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Garrett State Forest Trail System

Western Region, MD

Directions & description

Location: 5 miles northwest of Oakland, in Garrett County, Maryland.

Length & Configuration: The 20+ miles of trails within the Garrett State Forest include mountain biking opportunities for both loop and out-and back rides. Herrington Manor State Park has an extensive trail system with interconnecting loops.

Terrain & Surface: Varied, from old gravel logging roads to grassy doubletrack to rocky singletrack trails.

Technical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.

Elevation Change: Ranges from relatively level with some hills to long hill climbs, depending on ride.

Trail Use : mountain bike, hike, equestrian, xc ski, snowmobiles

Caution: Multi-use trail system. Some trails will have rocky sections or stream crossings. Watch for off-road vehicles on gravel roads.

 

Garrett State Forest Trail System map

Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.

Directions:

Follow I- 68 west to exit 14 at Keysers Ridge and Rt. 219. Follow Rt. 219 south 19.5 miles to Mayhew Inn Road (2 miles past Deep Creek). Turn right on Mayhew Inn Road, travel 4.5 miles to end of road. At the stop sign turn left onto Oakland Sang Run Road, travel 0.3 miles to first road on the right which will be Swallow Falls Road. Turn right onto Swallow Falls Road and travel 1.3 miles to Swallow Falls State Park, or 4.5 miles further to Herrington Manor State Park.

General Description:

Located on the Appalachian Plateau, Garrett County forms the northwestern edge of Maryland and offers steep mountain ridges, lush stream valleys and 70,000 acres of State Forests and Parks to explore. This is truly a four season destination. Fall offers views of the surrounding foliage. Garrett State Forest's 8,000 acres are home to red oak, white oak, scarlet oak, black cherry, hickory, red maple, white pine and hemlock along the stream banks. In spring, the understory of mountain laurel and rhododendrons bloom along the mountain streams that trickle throughout the region, offering visitors glimpses of beaver ponds and cranberry bogs. Many wildlife species make their home in this forest including deer, wild turkey and black bear. Summer offers miles of mountain biking opportunities on trails that become popular xc ski trails in winter.

Located adjacent to Garret State Forest are two State Parks:

Swallow Falls State Park

This mountain park is located nine miles north of Oakland, Maryland and contains some of Maryland's most breathtaking scenery. The Youghiogheny River flows along the state park's borders, passing through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. Muddy Creek Falls is a crashing 53-foot waterfall – a spectacular sight. The Falls area is really spectacular and is the perfect spot for a romantic moment if you happen to be riding with your significant other. Tall hemlocks dominate the silent woods. There are four water falls in Swallow Falls State Park and several watchable wildlife areas.

Herrington Manor State Park

In the 1930's with the aid of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a 53-acre lake was formed by damming Herrington Creek, and ten cabins were erected on a wooded knoll above the lake. The man-made 53-acre Herrington Manor Lake (average depth of only 8 ft.) provides a beach area for your post ride swim. The lake was created by the CCC in the early 1930's by damming Herrington Creek. It is now open from dawn till dusk for swimming and boating. The Lake House has restrooms, showers and snacks. Other facilities include campground, cabins, boat rentals and picnic area. Interpretive programs are scheduled during the summer; and popular special events such as maple syrup demonstrations and apple butter making are held throughout the year.

There are approximately 10 miles of color coded, mostly double-track and grass covered cross country ski trails open for mountain biking which lead into the adjoining Garrett State Forest.

The Trails:

The Garrett Trail: 9 mile loop. (easy to moderate) Fluorescent green blazes.

Trail Access: The Garrett Trail can be accessed along Herrington Manor Road, in the dip approximately one half mile north of Herrington Manor State Park entrance. Parking is available at this location.

This 9 mile, mostly single-track loop trail travels over varied terrain through hardwood forest and consists of a combination of several multi-use trails. Much of the trail is on old logging roads. A portion of it is on the graveled Snaggy Mountain Road. The trail is fairly level, but some long hills will test your endurance on Snaggy Mountain Road. A short side trail will take you to the Maryland Champion Northern Red Oak. You will also pass a watchable wildlife area with an active beaver dam.

Herrington Manor / Swallow Falls Trail: 5.5 miles one way. (easy to moderate) White blazes.

Trail Access:

Herrington Manor State Park Trail Head: Located at the rear of the large parking lot near the lake.

Swallow Falls State Park Trail Head: Located at the rear of youth group camping site #2.
Parking is available at both ends of the trail heads.

This is a lovely ride to do with your significant other. This 5.5 mile, one-way trail travels between Herrington Manor State Park and Swallow Falls State Park. Much of the trail is an easily navigable old logging road. There is not much level terrain between the two parks but the climbs are not overly steep or too technical. The last mile of trail as you approach Swallow Falls State Park is is single-track and rocky with slippery roots. Here, the trail runs alongside a lovely mountain stream with hemlocks and rhododendron. Where the trail crosses the stream, there is a wooden bridge that you may not be able to cross during periods of high water.

At the end of your ride, visit the spectacular Falls at Swallow Falls State Park and enjoy some romantic moments with your significant other.

Herrington Manor Trail System: 2.4, 1.6 , .9 miles (easy to moderate)

There are approximately 10 miles of color coded, mostly double-track and grass covered ski trails open to mountain biking which lead into the adjoining state forest. Trails are track-set when conditions allow.

Trail Access:

Red (1.6 miles) and Blue (2.4 miles) Trails: Accessed at the concession stand by Herrington Manor Lake or by the boat ramp.

Green Trail (.9 miles): Accessed behind the backstop at the ballfield near the tennis courts.

Yellow Trail (1.6 miles): Accessed from the green trail, behind the park office or from the road to the concession stand.

Parking is available at the day use area.

These trails are generally double track and grass covered. The terrain is varied with some hill climbing and several areas are soft during wet spells. They travel through a variety of habitat including: hardwood forest, coniferous streamsides and several wetland areas.

Snaggy Mountain Road: 3.5 miles one way (easy) Flourescent Green Blaze

Trail Access: Snaggy Mountain Road. Parking is available at the trail head on Cranesville Road.

Fairly level gravel road with some long hills. The trail travels through hardwood forest. The bicentennial tree, better known as the Maryland Champion Northern Red Oak, is located along this route. You can walk a short side trail which will take you to the tree. You'll also pass a watchable wildlife area with an active beaver dam near the south end of Snaggy Mountain Road.

Piney Mountain Trail: 2.7 miles (easy)

Trail Access: At the Sang Run-Cranesville Road junction with Piney Mountain Road. Parking is available at the junction.

Mostly level mountain biking through hardwood forests with understory of rhododendron and mountain laurel. Three-fourths of the trail is the dirt Piney Mountain Road. The rest of the trail is a grassy double-track.

Historical Note:

In the northern part of Garrett County, a geological condition known as a “frost pocket” exists. The configuration of the hills does not allow normal daytime heating, producing a prolonged time of cool air over the area. This condition has allowed for the continued existence of sub-arctic flora in the Cranesville Swamp and the Finzel Swamp.

Cranesville Swamp, a subarctic swamp with boardwalk, is a Nature Conservancy project. Biking not permitted.

For more information:

State Forest Website: Maryland Department Of Natural Resources

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