Ferns at Greenbrier state park

Sylvie’s Review: 4.5/5 paws!

Dog Friendly Amenities

Situated in beautiful western Maryland, Greenbrier is a local gem.  Featuring a lake, beach, camping, hiking and stunning views, who wouldn’t want to go!  Not to mention it’s pet friendly.  Our intention when going to this state park was to take our dog down to the lake (on a leash) and go on a hike on one of the trails.  Before making the 1.5 hour drive, we did some research on the park.  Here are questions to answer before traveling to Greenbrier or any Maryland State Park:

Are pets allowed, where are they allowed, and when? Pets are allowed at most Maryland State Parks.  Check to see when pets are allowed at the lake (which is generally during the off season from before Memorial Day weekend and after Labor Day weekend).  Pets are allowed on most trails and in most campsites.  We visited the park before Memorial Day weekend.  Check the “Information” tab on each state park for details.

Maryland State Park pet policy: https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/pets.aspx

What do I do with my trash and pet waste?  Most Maryland State Parks are “trash free” parks, which means they don’t have garbage cans readily available.  At Greenbrier this was no exception and we had to store our trash (including pet waste) in the trunk of the car.  Some of the parks have poop stations, Greenbrier didn’t when we visited.  Remember to take dog bags and an extra trash bag with you!  I found this information on the “Lets Go Camping” portion of the Maryland State Parks website, it wasn’t readily available.

Is there an entrance fee?  Entrance fees vary from $3-$5 depending on the time of the year you visit and are $2 more for out-of-state visitors.  These fees vary by park.  You can find this information under the “Day Use” link at the bottom of each state park’s page.

What trail do I want to hike? I always look at the trail map before heading out to get an idea of the trails available to hike.  There is generally a “Trails and Maps” link at the bottom of the page.  Check the distance using the map’s legend.  You can also do more research on the trails by using another service like AllTrails.com, which is also available as an app.  (Not all trails will be detailed here).

To learn more about the park please visit their website: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/western/greenbrier.aspx

Cool Fact! A part of the Appalachian Trail passes through this park, if that is something you’re interested in exploring!

Where Did We Go Hiking at Greenbrier?

Upon arriving we enjoyed a quick lunch at the picnic area.  There are picnic tables and pavilions available on the eastern side of the lake.  Please see the map here: http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Documents/Greenbrier_Map.pdf

After lunch and a quick visit to the lake, we headed around the southern end of the lake and started north along the Camp Loop Trail (orange blaze) that runs along the lake.  From there we entered onto the Big Red Trail (red blaze) heading south.  Our hike took us on a loop around the Big Red Trail, which eventually lands you on the northern edge of the lake (where the picture above was taken).

Hike Length and Difficulty: The trail was about 4-5 miles long and moderately strenuous.  There were some steep spots but the trail is well maintained and easy to hike on.  Rocks were plenty throughout the trail, like most trails in the Appalachians, so just watch your feet.

Spots to stop along the way: Don’t miss the blooming Mountain Laurel in lake spring (pictured below) along the Camp Loop Trail that runs along the lake.  There was also a creek crossing on the northern end of the Big Red Trail that Sylvie cooled her paws off in and drank fresh spring water (second photo below).  If you love ferns, you’ll love this park, it is full of them!  There is also a beautiful mountainous area near the end of the trail where the Copperhead Trail (green blaze) leaves the Big Red Trail.  You can take the green blaze if you want to hike through this mountainous outcropping but you’ll also get to enjoy it on the Big Red Trail.  Lastly, we enjoyed being on the other side of the lake and climbing up on some large boulders along the final stretch of the Big Red Trail before it meets back up with the Camp Loop Trail.  Also, a great photo opportunity with your pup!  (Third picture below)

Overall a beautiful park to visit with friendly people and stunning scenery.  It was a perfect day hike and the weather in lake Spring is fantastic.  We would love to go back in Fall to see the red, orange and yellow colors of the season.

If you visit this park or any other Maryland State Parks, let us know what you think in the comments below.  Happy Trails!