Deep Run/Big Run Trail (Green Ridge State Forest)

Deep Run/Big Run Trail

Deep Run/Big Run Trail

About three years ago, I picked up a map of the trails in Green Ridge State Forest.  After many years of passing the forest’s boundary along the C&O Canal, checking out the woods beyond the berm just seemed like a good idea.  It took a while for the journey to begin, but we have been fortunate enough to knock out most of the trails in 2014.  In fact, a section of Long Pond Trail is all that remains.

Distances from Fifteen Mile Creek Road

Distances from Fifteen Mile Creek Road.  Candee’s app measured it at 7.76 from Log Roll Overlook.

By description, Deep Run/Big Run Trail seems to be the most interesting path through the forest, and I have been both looking forward to and putting off the hike for a number of months.  The thing is that Candee and I took a numbingly cold drenching after twenty-something stream crossings (lower Big Run) on Log Roll Trail earlier in the year, and it seemed like a good idea to wait until we knew that everything was dry.  Sunday was the perfect opportunity.

Massive dry stream bed on Deep Run

Massive dry stream bed on Deep Run

The northern access to the trail is on Fifteen Mile Creek Road, while the southern terminus is on Kirk Road.  At about the 4 mile mark (from Fifteen Mile), the trail crosses Mertens Avenue.  The mid-point is important because the trail gets its name from the two streams that it follows.  Deep Run flows north and is a tributary of Fifteen Mile Creek, while Big Run flows south into the Potomac River just after passing through a large culvert on the C&O Canal.

Candee has a thing for mushrooms.  We bought the Audubon book, but we can't identify them worth a hoot!

Candee has a thing for mushrooms. We bought the Audubon book, but we can’t identify them worth a hoot!

One of the more interesting things about Deep Run/Big Run is that both stream beds are absolutely huge.  This is unusual because this is the driest part of Maryland, receiving roughly 36″ of precipitation per year.  Maybe there’s something to the old adage, when it rains it pours.  As stated, I know for a fact that there’s enough water in these streams from time-to-time to make a hiker absolutely miserable!

Deep Run Shelter

Deep Run Shelter

We have a habit of doing everything backward, so we started at the Log Roll Overlook on Green Ridge Road.  From there, we walked down Kirk Road and took a hard left at the trailhead.  Heading in this direction, the trail follows the upper end of Big Run uphill at a gradual rate before reaching its apex (roughly 1250′ above sea level) just before crossing Mertens Avenue.

Time for another mushroom break!

Time for another mushroom break!

A portion of Deep Run/Big Run is linked with the Great Easter Trail (GET).  The GET began as an alternative to the Appalachian Trail and runs from Alabama to the Finger Lakes region of New York.  It follows the Tuscarora Trail into Hancock before splitting into a loop: one route continues north on the Tuscarora, while the other follows the C&O Canal before heading in a northerly direction through Green Ridge State Forest (for 18 miles).  The two alternatives reconnect in Pennsylvania on the Mid State Trail.

Green for Deep Run/Big Run, white for Great Eastern

Green for Deep Run/Big Run, white for Great Eastern

With that said, the trail is well-marked, but it’s a bit confusing in that there are both green and white blazes painted on  trees.  Sometimes there will be a green, sometimes a white, and every so often there’s a combination like the one above.  We did run into one confusing spot where the GET trail blazer got a bit overzealous, but the main idea is that by following the streams little can go wrong.

A boulder-strewn Deep Run passing along a cliff.  Thanks for the picture, Jane!

A boulder-strewn Deep Run passing along a cliff. Thanks for the picture, Jane!

Some of the best scenery occurs near the northern trailhead.  Deep Run passes along the base of a steep cliff in an area that is designated as a state wildland.  Due to the lack of rainfall, there are a few unique plants that grow in the area–including prickly pear cactus, large blazing star, and Kate’s mountain clover.  Naturally, I failed miserably in regard to spotting a cactus, but I suppose the mushrooms make up for it.

This is pretty cool!  See, there was this dead-looking log coming out of the ground horizontally and these branches were growing out of it in such a way that they looked like individual trees.  Never mind!  Just check out the picture.

This is pretty cool! See, there was this dead-looking log coming out of the ground horizontally and these branches were growing out of it in such a way that they looked like individual trees. Never mind! Just check out the picture.

Deep Run?Big Run Trail is rated as moderate in difficulty.  On this occasion, it was a very easy hike, but with water… Probably not!  I suppose the idea is to take all hikes as they come, and on this day, Deep Run/Big Run Trail made for a very satisfying experience.

On the way back too the second car, we stopped off at White Silphur Pond on Wallizer Road.  It's very small, but there are several benches on the bank for fishermen to enjoy.

On the way back too the second car, we stopped off at White Sulphur Pond on Wallizer Road. It’s very small, but there are several benches on the bank for fishermen to enjoy.

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jamie on October 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

    You have posted two pictures of Deep Run. The second shows a puddle in the stream bed, but the first appears to be bone dry. I’m curious about whether there may have been some moisture hidden under the leaves in the first picture? Perhaps the second picture is from a lower elevation?

    That’s a good eye to spot that next-to-last shot. It is a fun picture!

    Reply

  2. Posted by LevelWalker on October 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Jamie,

    That one was at a lower elevation,but there were occasional pools throughout. I believe upturning a large stone and digging a couple of feet would have yielded water in most places–particularly further downstream In places, the trail seemed to be on an island of sorts, with channels on either side. The size of the channel is astounding, and both Deep and Big Runs are sizeable streams in wet weather. Take the Big Run Culvert on the C&O for example: it’s huge! Especially for an area with desert-like qualities (shale barrels and cacti, although we struck out in finding any).

    That tree thing proves that Mother Nature has a sense of humor. It was weird, yet very cool.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Dan'l on March 27, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I have hiked extensively in both Allegany and Garrett Counties, recently I have been on a quest to find the best waterfalls in Allegany County. Did you come across the location of the Deep Run falls in your travels? I’m willing to drag my waders along with me to manage the stream crossings in order to catch the water coming over the falls.

    Reply

    • Posted by LevelWalker on April 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Sorry, I haven’t checked comments in a while. The stream was completely dry when we were there. I would be interested to see that as well. I’m just guessing, but it must be further downstream than the end of the trail. I’m going to have to Google that!

      Reply

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