Delaware Wild Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 4 Stamford Office (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM): (518) 357-2450; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement, and Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or dial 911
- DEC Region 4 Stamford Office (M-F 8:30AM - 4:30PM): (518) 357-2450; email@example.com
- Location: Towns of Colchester and Andes, Delaware County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 4W
- Map: View Delaware Wild Forest Map - PDF (4.26 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 27,800-acre Delaware Wild Forest is located in the western Catskill Forest Preserve. The popular Finger Lakes Trail travels through this wild forest, which features more than 35 miles of hiking trails and more than 20 miles of snowmobile trails. These trails are not as used as much as other trails in the Catskills and you may find the trails not as well maintained. There are four lean-to shelters located in the wild forest for those looking for a backpacking camping experience.
The most popular destinations in the Delaware Wild Forest include Big Pond, Beaverkill Vista on Cabot Mountain, Trout Pond, Russell Brook Falls, Split Rock Lookout and Huggins Lake.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Touch-me-not Trail (approx. 6.5 miles, red markers)
A view of Trout Pond
The Touch-me-not Trail extends between the Beech Hill Road Parking Lot at the west end of the trail and Alder Lake in the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest to the east. The trail travels over Cabot Mountain, offering views from the Beaverkill Vista at 1.5 miles. The trail intersects with the Little Pond Trail and the Campground Trail, as well as connecting the Middle Mountain Trail to the west.
Little Pond Trail (approx. 1.5 miles, yellow markers)
Little Pond Trail - This yellow marked trail travels along the east shore of Little Pond and then ascends Cabot Mountain to the Touch-me-not Trail. Many campers from Little Pond Campground use this trail, Touch-me-not Trail and Campground Trail to create a rugged loop hike.
Campground Trail (1.1 miles, blue markers)
Campground Trail - This blue marked trail leaves Little Pond Campground and ascends 0.8 miles to the summit of Touch-me-not Mountain and 1.1 miles to the junction of the Touch-me-not Trail.
Middle Mountain Trail (2.3 miles, red markers)
The Middle Mountain Trail extends from the Mary Smith Hill Road Parking Area to the west and extends to the Beech Hill Parking Area to the east. The trail passes over Middle Mountain (2,975 feet).
Mary Smith Hill Trail (4.3 miles, red markers)
The trail extends from the Pelnor Hollow Trail east to the Mary Smith Hill Road Parking Lot. The trail passes the Holiday and Berry Brook Road Parking Lot and travels over Mary Smith Hill (2,767 feet).
Pelnor Hollow Trail (4.5 miles, blue markers)
Pelnor Hollow Trail extends from the end of the rough dirt Pelnor Hollow Road up 1.0 miles to the Pelnor Hollow Lean-To. The trail continues to ascend, reaching the junction of the Mary Smith Hill Trail at 3.2 miles and makes a sharp turn westward. After a steep descent the trail reaches the views from Split Rock Lookout at 3.4 miles. The Pelnor Hollow Trail ends at 4.5 miles at the junction of the Campbell Mountain Trail and Little Spring Brook Trail. The entirety of the trail is also a snowmobile trail and a small section of it from the Mary Smith Hill Trail to the end coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail.
Huggins Lake (1.7 miles)
This unmarked trail utilizes an old woods road for a pleasant walk to the shore of Huggins Lake.
Little Spring Brook Trail (0.7 miles, yellow markers)
This short trail travels 0.7 miles from the end of Little Spring Brook Road to the junction of the Campbell Mountain Trail and the Pelnor Hollow Trail. After 0.4 miles the trail passes a small pond. This trail has been damaged by multiple storms, but is still walkable.
Campbell Mountain Trail (approx. 6.25 miles, blue markers)
The Campbell Mountain Trail travels from Campbell Mountain Road and at 1.2 miles reaches the junction of the Hog Hollow Trail. This is where the Finger Lakes Trail joins the Campbell Mountain Trail. At 1.4 miles a side trail on the right travels a short distance to the Campbell Mountain Lean-To. At 2.4 miles it crosses NY 206. There is some parking available here. At 3.4 miles reach a high point on Brock Mountain. At 4.7 miles reach the junction of the Miller Hollow Trail. At 6.25 miles reach the junction of the Pelnor Hollow Trail and Little Spring Brook Trail. The Campbell Mountain Trail coincides with the Finger Lakes Trail for most of its distance.
Trout Pond Trail (4.9 miles, blue)
The Trout Pond Trail extends 2.8 miles from the Russell Brook Road Parking Lot to Campbell Mountain Road. The trail crosses Russell Brook on a bridge just past the trailhead. Russell Brook Falls is found just a short distance upstream. At 0.1 miles there is a trail register. At 0.9 miles the trail reaches the south shore of Trout Pond. At 1.4 miles there is a junction of side trails that lead to lean-tos, one to the north and the other to the west. From the pond the trail ascends more than 500 feet in elevation, then descends to cross Campbell Brook at 2.7 miles.
At 2.9 miles the trail passes a gate and reaches Campbell Brook Road. The trail turns left and follows the road for just over 500 feet before turning right off the road past a DEC sign. The trail again ascends, then descends, up and down, crossing a stream before finally reaching a gate at Campbell Mountain Road at 4.9 miles. The trail straight ahead is the start of the Campbell Mountain Trail.
