Pochuck State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: free
- Contact information:
- DEC Region 3 Office (845) 256-3000, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Hamlet of Pine Island, Town of Warwick, Orange County
- WMU: 3M
- Map: The Pochuck State Forest Map is not available at this time║Google Earth ║ State Lands Interactive Mapper
The view from the summit of Pochuck Mountain is a
sweeping panorama of the Wallkill Valley.
Pochuck Mountain rises above what was once an impenetrable swamp known to those who settled the region as the 'drowned lands' of the Wallkill. The word "pochuck" is Lenape for "out of the way place." From its summit there are spectacular views of the Wallkill River Valley. Primitive camping on the upper fields provides an excellent opportunity to catch sunrises and sunsets. Pochuck State Forest encompasses 503 acres and is a popular area for hunting, hiking, camping, and horseback riding.
Hunting & Trapping
The abundance of game animals, such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and bear, make this area especially popular for hunting. Trappers will find red and gray fox, coyote, raccoon, skunk, and opossum.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Pochuck State Forest is undeveloped and has no formally marked trails. As such, this forest offers unique opportunities to those who wish to explore on their own. There are, however, former logging trails, skid trails, and Public Forest Access Roads which provide informal recreational access to the property.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
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.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Informal horseback riding has also grown in popularity, and riders typically follow a network of old logging roads to explore the forest. Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate. Pochuck State Forest also shares a southern boundary with New Jersey Park Land, from which there is access to the Appalachian Trail.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
A network of old logging roads can be used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
From New Paltz, take I-87 south to Exit #16. Merge onto RT-17 West and continue for approximately 9 miles to Exit 126. Turn left onto Rt. 94 and proceed approximately 4 miles. After the intersection of 17A, continue straight for 2 miles on Meadow Rd (CR-25). Turn left onto the Pulaski Hwy (CR-6) and proceed for approximately 5 miles. Turn right onto CR-1/ Pine Island Turnpike and continue strait at the light onto Liberty Corners Rd/CR-88 for approximately 2 miles. DEC state land signs will be posted on the left. The main Public Forest Access Road can also be found on the left. If you pass Oil City Road, you've gone too far. There is currently no formal parking area, however, visitors can park at an old log landing site located at the main entrance of the property, on the south side of Liberty Corners Road. (41.282626°N, 74.510051°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace principles (Leaves the DEC website) when visiting Pochuck Mountain to minimize impact on the environment and respect other backcountry visitors.
How we manage Pochuck State Forest
DEC is developing a recreation management plan which will describe the management activities for public recreation on these lands. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at email@example.com.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
- The 1500 acre Huckleberry Ridge State Forest at the southernmost section of the Shawangunk Ridge is less than 20 minutes away to the west.
- Stewart State Forest is about an hour north and east. Stewart has an extensive trail system for hikers and mountain bikers and horseback riders.
- Three state parks; Bear Mountain, Harriman and Palisades Interstate, are located on the eastern side of I-87, approximately 45 minutes away. The Iona Island National Estuarine Reserve is one of the largest tidal wetlands along the Hudson, with about 270 acres of freshwater and brackish cattail marshes. It is a popular birding area and an excellent place to see bald eagles in the winter.
- The northern tip of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge (address: 1547 Glenwood Road, Sussex, NJ 07461) is just to the west of Pochuck Mt. State Forest. The reserve is an excellent place to see grassland birds, migrating waterfowl, and wintering raptors. The refuge surrounds a 10-mile section of the Wallkill River and offers fishing, canoeing and kayaking, hunting, five nature trails for hiking.
The Town of Warwick is 15 minutes to the east and has lodging, restaurants, gas and shopping. The popular New York State Renaissance Faire is located to the east in Sterling Forest.
The Visit Orange County website (leaves DEC's website) highlights the main attractions and activities of the area.