Mountains and forest surround this picturesque Greenbrier State Park, located 3 miles northeast of Boonsboro and 65 miles west of Baltimore. This scenic area lies along South Mountain not far from the legendary Appalachian Trail.
With a freshwater lake, 1,000 foot beach area, hiking trails, serene picnic areas, and a campground this state park is a popular place to be during the spring and summer. Here guests enjoy swimming, paddling, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, camping, bird watching, picnicking, and more.
And Greenbrier State Park is one of the 6 parks that make up the South Mountain Recreation Area. This area also includes Gathland State Park, South Mountain State Park, Washington Monument State Park, South Mountain State Battlefield, and Fort Frederick State Park.
Whether you spend a few relaxing days here or use it as a starting point for an adventure along the Appalachian Trail you’ll enjoy your time inside this beautiful Maryland State Park.
During your visit be sure to check out the Visitor Center. Inside you will find a small gift shop and information about all 6 of the state parks that lie within the South Mountain Recreation Area. Together these parks make up some 13,000 acres of trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, and opportunities to swim, boat, hike, mountain bike, fish, bird watch, and more.
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Greenbrier State Park:
Boating at Greenbrier State Park
Spend a fun day out on the 42-acre lake inside Greenbrier State Park. You may bring your own hand powered or electric trolling motor boats. Or rent a paddle board inside the park.
Swimming at Greenbrier State Park
If you’re planning a visit to Greenbrier State Park between early May and late September you’ll be able to enjoy swimming in the park’s 42-acre freshwater lake. The 1,000 foot beach and swimming area is only available during that time and only while the swimming area is roped off. The beach area also contains a large section of shallow water that’s ideal for small children to play in.
Lifeguards are on duty 11 am to 6 pm on most days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Restrooms, showers, and changing rooms are conveniently located near the beach area.
Hiking at Greenbrier State Park
Greenbrier State Park’s 11 miles of trails extend throughout the surrounding area and connect with trails leading outside of the park. Most of these trails consist of steep hills, rocky terrain, creeks, and scenic overlooks as they climb into the mountainous forest.
Trails lead from inside Greenbrier State Park to Annapolis Rock and Black Rock, and also over to Washington Monument State Park. These trails also connect to the legendary Appalachian Trail, the 2,168 mile long hiking trail that extends from Georgia to Maine. Maryland is home to 40 miles of this famous trail.
Guests interested in exploring the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail may purchase a guide to the Appalachian Trail inside the Visitor Center and head out along the trails leading from inside Greenbrier State park. Shelter and campgrounds are located along the trail. If this sounds exciting to you, plan ahead for a strenuous hike up steep slopes by wearing appropriate footwear and carrying snacks and plenty of water.
Also be aware that several trails surrounding the park are in public hunting areas. If you plan to visit between September and January, or in April or May make sure you wear bright colors while hiking.
Here are a couple of the trails at Greenbrier State Park:
- The Big Red Trail – A moderate 5.2 mile loop that winds along a rocky path through the forest and by creeks and the lake.
- The Bartman Hill Trail – A difficult 0.6 mile trail. This steep trail starts near the Visitor Center and connects to the Appalachian Trail.
- The Rock Oak Fire Trail – Moderate 1.5 mile trail that flows through the woodlands and along the lake. It also runs parallel to the Snelling Fire Trail.
Biking at Greenbrier State Park
Most of the trails within Greenbrier State Park are open for mountain bikes. The only exceptions are the section of the Rock Oak Fire Trail that lies along the dam and the Bartman Hill Trail. Mountain bikes are also not permitted on the Appalachian Trail.
Fishing at Greenbrier State Park
During your visit to Greenbrier State Park, set some time aside to enjoy a relaxing day fishing for trout, bluegill, or largemouth bass in the park’s 42-acre freshwater lake. Here you may fish from shore or boat as long as you bring your own gear and have a Maryland fishing license. Children under the age of 15 may fish without a license.
Birding at Greenbrier State Park
While visiting the peaceful areas within Greenbrier State Park you’ll get many opportunities to observe a variety of native and migratory birds.
Pick up a bird list and grab your binoculars, you may see a Northern Mockingbird, Common Loon, Pine Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Osprey, Wood Duck, Northern Gannet, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Double-crested Cormorant, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Bald Eagle, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye, Ring-billed Gull, Snow Bunting, or a Peregrine Falcon.
Nature and Wildlife at Greenbrier State Park
While relaxing or exploring anywhere within this picturesque area surrounded by woodlands and mountains you may have a chance to observe squirrels, White-tailed Deer, chipmunks, raccoons, snakes, birds, and black bears. To learn more about bears and to prepare for your visit check out the Living with Black Bears webpage.
Between September and April guests with pets may enjoy all areas within Greenbrier State Park. But between Memorial Day and Labor Day, pets are not allowed in the lake or in the day -use areas of the park. Leashed pets are only permitted within the campground and on the trails during that time.
Greenbrier State Park features 165 campsites cozily tucked within the woodlands. These campsites are available seasonally between early April and late October. All campsites have a picnic table and fire ring and are within walking distance to restrooms and hot showers.
Pets are allowed, but only in the campsites within the Cedar and Dogwood loops.
Greenbrier State Park also has a separate camping area for organized Youth Group Camping. Information and applications may be found on their website.
Greenbrier State Park
21843 National Pike
Boonsboro, MD 21713
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Greenbrier State Park:
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