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Pigtail Hollow State Forest

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Pigtail Hollow State Forest locator map

Pigtail Hollow State Forest is located eight miles north of the village of Bath. The forest is located in the towns of Wheeler and Urbana, Steuben County. It shares a common boundary with Urbana State Forest.

The colorful name stems from the crooked nature of the creek bottom (or "hollow") which flows through the center of the property. This area was also known as "Hungry Hollow" during the Depression era. This name is thought to be a reference to the unproductive nature of the soils in this area for agriculture.

Tips for Using State Forests


Recreational opportunities on this state forest focus on a rustic experience with a limited amount of development. The Bristol Hills branch of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot travel only) provides good access to the interior of the forest. Town and county roads provide mountain biking opportunities.

Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails. Permanent tree stands are prohibited. However, a tree stand or blind is allowed, provided that it does not injure any trees, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season, but no more than thirty days in one location per calendar year.

View on Pigtail Hollow
View on Pigtail Hollow

Geo-caching is allowed although caches must be marked with the owner's contact information and may not be placed in dangerous or ecologically sensitive locations.

Field Notes

Many of the early plantations in this forest were converted to native hardwood stands about ten years ago. Some limited plantings of Norway spruce were made in areas where the soils were good enough to allow some chance for success. This activity has created excellent cover for ruffed grouse.

Today, Pigtail Hollow, 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.

State Forest Regulations

Anyone enjoying this property must observe the following rules which protect both them and the forest environment.

  • Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in. Burying of refuse is prohibited.
  • If you build a fire, do so with care and use wood from dead and downed trees only. Never leave a fire unattended. All fires must be extinguished with water, and the coals must be raked until cool to the touch.
  • Do not bring firewood from home because this may also transport dangerous invasive pests to the state forest.
  • Unauthorized cutting of live trees or new trail building is prohibited.
  • Camping for more than three consecutive nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a DEC Forest Ranger.
  • Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water except at camping areas designated by the department.
  • Human waste should be buried in a shallow hole 4-6 inches deep, and at least 150 feet from water, trails, and campsites. Cover with leaf litter and dirt.
  • Motorized vehicles are permitted only on access roads posted as open to motor vehicles. Off road use of motorized vehicles is prohibited, except where specifically permitted by signs, posted notice or by DEC permit.
  • No permanent structures should be established, including tree stands or blinds.
  • ATV and UTV use is generally prohibited on State Forests.
  • Individuals with disabilities can apply for a Motorized Access Permit (MAPPWD) to use a motor vehicle on designated roads.


The first settlers in the town of Wheeler arrived around 1800. The town was formed in 1820. As noted in numerous other state forest descriptions, agricultural abandonment occurred relatively early (1910-1929) on the hilltop lands of this state forest.

The majority of this property was acquired by the State between 1930 and 1940 under the terms of the Hewett Amendment to the State Constitution and the authority of the Enlarged Reforestation Act. A smaller addition was made in the early 1960's using the Parks and Recreation land acquisition bond act. The current size is about 998 acres.

While the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did conduct activities in this forest, tree planting was not undertaken by the CCC at this location. Most tree planting was done by Department crews during the immediate post World War II era (1946-1950). The CCC was active in other development work during the Depression era, including fire control, timber stand improvement, and road work.


To gain access to this state forest from Bath, proceed north on County Route 13, Mitchellsville Road. Turn right (also northerly) onto Hungry Hollow Road, which bisects the forest.

Important Telephone Numbers

Fire and Law Enforcement : 585-226-6706 or 911
State Forest Office (M - F; 8:30 am to 4:45 pm) 607-776-2165