Mud Pond (4.5-mile loop, blue markers)
The Mud Pond Trail creates a 4.5 mile loop with Russell Brook Road. From the Russell Brook Road Trailhead the trail extends 1.4 miles to Mud Pond. At 1-mile the trail splits. To the north, the trail travels 1.9 miles to Trout Pond. The trail west is 0.4 miles to Mud Pond. From Mud Pond the trail extends south 1.6 miles to the end of Russell Brook Road. It is a 1.5 mile trip on Russell Brook Road Back to the parking lot.
Hog Hollow Trail (approx. 4.5 miles, red snowmobile markers)
The Hog Hollow Trail extend from Park Hill Road - private road / Downsville to the Campbell Mountain Trail, and coincides with part of the Finger Lakes Trail. In the winter, the trail is a snowmobile corridor.
General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Delaware Wild Forest features four lean-tos and two primitive campsites, Mud Pond/Russell Brook Falls and Big Pond. The Mud Pond, Trout Pond, Campbell Mountain, and Pelnor Hollow Trails all provide access to a lean-to. At-large primitive camping is also allowed. Camping must be at least 150 feet away from the nearest road, trail, or body of water. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
General information on boating includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county
Electric motors are allowed on Big Pond.
General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Big Pond features a hand launch.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations
Trout Pond and Huggins Lake both feature brook trout. Big Pond features brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, sunfish, yellow perch and chain pickerel.
Public Fishing Rights are also held on the Beaver Kill off of NYS Route 17, south of the Delaware Wild Forest. A pamphlet is available with maps of state lands and public fishing rights that depicts the Public Access for Fishing the Beaver Kill (851 KB).
East- Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the Catskills and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons, except where specifically prohibited by posted notice. The main game species and furbearers found on the property include deer, bear, beaver, bobcat, coyote, and fisher.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Delaware Wild Forest features four snowmobile trails in the winter. The following hiking trails are also snowmobile trails:
- Campbell Mountain Trail (south of Rt 206)
- Trout Pond Trail
- Hog Hollow Trail
- Mud Pond Trail
See the trail description above in Hiking.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Delaware Wild Forest is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no groomed or maintained trials, however cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The Catskills are home to an abundance of wildlife. With both larger mammals (including deer, bear, and bobcat) as well as smaller mammals (including porcupine and fisher) the Catskills have several unique habitats. In addition to the many mammals found in the Catskills, hundreds of species of birds can also be found in the Catskills.
General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
Delaware Wild Forest features Russell Brook Campsite which is a primitive campsite located about six miles north of Roscoe, NY. This roadside site features an accessible fire ring and pit privy. Additionally, there is an accessible campsite with a lean-to and pit privy which can be accessed by the Trout Pond Access Road. This gated route is past the Russell Brook Campsite and allowed access with a Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit.
The Big Pond campsite is not accessible at this time, awaiting necessary work.
There are 13 parking areas and a number of trailheads and access points with road side parking that can be used to access the Delaware Wild Forest.
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
Russell Brook Road Parking Lot is located on Russell Brook Road, 0.6 miles west of its intersection with Morton Hill Road. 41.994497°N, 74.941324°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Little Fuller Brook Road Parking Lot is located on Little Fuller Brook Road, 1.6 miles from its intersection with of Fuller Hill Road. (42.015948°N, 74.979055°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Campbell Brook Road Parking Lot is located on Campbell Brook Road, 0.5 miles west of its intersection with Campbell Mountain Road. (42.030571°N, 74.938549°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Campbell Mountain Road Parking Lot is located on Campbell Mountain Road, 0.7 miles north from its intersection from Jug Tavern Road. (42.043329°N, 74.935895°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Route 206 Parking Lot is located on Route 206. (42.051764°N, 74.914761°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Huggins Lake Road Parking Lot is located on Huggins Lake Road, off of Berry Brook Road. (42.015795°N, 74.843691°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Holiday and Berry Brook Road Parking Lot is located on Berry Brook Road, 4.6 miles south from its intersection with NYS Route 30. (42.038714°N, 74.847245°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Beech Hill Road Parking Lot is located on Beech Hill Road, 3.8 miles southeast of its intersection with NYS Route 30. (42.050807°N, 74.77902°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Barkaboom Road Parking Lot is located on Barkaboom Road, off of NYS Route 30. (42.042772°N, 74.726221°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Big Pond Road Parking Lot is located off of Barkaboom Road, 5.2 miles south east of B.W.S. Road No. 9. (42.043515°N, 74.727677°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Old Route 17 Fishing Access is located on County Road 179A/County Road 17, 1.4, off of NYS Route 17. (41.949766°N, 74.92819°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Mary Smith Hill Road Parking Lot is located on Mary Smith Road, 2.2 miles south of its intersection of Beech Hill Road. (42.040053°N, 74.80891°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Catskills to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other backcountry users.
How We Manage Delaware Wild Forest
DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Campbell Mountain Wild Forest and the Middle Mountain-Mary Smith Hill Wild Forest Unit Management Plans (UMPs). In addition to management objectives, the UMPs contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
DEC Lands & Facilities
- Dry Brook Ridge Wild Forest
- Tomannex State Forest
- Willowemoc Wild Forest
- Big Indian Wilderness
- Beaverkill Campground
- Little Pond Campground
Lodging and dining opportunities, as well as gas, food and other supplies may be found in the communities of Andes, Walton, Downsville and Margaretville.
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.