Location:

​The park is located in northern Harford County about 40 miles north of Baltimore and 10 miles northeast of Bel Air on Old Forge Hill Road.

Palmer State Park
Old Forge Hill Road
Dublin, MD 21154


Contact:

​410-557-7994​


Driving Directions:

​From Baltimore, take I-95 north to Route 24 north exit. Continue north on Route 24 through Bel Air. Route 24 becomes US-1. From US-1 turn right onto Forge Hill Road. The Park is located approximately 5 miles northeast of Gibson.


Hours of Operation:

​9 a.m. to Sunset, April-October

10 a.m. to Sunset, November-March


Pet Policy:

Pets on a leash are permitted in Palmer State Park.

Palmer State Park

History and Background

Nestled in the agricultural landscape of central HarfordPalmer State Park in the winter County is a 555-acre unbroken tract of forest known as Palmer State Park. In 1965, Gerald and Ruth Palmer donated 463 acres to the State of Maryland with the desire to see a public park created. During later years, an additional 92 acres were acquired from various landholders.

Under a canopy of second-growth and riparian forests, two miles of scenic Deer Creek runs through Palmer State Park. Historic sites can be found along the creek banks and native flora and fauna thrive in the forested habitat. Though the park is less than 20 minutes from the Town of Bel Air, nature enthusiasts and historians alike will appreciate the recreational opportunities at Palmer State Park.

At this time, access to Palmer State Park is limited. Planning is still in the early stages and there are no maintained hiking trails, parking areas are limited to roadside pull-offs, and maps and interpretive markers are still being developed. Plans are underway to add safe and environmentally friendly recreational activities at Palmer State Park. For future development plans, please see below.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at the Rocks, Susquehanna, and Palmer State Park Complex Office, by calling 410-557-7994 or by visiting our office located in Rocks State Park at 3318 Rocks Chrome Hill Road in Jarrettsville, MD.

Future Park Features

Future development plans for Palmer State Park may include:

  • Parking area to be located on Forge Hill Road, in former agricultural field
  • Sustainable and multi-use trail system with trail guide
  • Interpretive waysides of selected historic, cultural, and natural sites
  • Managed hunting area


Current Self-Guided Recreational Activities

Fishing
Non-Tidal (freshwater) Fishing License requiredPalmer State Park Forest

Recommended Gear and Safety Tips

  • Favorite fishing rod
  • Fishing bait and tackle
  • Hip boots or waders are recommended (no felt-soled waders or boots)
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water and snacks
  • Insect repellant
  • Check for ticks upon returning


Nature Photography / Observation and Study

A trail plan is currently being developed
A parking lot is proposed for trail access

Types of Nature Opportunities

  • Bird watching
  • Wetlands
  • Second-growth forests
  • Riparian forests
  • Native flora and fauna
  • Healthy cold water stream


Recommended Gear and Safety Tips

  • Binoculars/camera
  • Field guides
  • Notebook/journal
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water and snacks
  • Insect repellant
  • Adequate/sturdy footwear
  • Compass
  • Raingear
  • Trail map
  • Check for ticks upon returning


Please remember that all Maryland State Parks are Trash-Free Parks. We ask that our visitors take all trash with them when they leave.

Please follow the "Leave No Trace" Guidelines.

Canoeing/Kayaking

  • A launch area is not available in Palmer State Park. Paddlers can explore Deer Creek by putting in upstream. Deer Creek meanders through Palmer State Park, following a forested gorge and travelling through a boulder garden.
  • Deer Creek is a Scenic River, as officially designated by the Maryland Scenic and Wild River Review Board. A Scenic River is a “free-flowing river whose shoreline and related land are predominantly forested, agricultural, grassland, marshland, or swampland with a minimum of development for at least 2 miles of the river length."
  • Paddlers can put in at Rocks State Park, at the “Ma and Pa parking area” (heading north on Maryland Route 24, this is the first small parking area on the right after Cherry Hill Road). Please note that just upstream of the Ma and Pa parking area, in Rocks State Park, is a 150-yard series of Class 3 rapids. This area is closed to swimming and tubing. Only experienced whitewater paddlers should attempt to paddle this stretch. It is recommended that you portage around this section of water. The entire length of Deer Creek in Palmer State Park is open to swimming, tubing and paddling.
  • Total trip distance from Rocks State Park to Maryland Route 136 is 15.5 miles. For the average paddler, this trip should take about 6-8 hours.
  • This section of water is only passable by canoe when the U.S. Geological Survey gauge along Maryland Route 24 at the lower end of Rocks State Park reads at least 2.5 feet, which is generally in the spring.
  • Fallen trees and debris can obstruct the creek. Outside of the State Park areas, Deer Creek is bordered by private property. Please observe no trespassing signs, act responsibly and respect private property when on the creek.
  • For more information on this route, please contact the Deer Creek Watershed Association. The organization's website is: http://deercreekwatershed.com/

Recommended Gear and Safety Tips

  • Favorite canoe or kayak
  • Personal flotation devices (life jackets) for every paddler / vessel occupant
  • Appropriate shoes that can get wet
  • Throw-ropes and a bowline
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water and snacks

Future Self-Guided Recreational Activities

DNR is in the process of implementing the Palmer Palmer State Park historic siteState Park Land Unit Plan developed in 2011 and the Maryland Park Service is looking forward to adding environmentally friendly recreational activities. Until that time, limited amenities are provided. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at the Rocks, Susquehanna, and Palmer State Park Complex Office, by calling 410-557-7994 or by visiting our office located in Rocks State Park at 3318 Rocks Chrome Hill Road in Jarrettsville, Maryland.

Please remember that all Maryland State Parks are Trash-Free Parks. We ask that our visitors take all trash with them when they leave.

Please follow the "Leave No Trace" Guidelines.

Historical Sites

  • Interpretive signs regarding the historical significance of certain sites will be placed in the park.
  • A trail plan is currently being developed.
  • Husband Flint Mill – Originally built in the late 1800s by Joshua Husband, this historic mill was purchased by George J. Kroeger and rebuilt in 1909. The mill ground quartz, mined from quarries in the surrounding hills, for use in porcelain dishes and pottery. Before being dismantled in the 1920s, the mill was one of the best-equipped mills in the state of Maryland. Two kilns, a chimney, and part of the mill office are still visible today.
  • Deer Creek Iron Works – The forge was built in the middle 1800s and became a thriving community center with a general store and gristmill until the iron works ceased operations in 1878. The old foundation and covered bridge abutments are still visible today.


Sustainable Multi-Use Trails

  • A trail plan is currently being developed, and will include multi-use trails.


Recommended Gear and Safety Tips

  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water and a snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Adequate/sturdy footwear
  • Compass
  • Raingear
  • Trail map
  • Check for ticks upon returning


Alcohol Policy

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in most State Park areas, including all areas of Palmer State Park.

Online Services


Contact the Park Service

  • To Report Violations of Park Rules: 1-800-825-7275 (Park Watch) or 1-410-260-8888 (Communications Center)
  • General Information: 1-800-830-3974 (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Email Us