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Witch's Hole Multiple Use Area

hikingcampinghuntingtrappingcross country skiingsnow shoeing icon key

Witch's Hole State Forest locator map

The 451-acre Witch's Hole Multiple Use Area and it's adjacent 140-acre parcel of forest preserve are accessed through neighboring Minnewaska State Park (leaves DEC website) via the Old Smiley Carriage Road, which is open to hiking and other non-motorized recreation.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Witch's Hole Multiple UA features Old Smiley Carriage Road, which is an unmarked multi-use trail open to hiking and other non-motorized recreation. This trail winds across the southern portion of the unit and runs through the neighboring Minnewaska State Park (leaves DEC website) as well.

Camping

camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are no designated campsites on this state forest however, at-large primitive camping is allowed. Campsites must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in groups of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.

Hunting & Trapping

hunting
trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons. The main game species and furbearers found on the property include small game (especially squirrels), turkey, deer, and bear. There are trapping opportunities for wide‐ranging predator species such as fisher, bobcat, and coyote, but trappers won't find very many aquatic furbearers such as beaver or muskrat.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing
snow shoeing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Witch's Hole Multiple Use Area is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no groomed or maintained trails, however cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all forest roads and hiking trails.

Wildlife

General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state

A variety of wildlife can be found within the unit. In addition to the notable game species such as small game, turkey, deer, bear, fisher, bobcat, and coyote, various birds may be found. These include common raven, bald eagle, osprey, warblers, owls, flycatchers, hawks, and other songbirds, plus at-risk species such as peregrine falcon, Cooper's hawk, red-shouldered hawk, and golden-winged warbler. Reptiles and amphibians that may be found include a variety of turtles, snakes, salamanders, frogs and toads, plus the at-risk timber rattlesnake, marbled salamander, Jefferson salamander, wood turtle and eastern box turtle.

Directions

The most direct route to Witch's Hole State Forest is along the Old Smiley Carriage Road which begins at the Berme Road Town Park in Ellenville, NY. The old road will take you through the southern portion of Minnewaska State Park (leaves DEC website) before entering Witch's Hole MUA. Visitors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules of Minnewaska State Park (leaves DEC website) due to the fact that they may differ slightly with DEC State Land Regulations.


Rules, Regulations & Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Witch's Hole Multiple Use Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

Snowmobiling, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities. Visitors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules of Minnewaska State Park (leaves DEC website) as they may differ with DEC State Land Regulations.

How We Manage Witch's Hole Multiple Use Area

DEC is developing a unit management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions about this UMP, please email us at r3.ump@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Ellenville and Kerhonkson.
Lodging and dining opportunities along with food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Naponoch, Ellenville, and Kerhokson.

Ulster County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.