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Fresh, crystal clear mountain water makes Savage River Reservoir a beautiful destination in northwestern Maryland. Located in a canyon of the Savage River State Forest, the 360-acre reservoir is an ideal spot for outdoor adventure seekers. Created by construction of the Savage River Dam in 1952, Savage River Reservoir in Garrett County provides drinking water, flood control, and recreation for the area. The lake is owned and operated by the Upper Potomac River Commission with the guidance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The waters of Savage River Reservoir are clear enough to provide 15 feet of visibility. The huge rocks and boulders create mesmerizing underwater scenes. There are several coves waiting to be explored. Almost the entire rocky shoreline is richly forested. The seasons bring vibrant colors as well as varied activities for all age groups.
The Savage River Reservoir offers world class trout fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and sometimes cutthroat trout. The quality of the wild brook and brown trout fishery is truly amazing. Spring brings forth loads of native brook trout, wild brown trout and stocked rainbow trout. Catches also include large and smallmouth bass, walleye, black crappie, bluegill, catfish, bass and tiger muskie.
After a day of fishing, several wonderful choices await. Opportunities include mountain biking, paddling, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, cross-whitewater paddling, nature study or rustic camping. More than 12,000 acres of forest at Savage River Reservoir have been designated as State Wildlands. The region remains refreshingly free of development.
Savage River Reservoir is a wonderful treat for outdoor enthusiasts. Savage River State Forest offers a variety of exciting recreational activities. Within the forest lie two beautifully wooded state parks, Big Run and New Germany. Hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, off-road wheeling, hunting, fishing, and paddling are favorite activities. New Germany State Park visitors find a shimmering 13-acre expanse of water. A peaceful beach, rowboats, and plenty of fishing opportunities are a true treat. Nestled among tall trees are 39 campsites and miles of ski trails. New Germany Park offers nature talks, and a historian conducts entertaining tours. New Germany's primitive log cabins are fully winterized. Abutting the forest is stunning 300-acre Big Run Park. The park is brimming with fun-filled activities.
Heavily forested hillsides along with vibrant pastures of rhododendron and mountain azaleas surround the reservoir. The more than 54,000 acres of rugged terrain at Savage River State Forest never ceases to challenge long-time hikers, hunters, paddlers, anglers and mountain bikers. Rhododendron thickets and hickory and oak trees provide a comfortable habitat to a great variety of wildlife species. The forest comes to life with black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats and raccoons to name a few. Chances of sighting ducks, great blue herons, king fishers, vultures, beavers, mink, water snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders are very high. Ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, a plethora of songbirds, and amphibians and reptiles flourish throughout the Savage River area. Various species of hawks, owls and songbirds flit through the air. Guided canoe trips, offered by experienced forest interpreters or private nature tourism vendors are a good thing for visitors.
Several trails near Savage River Reservoir are worth exploring. Big Savage Trail consists of a 17 miles that wind through forests of oak and hickory, farmsteads and terrain covered with an array of wild azaleas and rhododendron. Margraff Trails is a series of gravel roads for more advanced cyclists. Mt. Aetna Tract Trails is an astoundingly scenic 700-acre area with loop trails that offer chances for bird watching, mountain biking and hiking. Along the Asa Durst Trails expect to see a plethora of pine and spruce and stream valleys layered with rhododendron and hardwood forests. For those looking for tranquility, New Germany offers peaceful snowshoe or cross-country ski experiences. Poplar Lick Trail is a popular trail that begins at New Germany State Park, and Meadow Mountain is a motorized vehicle route. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular throughout these trails.
Enjoying plant life comes as second nature to outdoor enthusiasts at Savage River Reservoir. The State Forest is brimming with hemlocks, hickories, oaks, beech, poplars, black cherry, colorful wildflowers and more. The blankets of spectacular pink azaleas and rhododendron are truly breathtaking. A wildflower walk and wildlife viewing should be included in your "To Do List."
Skilled canoeists and kayakers find Savage River Reservoir to be a real treat. The area proudly hosts whitewater challenges and championships. Nearby is the Casselman stone arch bridge, the site where Washington and Braddock traveled to Fort Duquesne in 1813.
A short or long trip to Savage River Reservoir offers plenty of payback no matter what your age or interests. Often the only sound you can hear at the reservoir is the babble of water over rocks and the wind through the trees. However, the opportunities to engage in the myriad of water and outdoor activities are endless. So whether you want to rest and relax or enjoy an exciting, one-of-a-kind vacation, Savage River Reservoir offers it all.
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