On an early fall day, the most recent CORE trail ride to Green Ridge State Forest started as a cool 48 degrees with overcast skies. All week the weather forecast promised a “picture perfect day”.
” The rain stopped and the sun started breaking through the clouds. It was going to be a nice day after words!”
On this adventure, the following CORE members were in attendance:
- Mike Vincenty, White Rubicon (CORE president)
- Keith Holman, Chevy Blazer (member)
- Dave Dorrin, Gold Rubicon (CORE secretary)
- Alex Hinson, Black S-10 Blazer (member)
On the drive to Western Maryland I reflected on the forecast as the rain came down and the radio announced, “a chance of shower today”. Yea right!
Green Ridge State Forest is located in the western part of Maryland, about 17 miles west of city of Hancock and 7 miles east of the city of Flintstone. The forest contains 44,000 acres in size and is managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The forest contains many hiking and bike trails of various difficulties. Camping is available at the many camp sites throughout the forest. This Green Ridge State Forest also is host to, one of the only state support ATV/ORV public trails in Maryland. This is an 18 mile loop in the center of the forest. This was the destination for CORE on this run. CORE has made Green Ridge one of our regular wheeling spots for those who desire a mild and relaxing day on the trails.
Our trip out was uneventful. We first stopped briefly in Flintstone Maryland for snacks and fuel. I successfully got our small group to the Green Ridge ATV/ORV trail head. We entered the trail onto East Valley Road. The light rain made the trail wet, but not soaking enough to cause any serious mud.
The first part of the loop proceeds in a south western direction. The trail snaked as it followed the side of Town Hill Mountain. Nothing difficult, just a pleasant drive in the woods.
About 6.3 miles and 50 minutes later we briefly stopped at the power line crossing area to stretch our legs. We pressed on and after traveling another 2.4 miles, we reached the intersection for Stafford Road. Stafford Road runs along the ridge line of Town Hill Mountain. It takes you to the top. From here it is an up hill climb to get to the top. This left turn has you heading in a north easterly direction. Stafford Road eventually brings you back to the start of the ATV/ORV trail head.
The character of the trail changes soon after making the left turn onto Stafford Road. It was here where I first shifted in to 4-low. The up hill climb is long. The trail is covered with small loose rocks and occasional deep ruts. From looking at a contour map I can see we climbed 600 feet to get to the top of the ridge. We all made it up without incident. After reaching the top the trail mostly levels out. You are riding on the ridge line of Town Hill Mountain. From here it is an easy ride to our favorite lunch spot, Banner’s Overlook.
We stopped for lunch and relaxation. We have traveled about 11.7 miles in roughly 2 hours. The light rain continued while we enjoyed our lunches, the group company, and the scenery in the valley to the east.
During lunch we all got a good laugh watching Alex try out his motorized skateboard contraption. It looked like a lot of fun to ride. However, the wet dirt road and single wheel drive did not provide him enough traction to keep the contraption moving. It was a site to see!
After lunch we decided to press on. On previous runs to Green Ridge, we would leave the lunch spot and the ATV/ORV trail via Mertens Avenue. However this time we decided to check out the rest of Stafford Road, which would take us back to our starting location thereby completing the entire ATV/ORV loop.
This last portion of the trail is really nothing more than a dirt road. Four wheel drive was not necessary. We quickly covered ground. The rain stopped and the sun started breaking through the clouds. It was going to be a nice day after words!
On our Green Ridge runs, it is customary to wrap up the trip with a side trip that takes you across Town Creek. This was our next destination. After returning back to the ATV/ORV trail head, I got the group onto Green Ridge Road. This is a main road that runs through the forest. We headed south east and stopped at Log Roll Overlook to admire the beautiful valley and farmland to the west. I thought to myself how nice it would be to own a large tract of land in the valley.
We found our way out of Green Ridge State Forest and descended in to the valley where Town Creek runs. Soon we reached the first creek crossing. Upon reaching the creek I noticed how low the water level was. On CORE’s Spring run to Green Ridge the water level was about 18-20 inches deep. On this run, the water level looked to be no more than 6 inches deep.
We crossed Town Creek two more times as we continued our journey away from the forest. After the third crossing we briefly stopped to regroup and decide on our plan of attack for the ride home. Again wanting to try something a bit different, we opted to head back to the town of Flintstone via back country roads. Here we proceeded on Town Creek Road. This road generally follows the creek and took us north back in the direction of Flintstone. From here we said our good byes and headed back onto the interstate to leave behind another day of pleasant memories in the forests and trails with good friends.
What more could one ask for?
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Alex Hinson, Dave Dorrin, and Keith Holman.