Maryland is an off the beaten path ATV destination.

Exploring Maryland: Unforgettable ATV Trails

Exploring the wild spaces in the United States is one of the best ways to experience the many different landscapes and incredible vistas that can only be found here. 


There is something for outdoorsmen to do in every single state in the United States, and Maryland is no exception. ATV trails are a great way to see more Maryland wildlife and wilderness and can be a ton of fun to ride in this state. 


We might not have the same level of ATV trails and adventures as states known for ATV riding like Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic trails you can find here! 


Here are some of the best trails you can ride in Maryland and what you need to know before you head out.


The Best ATV Trails In Maryland


There are a lot of other trails that we couldn't include here, but these are some of the best-rated and most popular ATV trails you can ride in Maryland. 


If you want to experience a trail that isn’t on this list, don’t let that stop you! Some of those hidden or underreported gems can be the most fun you’ve ever had on a trail. Especially if you have friends and family in the area who ride, see if they have any recommendations for Maryland trail rides.


Maryland has a number of ATV trails to choose from


Wolf Den Run State Park


Wolf Den Run State Park is a destination you don’t want to miss. As you might expect from any state or national park, there’s a lot more going on here than just ATV riding. If you’re looking for an outdoor area you can spend several days and have an incredible time filled with family fun and entertainment, this is one of the better places to go. 


Complete with 10 miles of ATV-specific trails, a motocross track, and an additional 7 miles of trails designed for SUVs, there is plenty to do at Wolf Den Run State Park. 


You can also camp at this state park, which is perfect for people who want to have a more extended trip. It’s a great destination whether this is your first time visiting Maryland, or already living in the state.


Red Oak Loop


The Red Oak loop is a smaller trail within a larger trail network, the St. John’s Rock Offroad Vehicle Trail, but it’s one that ATV riders really don’t want to miss. 


It’s a 2-mile loop, and only available to ATVs and Motorcycles. That’s fantastic because it means that you’re mostly going to be looking at the same kinds of vehicles, and similar levels of speed and maneuverability from most of the people using the trail. 


Beyond the beautiful views you get on the Red Oak Loop, it's also just a fun trail to ride, and a simple 2-mile loop that can be run is as little as 15 minutes if you want to. 


You do need a daily use permit for parking, but permits aren’t that expensive. Between the Red Oak loop and the other trails in the area, it’s more than worth the cost of parking.


Budds Creek Motocross Park


Motocross parks are definitely different from trails, but they're worth visiting. It's a good way to test your skills, see what your ATV can handle, and work on tricky turns, crossings, and even jumps, in a safer environment. 


For people who want to upgrade their riding skills, motocross parks are a great option. 


While Budds Creek Motocross park is far from the only motocross park in Maryland, it’s a great one to visit both because of the incredible tracks, and also because this is a natural terrain park, and it’s in a beautiful area. 


There really isn’t a better combination of the beauty and perks of trail riding, and the challenge and learning of a motocross park than Budds Creek.


Savage River State Forest


Savage River State Forest has already gotten a mention in this list, though you might not know it if you aren’t familiar with Maryland ATV trails. This state forest is home to St. John’s Rock Trail, which includes the Red Oak loop we’ve already talked about. 


There are three trail networks in the state forest, though all three have some restrictions, including limited times to access the trails, and occasional weather or maintenance closures so the trails can be maintained. 


It's important to check the state park website before you visit to make sure the trails are open. But, generally, as long as you're visiting during ATV riding season (so not in the dead of winter) most or all of the trails should be open during their normal business hours.


Gunpowder Falls State Park


For people who are looking for a more laid-back riding experience, or who are more interested in leisure riding than testing their skills, Gunpowder Falls State park is a great place to be. The parks’ trails are generally easy enough to rise, suitable for both beginners and intermediate riders, with most trails only requiring a minimum of technical skill. 


This state park is also known for fishing spots, beautiful woodland scenery, and plenty of other kinds of trails for hiking and other outdoor entertainment. 


Just be aware that there is no off-trail riding in Gunpowder Falls State Park. Staying strictly on the trails is important for protecting the environment and making sure everything stays pristine and available to future generations. 


