Nestled on the border with West Virginia, Maryland's Potomac State Forest is an outstanding location to roll up in your camper and do some trout fishing in the Potomac River. If fishing isn't your thing, the state forest offers an endless variety of other recreation opportunities. The park includes the highest point in Maryland, Backbone mountain, at 3,220 feet. The rugged terrain and thick brush make this an exciting location for hiking. It is also great for hunting, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Potomac State Forest is located at the headwaters of the Potomac River along the border of West Virginia at the extreme northwest of Maryland. Located roughly halfway between Washington DC and Pittsburgh, Potomac State Forest is relatively remote. The nearest town is Oakland, Maryland, about nine miles away. There is no major road near the state forest, so getting your rig in there can be a bit of an adventure. Amenities are a bit sparse in the park, with only 22 campsites split between two locations. Average summer temperatures get up to about 79 degrees and in the winter it gets down to about 15 degrees.
Potomac State Forest is not located along any major highway. No matter which way you come from, you will have to negotiate winding and narrow country roads for a few miles. You will have to plan your route carefully, as there are a lot of crossroads and junctions with other small country roads along the way. Winter conditions can be forbidding, so be sure to check for maintenance and closure times as you may not be able to get in.
Both Campgrounds at Potomac State Forest are very basic. The roads in the park are narrow and unpaved. The area is hilly, but inclines are not that steep. Camping is mainly just along the side of the unsealed country road. The roads inside the state forest mainly run in straight lines along the various streams. There are no easy loops or circuit routes for turning around, other than a circuit formed by Wallmann Road.
Wallmann-Laurel Run is by far the larger of the two campsites in Potomac State Forest with 16 campsites. Like all the RV-friendly sites in this state forest, this campground is first-come, first-served. Don't expect much in the way of amenities here, since you're on your own for water and electricity. There is no dump site in the state forest. There are no showers but there is a toilet. Parking is very sparse. To avoid pests, the forest service asks that you buy firewood locally rather than bringing your own. On the plus side, the park is entirely pet-friendly. The sites are spread along Wallmann and Laurel Roads. The nice thing is that they are not too crowded so you really have a chance to get some peace and quiet. This campground is the easiest one to get to in Potomac State Forest.
Lostland Run Campground is a bit farther and harder to find than Wallmann-Laurel. There isn't even a road between the two within the park. On top of that, Lostland Run Campground only has six sites. However, it is a great location for fishing on the Potomac. Amenities are very sparse. As with Wallmann-Laurel, there are no power, water, or showers. There isn't even a parking lot for day use. Getting in and getting out may be a bit tough as Lostland Run has no place to turn your rig around. Thankfully, however, you can feel free to fire up your generator to get that camper widescreen going. Pets are also welcome and leashes are not required. Keep in mind that this campground is not as well shaded as Wallmann-Laurel.
Geocaching is a 21st century outdoor activity. Participants use GPS services to place and retrieve containers at specific locations anywhere in the world. When you find a container, you retrieve the logbook from within and record your successful find before returning the container to where you found it. Potomac State Forest supports geocaching, but the Maryland Department of Natural Resources asks that you follow their guidelines and receive approval before caching a container. Join the global treasure hunt!
If you visit the state forest outside of bow hunting season, but still want to sharpen your arrow slinging skills in the most realistic way possible, you're in luck. Potomac State Forest has its own 3D archery range. The range charges a nominal fee for teens and adults, but children are free. It features 30 life sized, three-dimensional targets of various local animals. The range can be tons of fun even if you are not into hunting.
Potomac State Forest is adjacent to Maryland's highest point, Backbone Mountain. Even if you don't want to conquer the peak, the rolling hills and light brush cover make the state forest a wonderful place to ramble. Follow the various streams or check for birds like Maryland's famous orioles. A nice hike is a great way to get away from the stress of everyday life. Trail maps are available for purchase on the website of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
If you have skis in your rig or are towing a snowmobile on your trail, this remote part of Maryland is ideal for ripping around in the winter snow on the conveyance of your choice. There are plenty of trails for both cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. Get a great cardio workout in the wilds of inland maine or let off some steam speeding through the winter wonderland like a bat out of hell on your snowmobile. You can purchase a trail map on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website.
Potomac State Forest is an outstanding place to try your luck if you brought a fishing rod in your campervan. Located just a stone's throw from the headwaters of the Potomac River, the state forest has fresh clean streams that are home to a fantastic trout fishery. You are best off getting down to the Potomac itself, but numerous streams feed into it from the state forest, giving you plenty of creek to dip your line into. As usual, check local regulations first.
If hunting deer is your idea of a good weekend out, roll that camper up to Potomac State Forest, the venison awaits. Other forms of game abound, but whitetail is the primary focus around here. Of course, you will need to check the season for bow, black powder, and rifle hunting. If coming from out of state ensure that your firearms adhere to Maryland's laws.