The current State Forest area wasn't always used for recreation. Procured by the State Forestry Department in 1931, Green Ridge used to be important as part of the timber and iron ore industries along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The land was also an apple orchard, but now is home to hiking, hunting, camping, fishing, and paddling.
Flora and faunaEdit
The easiest way to get to and access the park is by car. The headquarters of the park, the beginning of the Pine Lick Trail, and a scenic overlook are located just off of I-68. I-68 runs through the park in an east-west direction. The other main roads leading into the park are Maryland 51, 40 (National Pike), and 144. Maryland 51, unlike the others access the southern section of the park along Maryland's southern border and the Potomac River. From both I-68 and Maryland 51 you can use much smaller forest roads to access the trails, hunting, fishing, biking, and camping grounds throughout the park.
Fees and permitsEdit
No entrance fee is charged to enjoy the park but both camping and use of the shooting range require permits and fees. Camping costs $10 per night for a group of up to 6 people. An extra $1 is required for each additional camper. Use of the shooting range costs $5 per day or $25 for the whole year, but only $2.50 per day or $10 per year for those either under 16 or over 64. Permits can be found at the Green Ridge State Forest Headquarters off I-68. Fishing in Maryland requires a Maryland Angler's License for anyone older than 16.
The Paw Paw Tunnel of the C & O Canal is just outside the park and an impressive engineering feature. At 3,118-ft-long, the 12-year-long project allowed the canal to shorten the distance traveled for boats by approximately 6 miles. Nine of the C & O Canal's locks and 2 aqueducts also are located near the park with Lock 58 at the end of the Green Ridge SF's Long Pond (Red) Hiking Trail and Lock 67 and Town Creek Aqueduct located at the beginning of the Log Roll (Orange) Trail.
Green Ridge contains over 40 miles of hiking trails from easy to difficult. The trails vary from mountainous steep climbs with spectacular views to flat sections of trail through the parks valleys following and crossing pristine streams. Six trails are solely for hiking while the Mountain Bike trail is also open for hiking. A Scenic Overlook Trail and the Pine Lick Trail (Blue) can be accessed at the headquarters of the park located off of I-68, and the Deep Run/Big Run (Green) and Long Pond (Red) Trails begin only a couple of miles from the headquarters. Other access points exists, but are located on smaller, local roads.
A specified Mountain Bike circuit trail displays the western section of the forest with 12 miles of challenging terrain and a climb and decent of Polish Mountain. Combined with the forest roads and C&O Canal, there is plenty of scenic park land to mountain bike.
Green Ridge has no restaurants within the park, so if you are looking for a meal after a long day of western Maryland's wilderness, you will have to either plan ahead and bring something or take a short drive to a nearby restaurant. If you are in the northern half of the park along I-68 head west 10 minutes to Flintstone, MD for a couple of choices or for a few more options head east 25 minutes to Hancock, MD. For anyone in the southern section of the park try crossing the Potomac and Paw Paw, WV. If urgency is not an issue and you prefer a lot of options or a little more familiarity, Cumberland and Hagerstown are much larger cities.
- Anthony's Jr., 521 Henry Miller Hwy. Paw Paw, WV 25434, ☏ . A local chain with 3 other locations, this restaurant has a small dining room and serves up pizza, calzone, stromboli, hoagies, subs, wings, salad, and pasta. Options range from under $4 to pricier pizza specialties.
- Country Cottage Inn, 21534 National Pike Northeast, Flintstone, MD 21530, ☏ . Just east of Green Ridge State Forest, this restaurant serves great home-style cooking. The menu ranges from sandwiches, paninis, and pizza, to breakfast served all day.
Over 100 camping sites within the park allow for overnight sites in all corners of the park. Camping sites are along the forest roads and are first-come, first served. Four shelters are also along the trails and allow for multi-day hiking trips.
- Cumberland, Maryland is about 25 minutes west on I-68.
- Berkley Springs, West Virginia is about 30 minutes east on I-68.
- Hagerstown, Maryland is about 50 minutes east on I-68 / I-70.
- Frederick, Maryland is about 1 hour 20 minutes southeast on I-68 / I-70.
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is about 2 hours and 10 minutes northeast on I-68 / I-70 / I-81.
- Washington, D.C. is about 2 hours and 15 minutes southeast on I-68 / I-70 / I-270.