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Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

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Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest locator map

At 1,139 acres, Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest provides ample opportunity for public recreation on the Shawangunk Ridge. There are several old roads and abandoned rail beds which are maintained as multi-use trails throughout the forest. Additionally, part of the 71-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail and the 356-mile Long Path run through the unit and give spectacular views of the surrounding valley. These features, as well as the forest's proximity to the village of Wurtsboro, make it an ideal location for outdoor recreation.

Note that there is no public access on some sections of the property due to historic lead mining activities that have left lead-contaminated mine tailings and abandoned mines. A DEC Fact Sheet provides more information on lead contamination at Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest and safety information (PDF, 909 KB) .

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest features multi-use trails open to hiking and other non-motorized recreation. It also features a hiking trail that follows a section of both the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (leaves DEC website) and the Long Path (leaves DEC website).

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, 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.

Do not drink or filter and drink any surface water in the vicinity of the mined areas. Water may contain elevated levels of lead.

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.

Consumption Advice for Deer and Other Game

As a result of historic mining operations in the unit, four distinct surface deposits of mine tailings contaminated with lead remain on the property. High levels of lead in the environment can accumulate in wildlife. Because of this, meat, organs and bones from deer and other game taken in the Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest area could contain elevated lead levels. Since much of lead accumulates in bones, NYS Department of Health recommends removing the bones from meat of deer and other game taken in the Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest area before cooking.

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.

Wurtsboro State Forest is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no maintained or groomed trails, however there are unmarked and unmaintained multi-use trails as well as portions of the Shawangunk Ridge Trail and the Long Path that can be used by cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all 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, marbled salamander, Jefferson salamander, wood turtle and eastern box turtle.

Directions

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Parking Areas

  • Ferguson Road Parking Area is located near intersection with Pickles Road and Shawanga Lodge Road, (41.606270°N, 74.426378°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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 Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest 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.

As a result of historic mining operations in the unit, four distinct surface deposits of mine tailings remain on the property. Together these piles comprise approximately 2 acres and contain elevated levels of lead. In accordance with Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), Section 03-0301, DEC prohibits public use of the areas affected by historic mining operations that include exposed mine tailings and surface waters emanating from the mine shafts by establishing Restricted Areas and posting signage at these locations. DEC Fact Sheet - PDF (909 KB) provides more information on lead contamination at Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest and safety information.

  • No one should enter the posted Restricted Areas, including children and pets.
  • Users of the unrestricted portions of the property should not drink, and not filter and drink any surface water they encounter in the vicinity of the mined areas.
  • Users of the unrestricted portions of the property should make sure to wash their hands and the hands of children thoroughly with uncontaminated water before eating, drinking or smoking during or after a visit to this property.
  • Shoes/boots and pets should be thoroughly cleaned prior to bringing them indoors.

How We Manage Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

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.

Marked hiking trails are maintained by volunteers with the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference (leaves DEC website). Those interested in volunteering on the property can contact the NYNJTC at volunteers@nynjtc.org or by calling 201-512-9348.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Lodging along with gas, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby community of Wurtsboro.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Wurtsboro and Cragsmoor.

Sullivan County Visitors Association (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.