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General Information

Four-foot high ferns flank the roadside in Garrett State Forest
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Four-foot high ferns flank the roadside in Garrett State Forest
Description - The forest contains a diversity of trees, abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. In 1906 this forest was given to the state of Maryland and was the beginning of Maryland's public lands system. Mountain forests, streams and valleys make up the 8,000 acres in Garrett State Forest in Garrett County.

Attractions - The forest is home to red oak, white oak, scarlet oak, black cherry, hickory, red maple, white pine and hemlock along the stream banks. Mountain streams trickle throughout the region, offering visitors glimpses of beaver ponds and cranberry bogs. Many wildlife species make their home in this forest. Primitive campsites, hiking, hunting, birding, biking, skiing and snowmobiling allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings.

Pets are allowed in all areas of the Forest. No leash is required as long as pets are under control.

Trails for off-road vehicles, or ORV's, are available in Garrett State Forest. Off-road vehicles must be registered annually with DNR and display a registration sticker. Registration stickers are available from any DNR regional service center, and stickers and trail maps are available at the five state forests where ORV use is permitted. Other state forest permitting ORVs include Potomac, Green Ridge, Savage River and Pocomoke State Forests.

Backcountry travel is possible via a multi-use route that includes Swallow Falls State Park, Herrington Manor State Park and Garrett State Forest. Camping is permitted anywhere along the route or at designated sites including a trail shelter. Registration is necessary at any of the three above mentioned public lands. Obtaining a trail map before venturing out is an excellent idea. Areas of the trail are prohibited to horses and motorized vehicles.

Within Garrett State Forest, a 7-mile hike, averaging about a half-day hike, offers views of hemlock forests, wetlands, and the Maryland Bicentennial Tree. Both the Potomac River Trail and the Backbone Mountain Trail travel through the state forest. Each trail is open to a variety of users including snowmobilers, ORVers, cross-country skiers, equestrians, and hikers. Call Garrett State Forest for details.

Recreation - Recreational features of the state park include cross-country skiing, campsites, fishing, hiking trails, historic interest, hunting, riding trails and snowmobiling.

Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

Location - Garrett State Forest is located in Garrett County, 5 miles northwest of Oakland, off U.S. Highway 219.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Garrett State Forest, 222 Herrington Lane , Oakland, MD, 21550, Phone: 301-334-2038

Additional Information:
Maryland State Parks - Maryland State Forest and Park Service offers 47 state parks with recreational opportunities offered for all ages. From the forested regions to where land meets sea, Maryland's public parcels provide recreation, relaxation, and education. Many facilities possess barrier-free design.
Western Maryland - Experience Western Maryland, a year-round mecca for vacationing families, nature lovers and ardent adventures alike.

Garrett State Forest - Official agency website
Maryland State Forest and Park Service -


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