resource Management Area, Wolf Den Run State Park, and Potomac-Garrett and Savage River state forests. Check with individual parks for rules on where and when you can snowmobile.

At Deep Creek Lake Natural Resource Management Area the surface of the lake is a formal snowmobiling trail, provided ice is thick enough.


Try your hands, or more appropriately your feet, at snowshoeing. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. This activity extends your hiking and running season into winter, is relatively easy and inexpensive, is a low impact aerobic exercise, and is extremely versatile. Discover snowshoeing at  Herrington Manor State ParkNew Germany State Park​, and Potomac-Garrett and Savage River state forests.

Winter Hunting and Fishing

Maryland also offers several winter hunts for deer and wild turkey, and some furbearers can be hunted and trapped throughout the year -- check our Wildlife and Heritage Service web pages for season dates. Most Maryland state forests and wildlife management areas are open year-round for hunting. Some Maryland State Parks and Natural Resource Management Areas also have limited, managed hunts at various times.

Deep Creek Lake in Winter, photo by Will WilliamsFishing never ends in Maryland. Intrepid anglers who don’t mind a little cold weather can fish for trout and other freshwater species in rivers and streams all year. And there are no season limits or catch limits for Maryland’s most wanted invasive fish, blue catfish and northern snakehead.

Outside temperatures hovering near the freezing mark may be just what you need to try a little ice fishing. This winter sport offers not only fresh table fare, but also could yield a big catch to those willing to brave the cold. Particularly in Western Maryland, anglers can typically expect at least a few weeks of “hardwater” angling.

Deep Creek Lake​ is arguably the most popular destination for ice fishing, although there are other impoundments that offer ice fishing access. The primary targets at Deep Creek are bluegills, walleye and yellow perch, although largemouth bass, crappie and trophy northern pike are sometimes pulled through the ice.