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Italy Hill State Forest

Italy Hill State Forest locator map

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The 1,899-acre Italy Hill State Forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. Today, Italy 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



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

The Bristol Hills Branch of the Finger Lakes Trail gives good access to the northerly and central portions of the forest. Maintenance is done by the volunteers of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (leaves DEC website) under the Volunteer Stewardship Agreement.


primitive camping

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

There are no designated campsites; however, at-large 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.

Hunting & Trapping


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

Trees and steep hillside.
Top of a gully on Italy Hill State Forest.

Users should exercise extra caution when accessing stream corridors. Gentle streams become steep sided gullies very quickly in this area. The shale bedrock which forms the bottom of most of these gullies can be very slippery.



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

The Yates Snow Travelers Association (leaves DEC website) maintains a snowmobile trail in the southern portion of the forest.


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

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 turkey call the Southern Tier of New York home. The grasslands are home to a variety of bird species including northern harrier and state endangered Henslow's sparrow. 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.


To gain access to this forest from the State Route 53, hamlet of Prattsburg, proceed northerly along County Route 122 (Prattsburg - Italy Hill Road), at the county line it becomes County Route 32.

  • Pulver Rd Parking Lot - From CR 32 take a slight left onto Pulver Road, to access the southern end of the forest. (42.632402°N, 77.248528°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website).
  • W. Lightning Parking Lot - From CR 32 take a slight left onto Keech Rd, then left onto West Lightning Rd, to access the northern end of the forest. (42.654311°N, 77.245724°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 with other users.

All users of Italy 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.

Specific Rules

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

How We Manage Italy Hill State Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Canandaigua Highlands Unit Management Plan (PDF). The Canandaigua Highlands Unit Management Plan is a ten year plan for approximately 8,214 acres of State Forest and Wildlife Management Area land in Yates and Ontario Counties. It is comprised of Italy Hill State Forest and High Tor Wildlife Management Area. 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.

A new draft UMP is now available. 2019 Draft Canandaigua Highland Unit Management Plan (PDF, 10MB). If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Branchport, Naples or Prattsburg.

Dining and lodging opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Canandaigua or Penn Yan.

Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (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.