Stewart State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year round, except closed to non-hunters during regular big game hunting season. Portable toilets available from April into the Fall.
- Fee: Free
- Contact: DEC Region 3 Office (845) 256-3000; Forest Rangers (845) 256-3026; Law Enforcement (845) 256-3013
- Location: Orange County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 3M
The 6,700-acres of Stewart State Forest are unique in the northeast and increasingly rare in the Hudson Valley. A mix of wetlands, fields and forest, the site includes 18 miles of gravel roads and more than 22 miles of major trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting, dog training and trials, skiing, snowmobiling, bird watching and fishing.
Unless specifically posted as foot trails, all trails on the property are multiple use trails.
Purchase a Trail Supporter Patch to provide funding for maintenance of trails and related facilities.
The trails on the map are identified by letter.
- Maple Avenue to Weed Road travels through meadows, old farm woodlands and fields. 1.3 miles.
- New Road to Barron Road South travels through farm fields, woods and 2 ponds. 2.9 miles.
- New Road to Barron Road North travels through dry woods, cedars, pines and under power lines. 1.3 miles.
- Orlando to Barron Road travels through wetlands, moist woods and under power lines. 1.3 miles.
- Pittman-Robertson Pond Road travels along a one-lane farm road, fields, a pond and through woods. 1.0 miles.
- Windsor Woods to Ridge Road travels along an old road through woods. Seasonal flooding. 1.2 miles.
- Windsor Woods to New Road travels through deep woods and hemlocks. 2.0 miles.
- Scofield Lane Trail travels through disturbed woods and on a ridge above a swamp. 2.0 miles.
- Raincoat Factory/Lindsay Road Loop travels through woods, fields and near 2 ponds. 1.4 miles.
- Restoration Pond and Beaver Pond Farm Lane is for vehicles by permit. 0.8 miles.
- Buchanan Hill Trail includes the highest point in this forest at 658 feet and travels through fields and forest with views and a pond. 1.8 miles.
- Armstrong Lane wetland and farm trail travels through a wetland and former farm woods. 0.5 mile.
Stewart State Forest features seven larger ponds and many smaller ones for fishing. The deepest are 6-acre Whalenburgh Pond, 3-acre Wilkens Pond, and 2-acre Rowes Pond. The smaller ponds offer warm water fishing for bass, sunfish, shiner, bullhead and perch, with a larger selection at Tenny's, including eel, carp, crappie and pickerel. New York State fishing regulations apply. Electric or non-motorized vessels only.
Hunting and Trapping
Stewart State Forest is one of the most popular hunting destinations in the state. Each year, thousands of sportsmen and women flock to Stewart to take advantage of its diverse habitats and abundant game populations. White-tailed deer and ringnecked pheasants are the most commonly pursued game species at Stewart. However, the area also provides high-quality turkey, waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, and furbearer hunting.
All hunters and trappers must comply with all applicable State regulations and those specific to Stewart State Forest.
Access to Stewart State Forest for the Fall Hunting Seasons
Stewart State Forest is open to the public during the small game and special big game (archery and muzzleloader) hunting seasons. However, access during the Regular Big Game Season is restricted to licensed hunters and trappers for the purpose of hunting and trapping. Licensed hunters and trappers can gain vehicular access to the interior road network and internal parking areas through the Weed Road gate from October 1 through December 31 between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset (road and weather conditions permitting). Vehicle access to the interior of the area is also permitted for participants in the statewide youth pheasant hunting weekend (the weekend immediately preceding October 1). All other users are prohibited from accessing the property by motor vehicle unless permitted by the Department and must park in an exterior parking area.
The Department and Orange County Federation of Sportsmen host an annual Youth Hunting Day on the 4th (fourth) Saturday in October. We ask hunters to be accompanied by a junior hunter (ages 12-15) when hunting the property during this weekend.
Reservations for the Regular Big Game Hunting Season
Reservations are required for the first two days (Saturday and Sunday) of the Regular Big Game season. To make a reservation, call Tuesday, 11 days before opening day, beginning at 8:30 AM. Only one reservation will be accepted per phone call. The telephone number to make a reservation is 845-256-3095.
DEC staff will be at the hunter check station on Weed Road one hour before sunrise to check in hunters on mornings when reservations are required. Hunters must claim their reservations by 7:00 AM. Unclaimed reservations may be reassigned after that time. Vacating a parking area after 8:00 AM will result in forfeiture of a party's reservation for the remainder of the day.
Nighttime Furbearer Hunting
Nighttime furbearer hunting is allowed in season. Night hunters, however, are prohibited from accessing the interior of the area by motor vehicle and must park in one of the peripheral parking areas.
Trapping is allowed in season. Trappers may access the area by motor vehicle from October 1 to December 31 between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset. Trappers must not park in designated hunter parking areas.
Hunting Opportunities from January 1 to September 30
Hunting for all species is allowed in season; however, vehicle access to the interior area is prohibited. Hunters and trappers must park in one of the peripheral parking areas and access the area on foot, bicycle, horse or snowmobile. Special permits are available for people with disabilities to access the area with a motor vehicle. See Rules and Regulations section for more information.