Rockey Gap State Park


Rockey Gap State Park is an incredibly popular destination in Maryland for off-roading and ATV enthusiasts. 


This park gives you a lot to appreciate, from the more technically difficult rocky terrain to the incredible vistas and variety of trail options in the park. 


There are some trails here for novices and beginners, but more of the trails are designed for people who already have some trail riding experience and skills under their belt. 


Because this is such a technically difficult area, we highly recommend having all of your safety equipment ready to go when you head out. It's also important to check in with someone before you leave and make sure they know when to expect you back in case one of the trails ends up being a little more challenging than you anticipated.


Assateague Island National Seashore


Beach ATV riding might not sound like as much fun as a forested trail or a rocky mountain, but it’s one of those experiences you really shouldn’t underestimate before you give it a try. Sand is a lot more challenging than you’d think before you give it a ride, and there’s no other terrain that feels quite like it under your wheels. 


Between the beautiful beaches and the huge sand dunes you can ride at the Assateague Island National Seashore, this is one of the best places to experience beach riding. 


Not to mention the chance of seeing the unique beach and ocean wildlife while you're on the shore!


Potomac Garrett State Forest


Potomac Garrett State Forest is another fantastic destination for ATV riders in Maryland. There are several different trails here, all of them designed for off-roading. The trails here are generally open between March 15th through December 15th, though there may be occasional closures during the year for weather, natural disasters, or trail maintenance. 


With a little more than 10 miles of trails throughout the state forest, and a lot of different loops and runs to explore, this is a great place to spend a day on the trail. 


Common Questions About ATV Riding In Maryland


Here are some of the most common questions about riding in Maryland, and what you need to know before you head out. Whether you're a resident or an out-of-state visitor, it's important to be properly prepared before you hit the trails.


Do I Need A Special Permit To Ride ATVs In Maryland? 


You don’t need a specific ATV license in Maryland, but you are required to have a valid driver’s license or learner's permit to take the wheel on an ATV. 


It’s also important to know which areas and roads allow ATV driving, and which roads do not. Like most states, Maryland restricts ATV use to specific areas to help reduce the risk of a more serious accident or problem on roads that aren’t designed for ATV use, or that see a lot of traffic from bigger everyday use vehicles. 


Off-road vehicles used in Maryland are required to be properly registered and to carry liability insurance in case of accident or injury. 


In addition, you may be required to have a club membership, day use, or annual pass to use your ATV in some use areas. Fees for memberships or permitting go toward maintaining trails, protecting local wildlife, and other important measures to maintain Maryland’s wild areas and outdoor recreation.


What Should I Know About Off Roading In Maryland Before I Start?


It's important to know that Maryland is one of the states where you can experience almost every type of ATV riding and that there are a lot of high-skill required trails out here thanks to the varied and sometimes rocky terrain. 


It’s especially important to check trail markings and difficulty levels before you head out because it's relatively common for difficult technical trails to start similar to a beginner trail. 


You don’t want to be caught by an unexpected river crossing, difficult climb, or another obstacle you weren’t expecting because you didn’t read the trail signs.


What Are the Safety Regulations For ATV Riding In Maryland? 


There are a few important regulations you need to be aware of before coming to Maryland to ride or getting an ATV as a resident. The most important is probably that you need to wear an appropriately rated helmet at all times riding an ATV in Maryland. You are also required to have eye protection or a windscreen designed for driving. 


You also need to have your registration, lease or rental agreement, and proof of insurance with you at all times while riding an ATV. You are also required to register your ATV, in part as a way for the state to track how many ATVs are being used in the state and to estimate maintenance requirements. 


Here are the complete Maryland statutes regarding off-roading and riding an ATV in the state. 


Not sure where to start on your Maryland trip? Here are the ORV trails in the state, a great place to start planning!


Need More ATV Equipment Before You Hit The Trails? 


Gear up for your next Maryland ATV adventure with Thumper Fab's top-quality, feature-packed ATV tops, doors, and cages. Experience the difference today!

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