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Bare Hill Unique Area

hiking primitive camping hunting trapping cross-country skiing snow shoeing watchable wildlife parking

On the 393 acre Bare Hill Unique Area there is an annual Labor Day ceremonial lighting of a bonfire to start the "Ring of Fire" or "The Festival of Lights" in which landowners around the perimeter of Canandaigua Lake light fires in celebration of peace and bountiful harvests.

It has two separate parcels, the southern one covers approximately 298 acres in the town of Middlesex in Yates County and the northern one covers approximately 95 acres in the town of Gorham in Ontario County.

Featured Activities



General Information on Hiking - includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. Bare Hill Unique Area has no designated recreation trails, however the two administrative access roads are available for none-motorized exploring.

Camping (Primitive)

Primitive Camping

General Information on Primitive Camping - includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Hunting & Trapping


General Information on Hunting - including how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

TrappingGeneral Information on Trapping - including how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations

View from Bare Hill
View from Bare Hill

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

Cross-country Skiing

General Information on Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing - includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Wildlife Viewing

watchable wildlife

Although there are no facilities developed for viewing wildlife, like many places in the Finger Lakes you are likely to see wildlife on this land. New York's Finger Lakes encompasses a wide variety of habitats and landscapes made up of mountainous hills, forests, grasslands and wetlands. Everything from Black Bear to Black-throated Blue Warblers and Brook Trout to Wild Turkeys reside and call it home here in the Finger Lakes. The grasslands are home to a variety of bird species including Northern Harriers and state endangered Henslow's Sparrows. White-tailed Deer and Fisher thrive in the forested hills, while Beavers and mink flourish in the wetlands. Outdoorsmen and women from across New York State flock to this area year round for its exquisite wildlife watching and unbeatable hunting.


Recreation logo

Van Epps Road Parking Lot, 3 vehicles (42.746725,-77.3026) Google Maps (leaves the DEC website)

From Naples, take 245 north to Middlesex. Turn left onto north 364, then left onto County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd. Right onto Bare Hill Rd. and left onto Van Epps Rd. To reach the northern parcel, continue on County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd to County Route 39/East Lake Rd. That turns into County Route 11 at the County Line.

From Canandaigua, take 364 south to a right onto County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd. Right onto Bare Hill Rd and left onto Van Epps Rd. To reach the northern parcel, take 364 south to County Route 11/East Lake Rd.

Rules, Regulations, and Outdoor Safety:

All users of Bare Hill Unique Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations (#44115) and should follows all Outdoor Safety Practices (#28708) for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating to enjoy the outdoors responsibly to minimize your impact on the natural resources and other users. See the Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) website for more information.

Site specific rules for Bare Hill Unique Area:
  1. No searching for historical or archeological artifacts.
  2. Be extremely careful with fire - grass burns very easily and quickly

How We Manage Bare Hill Unique Area

Today, Bare Hill Unique Area and all state forests in New York are managed for multiple benefits to serve the needs of the people of New York. Sustainable management practices ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.

Unit Management Plan

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the 2002 Bare Hill Unit Management Plan (PDF, 2.23 Mb)

Map of Northern Finger Lakes UMP Location
Map of Northern Finger Lakes UMP Location Map

In early 2015 the Department started the development process of a new Unit Management Plan by combining Bare Hill Unique Area with eight other properties to create the Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan.

Properties in the Northern Finger Lakes UMP are located in five counties--Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca and Yates. They include:

The purpose of a unit management plan is twofold: 1) to define management goals and objectives for state land and, 2) to prepare a ten-year plan of action to achieve those objectives. Public involvement is an important component to the UMP process. The plan has not yet been written, and your input will assist us in assembling it. We invite you to provide us with your comments or concerns regarding the management of any of the DEC properties included in the UMP. Your comments may be general or specific and will be accepted at any time throughout the process.
Comments, concerns or suggestions may be emailed to Region 8 UMP email box or mailed to the Bath Sub-office: NYS DEC, State Land Management, 7291 Coon Rd, Bath NY 14810.
Once the draft plan is completed, the public will be invited to review it and attend a public meeting to share your views on the Draft UMP. Comments will be weighed against law, regulations, DEC Commissioner's directives and other public comments before changes are made to the draft plan. All questions and/or comments will be included in the final UMP.

Nearby Areas, Amenites, Attractions, and Other Information

Yates County Chamber of Commerce (Leaving DEC website)
Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (leaving DEC website)
Ontario County Finger Lakes Visitors Connection (Leaving DEC website)

The nearest hamlets are Vine Valley and Middlesex, the nearest villages are Naples and Penn Yan, the nearest city is Canandaigua, NY.

Nearby State Land

Italy Hill State Forest
Stid Hill Multiple Use Area
High Tor Wildlife Management Area