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Potomac State Forest Trails

Western Region

Directions & description

Location: Between Oakland and Westernport, MD. Garrett County.

Length & Configuration: The 15+ miles of  trails include opportunities for both loop and out-and back rides.

Terrain & Surface: Varied tread, from old gravel logging roads to grassy doubletrack to technical dirt singletrack, with rocks and roots.

Technical Difficulty: Easy, moderate & advanced.

Elevation Change: Relatively level rides in valleys to more strenuous uphill climbing in the mountains.

Caution: Shared use with hikers, equestrians and off-road vehicles. Some trails will have steep and rocky sections or stream crossings. Watch for vehicles on improved gravel roads.

 

 

Local Resources: Bike shops, bike clubs, adventure travel, bike tours, bike events, trail maps, bike safety, camping, historical places, where to stay and other related sources visit our Resource Hub.

Note: The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features. Read Full Disclaimer.

Directions:

Take I-68 to Cumberland in western Maryland. Head south on US220 to Keyser. Travel west from Keyser on Rt.135. The State Forest is situated between Westernport and Oakland, partially bordering the Potomac River. It can be accessed from Rt.135 or Rt.560, south of Oakland.

 

General Description:

Located on the Appalachian Plateau, Garrett County forms the northwestern edge of Maryland. Encompassing more public land than any other county in the state, a vast array of outdoor recreation activities can be found in the areas 84,000 acres of State Forests and Parks. Mountain bikers have long been attracted to Garret County's steep, mountainous ridges and stream valleys which provide ideal mountain biking terrain.

Potomac State Forest's 11,000 acres of rugged mountain forest and streams border a spectacular stretch of the North Branch of the Potomac River where vertical cliffs tower above the River as it winds through Western Maryland. This area of the Potomac is also known for exceptional fly-fishing. The views of the river are spectacular. be sure to visit the scenic Potomac Overlook for an eyeful.

The forest features Backbone Mountain (elevation 3,220 feet), the highest point in any Maryland state forest and the Cascade Waterfalls along Lostland Run.

Besides the hardwood species typically found in an eastern forest, plantations of white pine, red pine and spruce were also planted between 1950 and 1970. This diverse habitat of dense forest cover, meadows and streams supports an abundance of wildlife, including wild turkey, white-tailed deer, black bears, fox and songbirds.

All trails and roads in the Potomac State Forest are open to hikers and mountain bikers. Some of the forest trails are gravel roads, which are open to motor vehicles. You'll find many mountain bike rides to keep your wheels spinning for days.

 

The Trails:

Potomac State Forest offers a number of gated service roads for exploration, many of which have been planted in grass or have grown-in naturally to improve wildlife habitat.

For scenic views of the river, use the Trestle Road, which follows the railroad tracks. Further north, Crooked Run Road is available for use in the Laurel Run Area. Please do not block the gates.

 

Potomac River Trail System: 10.5 miles (easy to moderate)

Trail Access: Located off Route 560, following White Church Road and the signs to Wallman. Trail may be accessed anywhere along Wallman Road, where access is safe.

Dashed RED line on map indicates NO 4-WD or motorcycles. Part of the Potomac River Trail System is actually Wallman Road and Laurel Run Road, while other areas are old logging and fire roads. There are some steep hills and motor vehicles along Wallman Road. Several loops available, some harder than others. Snowmobile trails are marked with green blazes. Snowmobile trail not recommended for beginning cyclists.

 

Laurel Run Road: 3 miles (easy)

Trail Access: Located off Route 560, following White Church Road and the signs to Wallman. Trail may be accessed anywhere along Wallman Road, where access is safe.

Mountain bikers and off-road vehicle (ORV) users will particularly enjoy this dirt road that runs southward from its intersection with Wallman Road to its terminus near the Potomac River. Views from the road offer a chance to see dense areas of mountain laurel. The laurel's blooms dot the forest in the spring. This road is also open to motor vehicles.

 

Wallman Road: 4 miles (easy) No blaze.

Trail Access: Located off Route 560, following White Church Road and the signs to Wallman. Trail may be accessed anywhere along Wallman Road, where access is safe.

This mountain bike and ORV road travels downhill from Laurel Run Road to a small parking lot near the Potomac River. The forest cover in this area is ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife, including wild turkey, white-tailed deer and black bears. Hikers and mountain bikers can make a circuit back to their starting point by using the 3.5 mile Loop Road.

 

Lostland Run Road: 3.5 miles (moderate)

Trail Access: Begins across from the old Potomac-Garrett Headquarters on Potomac Camp Road and runs three and a half miles to the Potomac River.

Hikers can take in the scenic beauty of Cascade Falls while visiting this trail, which takes approximately two hours each way.

Enjoy the rhododendrons and towering hemlock trees along this trail. At the trail terminus, a short spur trail leaves a gravel parking lot to the Potomac Overlook where splendid views of the river and pristine mountains can be enjoyed.

 

North Hill Trail: 2 miles (moderate) No blaze.

Mountain bikers will enjoy this gravel road, which travels through dense forest. Songbirds awaken your senses as their vibrant calls echo through the trees. The trail offers delightful scenery year round and especially breathtaking views of fall colors.

 

CCC Fish Rearing Ponds Trail: (easy) No blaze.

Bike up to the old fish hatchery site built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp.), on a gravel road, which travels through dense forest. Songbirds will serenade you as their vibrant calls echo through the trees as you pass. The trail offers delightful scenery year round and especially during fall foliage season.

 

 

For more information:

Official Trail Guide, complete with a topographical map of the multi-use trails, is available for sale from Potomac State Forest headquarters or web site.

Potomac-Garrett State Forest
222 Herrington Lane
Oakland MD 21550

Phone: (301) 334-2038
Website: Potomac-Garrett State Forest
TTY Users: call via the MD Relay

 


 

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