Camping is only allowed by permit in specially designated group camping areas. Required camping permits are issued by Forest Rangers (845) 256-3026. The permit must be obtained prior to set-up. Camping is prohibited from the first day of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone to the last day of the late muzzleloading and bowhunting season in the Southern Zone.
Horseback riding is allowed on all multiple use trails and roads. Trails where horses are not permitted are marked on the map as "NO HORSES".
Snowmobiles are only permitted on trails designated and marked by the department as a "Snowmobile Trail" and only when the trail is completely covered with snow and/or ice; and on frozen lakes and ponds when access to same may be gained by public highways lawfully designated for snowmobile use, or by trails designated and marked by the department as a "Snowmobile Trail".
Mountain biking is allowed on designated trails and multiple use trails.
Stewart State Forest is a New York State Watchable Wildlife site and is a one-of-a-kind place for animals needing transitional habitats - birds and butterflies that love grasslands and bushes, turtles and snakes that love open sandy fields, and frogs and salamanders that love small wetlands surrounded by woods and fields.
The wildlife to watch include: Wild-turkeys, White-tailed deer, Coyotes, Bobcats, Great blue herons, Pied-billed grebes, Blue-winged warblers, and Marbled salamanders.
Where to watch: Trails, Gravel roads, and Ponds
Designated roadways on Stewart State Forest are accessible by car for people with disabilities through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). A permit must first be obtained from DEC. Special arrangements must be made to obtain combinations for entry at selected gates.
Stewart State Forest is in northeast Orange County west of Newburgh and Stewart International Airport. Take New York State Thruway Exit 17 or the Thruway exit from I-84. Follow signs to the Airport and continue west on Routes 207/208 to access the southern border of the property. To access from the north, take Route 17K to Ridge or Barron Roads. Parking for cars and horse trailers is available at the north end of Ridge Road and at Weed Road (N41.470282, W74.164528). Parking is also available along the shoulder of South and North Barron Roads (N41.517093, W74.18189) outside the gates, and east of Drury Lane (Rt. 747) along Route 207 (N41.480865, W74.117509). See Map. You can also access Rt. 747 from Exit 5A on I-84.
Google Map (Leaves the DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
All users of State Forests must follow certain rules for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.
Site-Specific Rules for Stewart State Forest
In addition to the above rules, certain regulations pertain specifically to Stewart State Forest (§190.34 Stewart State Forest).
- No person shall operate or possess a mechanically propelled vessel other than an electric powered vessel on any water body on the property.
- No person shall possess or discharge a rifle or handgun on the property, with the exception of .22 caliber rimfire handguns.
- Camping is by permit only and limited to designated sites. The permit must be obtained prior to set-up. Camping is prohibited from the first day of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone to the last day of the late muzzleloading and bowhunting season in the Southern Zone.
- No person shall operate or possess a snowmobile except: (1) on trails designated and marked by the department as a "Snowmobile Trail" and only when the trail is completely covered with snow and/or ice; and (2) on frozen lakes and ponds when access to same may be gained by public highways lawfully designated for snowmobile use, or by trails designated and marked by the department as a "Snowmobile Trail".
- No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire except by permit from the Department.
- No person shall operate a motor vehicle on the property, except: (1) persons possessing a permit for such use from the Department; or (2) licensed hunters and trappers entering the area between one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset for the purpose of hunting or trapping from October 1 to December 31, except when unsafe conditions prohibit such access; or (3) adults accompanying youth pheasant hunters participating in the statewide youth pheasant hunt.
- From October 1 to December 31:
- Any person hunting must park their motor vehicle in a designated parking area and only then if the parking quota for that parking area is not filled.
- Hunters shall hunt only on the same side of the road as their vehicles are parked.
- Crossing of roads while hunting is prohibited.
- No person shall hunt or trespass in areas posted as restricted areas, except as permitted by the Department.
- No person shall enter Stewart State Forest during the Regular Hunting Season for deer as provided by Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0907, except for licensed hunters and trappers for the purpose of hunting or trapping or by permit from the Department.
- No person shall enter Stewart State Forest during the first two days of the Regular Hunting Season for deer without obtaining a reservation from the Department prior to entrance.
- The vehicular speed limit on DEC roads is 25 mph.
Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love.
Practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly to minimize your impact on the natural resources and other backcountry users. See the Leave No Trace website for more information (Leaves the DEC website).
How We Manage Stewart State Forest
The Stewart State Forest Unit Management Plan (PDF, 5 MB) (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on this forest for a ten-year period, although a number of goals and objectives in the plan focus on a much longer time period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management.
DEC encourages volunteers who wish to give back to the land with trail maintenance, interpretive materials, invasive plant removal, garbage removal and wildlife habitat improvement. Please contact DEC for details at (845)256-3076.
Stewards of Stewart freinds group website (leaves the DEC website)
Nearby Areas and Attractions
Orange County Tourism (Leaves the DEC website.)