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Erwin Mountain State Forest

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Erwin Mountain State Forest locator map

Erwin Mountain State Forest is located two miles north of the hamlet of Erwin, in the town of Erwin, Steuben County. A portion of the northern boundary is shared with Erwin Wildlife Management Area.

Tips for Using State Forests


Recreational opportunities on this state forest focus on rustic experiences with a limited amount of development. There are no formally designated trails. All of this forest will require significant walking to access. Some portions may be considered difficult to access. Although slopes are fairly moderate on this property, there will be significant hills to climb prior to accessing it.

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.

Green grassy logging road and green trees.
Logging Trail on Erwin Mountain State Forest

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.

Primary forest types include Oak and Oak-Pine and wildlife that depend on mast (acorns, seeds, and nuts) are common in this area.

Today, Erwin Mountain 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 Erwin arrived around 1786. The town was formed in 1826. As noted in numerous other state forest descriptions, agricultural abandonment occurred relatively early (1910-1929) on the hilltop lands occupied by this state forest. This area was acquired under the terms of the Parks and Recreation Land Acquisition Bond Act in the 1960's. The current size is about 507 acres. As this area was not acquired until after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) era. Thus the CCC did not conduct reforestation or other management activities on this area. Planted softwood does not make up an important part of this forest.


To gain access to this forest from the hamlet of Gang Mills, travel west on Beartown Road to Erwin Wildlife Management Area. Access is by foot along a gated administrative access road running south from Beartown Road across the wildlife management area to the state forest. When parking in this area please do not block the gate and assure that your vehicle is well off the road. Beartown Road can receive a surprising amount of traffic.

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