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West Hill State Forest

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West Hill State Forest locator map

The 887-acre West Hill State Forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. Today, West Hill 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 will ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.

Featured Activities

Hunting & Trapping


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


primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. At-large primitive camping is allowed in this unit, except within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond, other body of water, or otherwise prohibited.



General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. Located on the area is a portion of The Crystal Hills Branch Trail off of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only). Maintenance is done by the volunteers of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (Leaves DEC website) under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement. It is also a segment of The Great Eastern Trail (Leaves DEC website).


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

Close up of small creek with snow and ice on the rocks and moss.
Spring thaw on West Hill State Forest.

Although there are no facilities developed for viewing wildlife, like many places in New York you are likely to see wildlife on this land. New York's Southern Tier 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 Southern Tier of New York. 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 beaver 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.


From State Route 415 in Painted Post head north on West Hill Rd, which will pass through the center of the forest. (42.228880°N, 77.086029°W) Google Maps (Leaves DEC website).

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (Leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts.

All users of West Hill 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 West Hill State Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Six Nations Unit Management Plan (Plan PDF, 296 pages, 17.5 MB). The Six Nations Unit Management Plan is a ten year plan for approximately 21,724 acres of State Forest land in Schuyler and Steuben Counties. It is comprised of ten state forests: Goundry Hill, Sugar Hill and Coon Hollow in Schuyler County; South Bradford, West Hill, Meads Creek, Beaver Dams, Dry Run, and Erwin Hollow in Steuben County; and Cinnamon Lake State Forest in both counties. In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby Amenities and Attractions:

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.