Weekend Backpacker: Baltimore

Green Ridge State Forest
By Leonard Adkins
  |  Gorp.com

The Green Ridge Hiking Trail is one of the best backpacks in Maryland at anytime, but for the most fun, wait for a hot weekend in summer. It's called a ridge trail, but the majority is along one creek or another, each with miles of small ripples and cascades—and a profusion of swimming holes. Even if you don't take advantage of mountain streams to cool off, you'll still need to ford them well over 60 times.

Begin the hike by heading southward from Campsite 2A along white-diamond-blazed Green Ridge Hiking Trail. (Following the trail northward for 0.8 mile would bring you to the Mason-Dixon Line, where the pathway connects with the Pennsylvania Mid-State Trail.) Make the first of what will be many stream crossings at 0.7 mile. Turn right onto Fifteenmile Creek Road at 1.8 miles; the large pool beside the road is so deep that it has become a popular local swimming hole. You should be used to being wet by now, so you shouldn't mind too much that the suspension bridge that used to span the creek at 1.9 miles washed out. Ditto for the washed-out bridge at 4.5 miles. Bear right at a trail intersection at 5.1 miles to keep following the Green Ridge Hiking Trail (called Wellesley Hollow Trail at this point) and ford Deep Run. Are your feet still dry? They probably won't be after you ford Dry Run 19 more times within the next 2.5 miles. You will cross it for the final time at 10.5 miles and ascend steeply to the impressive Log Roll Overlook. Northward is Pennsylvania, to the west is Maryland, and to the south is West Virginia. Directly in front of you, the mountainside drops 500 to 600 feet, revealing a U-shaped bend in Town Creek. The final 2.0 miles are the journey's highlight. Not only will you cross Big Run 25 more times, but you will pass through hemlock and laurel groves, go by many suitable tent sites, and have numerous opportunities to take dips. The 18.1-mile hike ends when you cross MD 51 to reach your shuttled car.

Since this is a one-way hike, a car shuttle will be necessary. In addition, the shuttle involves many miles of dirt road driving. Allow ample time. Drive west on I-70 for 90 miles, then 18 miles on I-68 West. Obtain the required permit (about $5) by taking I-68 Exit 64 to Forest Service Headquarters; tell personnel you will leave a car overnight near Campsite 2A. Return to I-68 West and take Exit 62 southward along Fifteenmile Creek Road. About two miles later, turn right onto Green Ridge Road. Turn left onto paved MD 51 in approximately 11 miles. Pay close attention, for within a very short distance you need to turn right onto an unmarked dirt access road to the C&O Canal. Leave one car and drive back to I-68. About 0.3 mile after crossing over the interstate, turn left onto Fifteenmile Creek Road for 1.0 mile. Bear left onto Double Pine Road to arrive at Campsite 2A in another 1.9 miles.

See information in Getting There, above.

Do not attempt this hike after heavy rains.

Green Ridge Hiking Trail, available from the forest service.

50 Hikes in Maryland; Hikes in Western Maryland.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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