New St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and Campground to Open This Summer!

New St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and Campground to Open This Summer!

Off-Road Vehicle Use on Maryland’s Public Lands

New St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and Campground to Open This Summer!

Maryland Department of Natural Resources is preparing to open a new ORV Trail and campground on Savage River State Forest located on the south side of I-68 near the town of Finzel in Garrett County. 

The Trail will be the first-ever ORV Trail on department lands designed specifically for ORV enthusiasts. Features will include:

first-ever campsite designed to support ORV riders

single-track hare scramble style trail sections for motorcycles

technical trail spur loops for all-terrain vehicles

full-size rock crawl area for jeeps and four-wheel drive vehicles

What do I need to know about using the new ORV Trail and Campground?

Advance reservations are required. To use the Trail and Campground, you must make advance reservations through the Department’s COMPASS system. Full payment is required to make a reservation through COMPASS. Registration is currently not available, it will be up as soon as the trail is open to the public. Reservations can be made for:


Day use with parking

Day use without parking

The St. John’s Rock ORV Trail and campground is for ORV recreational use only. Users must have a registered ORV with the Department of Natural Resources, or a MVA-tagged vehicle that is suitable for off-road use. There are many other campsites available on State Forests for general recreational use.  Here is more information on other State Forest camping opportunities.

How many campsites are available?

A total of eight ORV campsites will be available at St. John’s Rock.

Four large (group) ORV camping sites – camping pad size is 40’ x 40’ and the parking area can accommodate up to five trailered vehicles

Four small (individual) ORV camping sites – camping pad size is 20’ x 20’ and the parking area can accommodate one trailered vehicle and one non-trailered vehicle

Campsite Map

How does the Day Use reservation system work?

As mentioned above, Day Use reservations are available for purchase through the Department’s COMPASS system, with two options: (1) with parking and (2) without parking. 

Jeep and four-wheel drivers that will be on the trail or rock-crawl may not need parking, but a Day Use permit and reservation is still required to use the Trail.

A total of 19 Day Use with parking reservations are available each day. There is no limit on Day Use reservations without parking. 

For Day Use reservations with parking, there are 10 spaces for trailered vehicles and 9 spaces for non-trailered vehicles.

Size of trailered vehicle parking spaces is 12’ x 50’

Size of non-trailered vehicle parking spaces is 9’ x 20’

Proof of parking reservation documents from COMPASS are required to be placed in plain sight on the dashboard of all parked vehicles. Here is a map of the parking area.

What information do I need to know about the campground sites?

Campground check-in is 3:00 PM / check-out is 2:00PM.

Quiet hours are from 11:00PM to 6:00AM.

A maximum of four nights can be reserved for a single reservation. Campers must be set-up before quiet hours start at 11:00PM.

This is a primitive campground. The only campground amenity available is a vault (composting) toilet. No potable water is available at the campground, and no electric hook-ups are available.

This is a trash-free campground. All trash must be packed out and the campsites left in a clean condition.

Pets are allowed, but must be on a leash or under owner control at all times.

Alcohol is allowed, subject to COMAR and COMAR

Please be aware that cellular service is spotty in this area.

The operation of generators is prohibited during the established quiet hours from 11:00PM to 6:00AM. At times outside of quiet hours, all aspects of their operation must conform to standards designed to prevent disturbing other visitors and to preserve the peace and tranquility of the campground, per COMAR

What information do I need to know about the Trail?

All ORV use is restricted to the designated ORV Trail system. Users must stay on the designated trail at all times.

ORV Trail use is limited to daylight hours – no nighttime riding is permitted on the Trail loops or rock-crawl areas. Nighttime driving is only allowed on the main road for entering and exiting the area.

The technical trail spur loops and single-track are two-way and narrow. Riders must ride cautiously and courteously.

Jeeps and MVA tagged four-wheel drive vehicles (e.g., vehicles that are wider than standard-width ORV’s) are not allowed on the trail spur loops and single-track sections of the Trail.

Children are allowed to use the ORV Trail, subject to COMAR

What do I need to know about campfires?

Practice proper campfire safety procedures at all times.

Firewood for camping must be purchased from local vendors. Please note that there is no firewood for sale onsite. Do not bring personal firewood in to the State Forest. A wide variety of forest insect pests are accidentally transported and introduced to new areas by transporting personal firewood between distinct geographic locations. Please keep our forests safe!

Kindling and downed branches can be collected to burn in your fire ring. Campfires must be in the fire ring only. Cutting down trees is prohibited. Use of chainsaws is not permitted.

What is the reservation cancellation / refund policy for the St. John’s Rock ORV Trail?

Campsite reservations that are cancelled 30 days or more prior to scheduled arrival date receive a full refund, less a $6 per reservation cancellation service charge.

Campsite reservations cancelled between 29 and 8 days prior to scheduled arrival date receive a 50% refund, less a $6 per reservation cancellation service charge.

No refunds will be made for campsite reservation cancellations that are made 7 or less days prior to scheduled arrival date, for no-shows or early departures after the date of scheduled arrival.

No refunds for daily use permits will be issued.

If you have refund question please contact or the Savage River State Forest Office at 301-895-5759. Office hours are M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM, closed on state holidays and weekends.

What do we do if we have a problem?

To report a problem or concern, please contact the Natural Resources Police Communications Center at 1-800-260-8888 at any time, day or night. This number is also posted in the campground. The dispatcher will identify the nature of the call and assist in getting help as needed.

How can I get additional information?

Send an email to

Call the Savage River State Forest Office at 301-895-5759. Office hours are M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM, closed on state holidays and weekends.

Off-Road Vehicle Trail Approved for Garrett County

October 19, 2016

Department of Natural Resources to Construct Project in Savage River State Forest

The Board of Public Works unanimously approved today the construction of several projects within Savage River State Forest, including the development of the state’s first modern off-road vehicle trail. The trail will include the first-ever campsite designed to support off-highway vehicle riders. Other features will include single-track hare scramble style trail sections, technical trail spurs, internal loops, vehicular pull-offs and in another first – a full size rock crawl area.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which manages state forests and parks, seeks to open the 6 miles of improved trails late next spring or early summer.

“Improving access to our public lands and resources, and enhancing and promoting outdoor recreation is at the heart of what we do,” said Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “Providing an enjoyable and safe area to purse one’s passion in an ecologically-responsible and sustainable manner is in everyone’s interest. We appreciate the patience of the off-road community as we developed this project and look forward to welcoming riders and their families.”

The new St. John’s Rock Road trail, located near the Allegany and Garrett County line, will complement the state’s existing off-road trail system in select areas of Garrett, Potomac and Savage River state forests.

All off-road vehicles must be registered annually with the department and display a current registration sticker, which is available for purchase online, at department service centers or Maryland Forest Service offices. An off-road vehicle is defined as a motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or other natural terrain. This includes a four-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicle, an automobile, a truck, a motorcycle and related two-wheel vehicles, an amphibious machine, a ground effect or air cushion vehicle, a snowmobile or golf cart.

The Western Maryland Recreational Access and Trail Restoration project is estimated to cost $1.4 million and is set for completion around May or June 2017 (weather dependent). Part of the funding was provided through the Recreational Trail Program, which is administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration.