Located in the heart of western Maryland, Green Ridge State Forest is the largest continuous area of land found in the state. The 47,000-acre forest is on the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and has over 50 miles of hiking trails leading you through the scenic forest. There is also a designated mountain biking trail that is designed for experienced riders, with stream crossings and steep inclines.
The Potomac River cuts straight through the forest, giving RV campers plenty of opportunities for angling and paddling. The river has catfish, muskellunge, sunfish, and bass, and you can also find trout in nearby creeks. Most of the forest is open for hunting, with white tailed deer and wild turkey being the most popular game in the area.
There are 100 primitive camping sites dotted throughout the forest, giving RV campers a secluded experience in the beautiful woods. All of the campsites have fire pits and picnic tables, and you’ll be close to the network of hiking and biking trails. Many of the campsites are also near the Potomac River, giving you access to fishing and paddling.
Green Ridge State Forest is located in the western tip of Maryland, and is within driving distance of many major cities in the region, including Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. There are many campsites in the forest, some more accessible than others.
If you are coming from Washington D.C., take I-270 north out of the city to I-70 and you’ll get to the forest in around two hours. Driving from Pittsburgh, take I-76 east from the city and you’ll arrive to the forest headquarters in around two and a half hours. From Baltimore, take I-70 west and you’ll reach the forest in around two hours.
The forest headquarters are just off US-40, making it easy to access with RVs. However, some of the campsites located deep in the forest may be hard to reach with larger campervans. When you check into the forest office, speak to park officials and ask them for a site that will accommodate your rig.
There are 100 primitive sites scattered throughout the forest, giving you a secluded camping experience. None of the sites have hookups of any kind, and most do not have toilets or access to drinking water. They do have picnic tables and a fire pit. Alcohol is allowed at most campgrounds. Pets are also allowed, although dogs should be kept on a leash in the areas with more than one campsite. The campsites are located throughout the forest, so access to trails and recreation will vary by location. Most campsites are near at least one of the park’s hiking trails.
The sites are first-come, first-served, and you have to sign up for a site by visiting the Green Ridge Forest Headquarters. They can show you a map of the forest and the sites that are available. The campgrounds are open year round, although availability may be limited due to weather. There are seven group campsites that fit up to 20 people, and these can be reserved in advance by calling the park office.
There are over 50 miles of trails leading through the park, accommodating hikers of all experience levels. Many of the park’s trails are rugged, crossing streams and taking you up steep inclines.
The Pine Lick Trail is a six-mile moderate hike, perfect for a relaxing stroll through the woods. If you want a more challenging hike, take the Long Pond Trail, a nine-mile trek that will challenge the most experienced hikers. You can buy a trail map from the Green Ridge Headquarters for more information on the park’s hikes.
The park has a network of trails that are designed with mountain bikers in mind, giving you miles of riding through the thick pine forests. The mountain biking trail features a variety of terrain, and you’ll come across stream crossings and fallen trees. The trail has noticeable elevation changes, making for difficult climbs and fast descents.
The mountain biking trail is designed for experienced riders, although there are portions of the trail that are suitable for beginners. Check with the park office for a map of the mountain biking trails.
The stretch of the Potomac River running through the forest is mostly flat and calm, making it great for canoeing and kayaking. You can start at Bond’s Landing site, where you’ll find a range of wildlife, including wood ducks and river otters. Although the river is mostly calm, always take caution while out on the water. Currents are often unpredictable, and parts of the river may be unsafe after heavy rains.
Hunting is the biggest draw to the forest, with a wide range of game and varied terrain making for challenging hunts. White tailed deer and wild turkey are the most popular game in the park, and you’ll also find small game such as squirrel and ruffed grouse.
Most of the park is open to hunting, although there are some restricted areas around the hiking and biking trails. Check with the park office for a full map of the areas that are open for hunting.
Don't forget to bring you rod and reel in your camper or trailer. The Potomac River is the main fishing draw in the forest, where you’ll be able to catch catfish, muskellunge, sunfish, and bass. There are also a number of creeks in the area where you’ll find trout, including Fifteen Mile Creek and Sidling Hill Creek.
All trout caught in the park are catch and release. Anyone over the age of 16 will need a Maryland state fishing license. Fishing is allowed from the shore, or you can take a canoe out onto the water.
If you want to see more of the area than you could on foot, take the Green Ridge Driving tour in your rig or vehicle. This is a self-guided tour that starts out at the Green Ridge Headquarters and takes you through the forest, highlighting local sites and the area’s wildlife. The tour also takes you to the scenic outlooks in the forest. You can go at your own pace, but the tour tends to last around three hours.