Surrounded by Savage River State Forest, Big Run State Park sits at the mouth of the Savage River Reservoir in Garrett County, Maryland. This park offers boating, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, and more, all while serving as the perfect base camp for exploring the surrounding state forest—making it an excellent choice for your next RV trip.
Inside Big Run State Park, visitors can enjoy launching a boat onto the Savage River Reservoir using the park’s boat ramp, fishing for walleye, crappie, largemouth bass, trout, and more in the lake, soaking in the views during a picnic lunch, or looking out for the ovenbirds, indigo bunting, and red-tailed hawks that frequent the park. For even more adventure options, visitors can explore Savage River State Forest, which surrounds the park and offers additional opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. History buffs will appreciate that the lands within the state forest were once seasonal hunting grounds of Native Americans who lived along the Potomac River and within the Ohio River Valley.
Big Run State Park has 29 primitive campsites for visitors to choose from, which are all available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The park enjoys hot summers and cold winters, so visitors can enjoy boating on Savage River Reservoir in the warmer months, and then snowshoeing in the surrounding Savage River State Forest in the snowy winter months. The campsites are available year-round, so visitors can enjoy an adventure-filled visit to this Maryland state park any time of year.
Located about three hours northwest of Washington, D.C., Big Run State Park offers a tranquil getaway at the mouth of the Savage River Reservoir. The park sits several miles off of Interstate 68 along smaller roads, so visitors should be prepared to travel several miles on non-highway roads in order to reach the park.
Once inside the park, visitors will have a fairly easy time navigating the area as the park itself is relatively small and requires driving only short distances between the day-use areas and the campsites. Guests with larger rigs should note that Big Run State Park can only accommodate rigs of up to 29 feet long. Visitors can plan to park their rig at their campsite, and should make sure to stop by the self-registration station at the bulletin board located at the intersection of Big Run Road and Savage River Road.
Big Run State Park offers primitive camping conditions with few amenities available on-site, so visitors should come prepared for their trip. For food and other supplies, visitors can find restaurants, gas stations, and other shops in the town of Westernport about 15 miles southeast of the park.
Big Run State Park offers 29 primitive campsites that are available year-round. The sites are scattered all throughout the park, with sites 78-90 sitting in an open grassy field, while sites 60-75 are wooded with stone dust camping pads. Each of the campsites has a fire ring and a picnic table, but none of the campsites offer water, electric, or sewer hookups, so visitors will have to plan accordingly. The park does have two waterless toilet facilities, one along Big Run Road, near the Monroe Run Pavilion, and the other at the intersection of Big Run Road and Savage River Road. Visitors can also make use of the restrooms located near the Monroe Run Pavilion and near the registration area. The park also has two water hydrants located near the Big Run - Savage River Reservoir Pavilion. The campsites at Big Run State Park can be claimed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and visitors can check in using the self-registration station located at the bulletin board at the intersection of Big Run Road and Savage River Road.
One of the quintessential ways to experience Big Run State Park is to take a boat out onto Savage River Reservoir. Visitors to this Maryland state park can take advantage of the boat ramp located between campsites 83 and 84. Only electric motors or non-motorized boats are permitted on the reservoir, and gasoline motors must be removed before launching your boat. Boaters should also note that lake levels vary throughout the year, so be prepared to carry your boat several feet in certain conditions.
Another popular way to enjoy Savage River Reservoir while visiting Big Run State Park is to fish on its waters. Fishing is permitted year-round on the lake with a non-tidal fishing license. Anglers can try their luck at catching walleye, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, trout, and suckers. Visitors should note that there is a brief lake closure each spring when trout stocking begins, and a trout stamp is required to possess trout. Anglers can take advantage of the boat ramp located between campsites 83 and 84.
Big Run State Park offers stellar views of Savage River Reservoir, the surrounding mountains, and the wide array of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that make up the landscape. One of the best ways to soak in these views is to enjoy a picnic at the picnic tables available in the day use area of the park, located along Big Run Road at the intersection with Savage River Road. While these views can be enjoyed year-round, visitors in the fall can enjoy spectacular views of the changing colors on the surrounding mountain ridges.
Wildlife enthusiasts will have plenty to keep them busy at Big Run State Park, as a wide variety of animals call this Maryland state park home. Birders in particular will have plenty to look out for, as they can hope to spot both forest interior dwellers, such as ovenbirds, as well as more common edge species like the indigo bunting. Overhead, birders can look out for red-tailed and broad-winged hawks soaring above; while at night, they can listen for the calls of the great-horned and screech owls. Long-tailed salamander and other small creatures are also commonly seen in the forest.
Visitors eager to stretch their legs and explore this Maryland state park by foot will be happy to learn that Big Run State Park has miles of hiking trails for visitors to choose from. In particular, hikers can enjoy access to Monroe Run Trail from near campsites 61 and 62. This trail stretches for nearly five miles into Savage River State Forest and follows the old CCC road that once connected the Savage River and Meadow Mountain camps in the 1930s. Hikers can enjoy stellar views and stream crossings as they hike through the forest.
While there is plenty to enjoy within Big Run State Park itself, one of the park’s additional draws is its proximity to Savage River State Forest, which offers even more recreation options to visitors. Guests staying at Big Run State Park can supplement their visit with additional hiking, mountain biking, and hunting in the State Forest. In the snowy winter months, visitors can also head to Savage River State Forest to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The forest offers excellent conditions for winter activities, as snowfall during a wet winter can exceed 120 inches.