Maryland: Green Ridge State Park

Flintstone, Md.

Compared to the big wide open spaces out West, Maryland is on the smallish side and may have limited riding. But there are still several great places to ride.

You will have to do like the pioneers did, head west. There is a little finger of the state that splits Pennsylvania and West Virginia that is absolutely gorgeous. And the best part is that there are places to ride your ATV.

The Green Ridge State Park is very peaceful and scenic when it comes to riding areas. There may not be hundreds of miles of trails like some of the larger riding areas, but the 18 miles of clearly marked designated trails make for a good day of riding with the family.

The easternmost trail is marked as Stafford Road and would be an excellent choice for the novice rider, with many scenic overlooks high above the Potomac River. East Valley trail is by far the more challenging of the two trails, with many twists and turns, and large and small rocks.

Green Ridge State Forest has to be one of the easiest-to-access off-highway vehicle areas. Located about 18 miles east of Cumberland, Maryland, on Interstate 68, take exit 62 and drive south on 15 Mile Creek Road (gravel) about two miles to the intersection with Green Ridge Road. ATVs aren't allowed to ride on 15 Mile Creek Road.

The first day-use parking area is just ahead, or you can take Green Ridge Road another 4.3 miles to Mertens Avenue where there are two more parking areas.

There are a number of camp sites along Stafford Road that are on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is only $10 per night.

State park rules require your ATV to have a Maryland Department of Natural Resources off-road vehicle permit that costs $15. You can stop at the Green Ridge State Forest (301-478-3125) headquarters at exit 64 on Interstate 68 to pay for your camping and pick up your ORV permit.

All riders are required to wear a helmet and eye protection. Youth riders 12 and older (no riders under 12 allowed to ride) must be accompanied by an adult with a valid driver's license.

If you have an old three-wheeler you're thinking of bringing, don’t. leave the three-wheelers at home because they aren't allowed in Maryland state forests.

Cumberland is the closest full service town with plenty of motels, restaurants and ATV dealerships. Six miles west is the little town of Flintstone with limited services.

If you are up for more off-road adventures, log on to the Maryland DNR website where you will see a complete listing and more information on all seven ATV trails in western Maryland: