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Green Ridge State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest

The Green Ridge State Forest is located in the Ridge and Valley Province of the Allegheny Mountain chain. The average annual precipitation is 36 inches, the lowest in the state. Town Hill, Green Ridge and Polish Mountains elevation varies from 475 feet at the Potomac River to 2,039 feet on Town Hill. Magnificent views of the surrounding landscape can be seen from Point Lookout, Banners, Logroll, Warrior Mountain and No Name Overlooks. Rich in history, the forest was once the site for the Carroll Furnace , originally built as part of a steam powered saw mill in the 1830's.

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Image Credit: Green Ridge State Forest


Green Ridge State Forest is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Green Ridge State Forest headquarters is open during office hours Monday through Friday. Weekend office hours vary, depending on the season.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)


Admission to the forest is Free

Shooting Range Use is $5 per day and $25 per year. Anyone under 16 or over 64 is $2.50 per day and $10 per year. 


  • Shooting
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Hiking
  • Primitive Camping
  • Mountain Biking
  • Equestrian trails
  • Driving tour
  • Geocaching
  • Canoe and Kayak


In the early 1800’s, Richard Caton and William Carroll in partnership owned much of the land that is Green Ridge State Forest today. Richard Caton was the son-in-law to Charles Carroll of Carrolton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. William Carroll was the grandson of Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek, a framer of the United States Constitution. The land was originally patented from vacant lands during the 1820-1840 period for inclusion into various timber and mining interests, primarily the Town Hill Mining, Manufacturing, and Timber Company. This business venture was financed by the estate of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. The crumbling stone structure known as the Carroll Chimney, part of the steam-powered sawmill built in 1836, is the only known surviving structure of that period.

In the 1880-1912 era, most of the remaining virgin forest was cut and a period of neglect resulted in numerous wildfires. During the early 1900’s, the Mertens family of Cumberland attempted to convert the forest into apple orchards and promoted it as “The Largest Apple Orchard in the Universe.”

The orchard was subdivided into 10-acre parcels and sold to individuals as investment properties. Five acres of each property parcel was cleared, burned, and planted into apple trees. The remaining five acres had the best trees cut and the poorer trees were left standing. The orchard company went into bankruptcy in 1918. The interests of the corporation were acquired by the State Department of Forestry in 1931.

The first forest management activities at Green Ridge were performed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930’s. Their main focus was fire control. Other work consisted of building roads, trails, recreation enhancements, and the management of existing forest for its future timber and wildlife potential.

During World War II, the CCC camp at Fifteen Mile Creek housed German prisoners of war who were required to cut pulpwood in the forest. As the forest grew it became popular with outdoor enthusiasts, especially hunters. It also contributed more and more to the local wood products industry.

Today, Green Ridge is a diverse forest consisting primarily of a 110 year old even-aged mixed oak forest, mixed with a wide variety of age classes resulting from various silviculture activities beginning in the late 1960’s.


Last updated: March 15, 2021
Potomac Trail