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Griggs Gulf State Forest

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Griggs Gulf State Forest locator map

Griggs Gulf State Forest encompasses 2,365 acres of land in southwestern Cortland County and northeastern Tioga County. Recreational activities such as snowmobiling, hunting, trapping, nature observation and informal hiking and horseback riding are enjoyed by many residents and visitors of the area. Hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless otherwise indicated.

The Griggs Gulf public forest access road (PFAR) is currently closed due to storm damage.

Featured Activities



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

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.



General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Fishing opportunities can be found at the headwaters of the Owego Creek, and in two small ponds on the forest.

Hunting & Trapping


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

Old stone cistern used by early farmers
Old stone cistern used by early farmers



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

Within the boundaries of Griggs Gulf State Forest, there are currently an estimated 2.7 miles of formal snowmobile trails. The snowmobile trail is part of corridor trail 5B, as designated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Public Forest Access Roads also provide recreational opportunities on a seasonal basis.


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


Griggs Gulf State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 38 to the hamlet of Harford Mills; then take Route 200 to Griggs Gulf Road. There is also access to the forest by taking Griggs Gulf Road to Michigan Hill Road, then turning onto Rockefeller Road. Parking is available on the shoulder of the road near both access points.

Griggs Gulf Road(42.4145117°N, 76.1868689°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Rules, Regulations and 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 Griggs Gulf 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.

How We Manage Griggs Gulf State Forest

In the future, Griggs Gulf State Forest will be part of the Rockefeller Unit Management Plan. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management.

Griggs Gulf State Forest is a peaceful and primitive place with much to offer the person seeking solace from the noise of daily life. The landscape is forested with northern hardwoods, Norway spruce, Hemlock, red pine and upland oak. It provides excellent habitat for many woodland creatures and plants.

DEC foresters are charged with the responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance, conserve, and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for society and wildlife. Forest management is therefore strategically employed to develop a balanced mix of young, middle-aged, and old (late successional) forest types in order to provide habitat for plants and animals, as well as recreational opportunities for people.


Griggs Gulf State Forest, like many of New York's State Forests, was once cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. Unfortunately, the upland soils of the Allegheny Plateau are thin, relatively steep, and acidic. As such, the ground is not fit for intensive farming. When combined with harsh winters and a short growing season, it is easy to understand why farmers abandoned these lands in pursuit of greener pastures in the Midwest.

In order to reduce soil erosion, protect water quality, provide forest products, and create recreational opportunities, the State of New York began acquiring property designated for reforestation during the 1930s. As a result, the once barren lands were transformed into forests, and today they provide diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for New York residents and visitors.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Cortland County Tourism Office (Leaves DEC website)

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Whitney Point and Cortland.

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.