Chateaugay State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 7 Cortland Office: (607) 753-3095 M-F 8 am- 4 pm, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Orwell, Oswego County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6K
- Map: View Chateaugay State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (282 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Chateaugay State Forest covers an area of 3,465 acres on the edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. Activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting and trapping are popular activities within the forest. Currently, there are eight miles of marked trails within Chateaugay State Forest that offer opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.
- Trail 1 - 1.3 miles long, runs along Orwell Brook. This trail is ranked easy with low changes in incline.
- Trail 2 - .8 miles. Accessed from New Scriba Drive parking area. Trail head is fairly wide and the trail ranges from 0% to 3% grade with a small 8% grade hill.
- Trail 3 - .4 miles. One of the most demanding trails, trail 3 has many small hills that can be 10% to 15% grade and can be narrow in parts.
- Trail 4 - .1 miles. Fairly easy connecting trail with no grade exceeding 3%.
- Trail 5 - .6 miles. Also ranked easy; this trail has very small elevation changes with no hills more then 3% grade.
- Trail 6 - .4 miles. This trail runs by nearby Orwell Brook. This trail has many rolling hills at about 5% grade
- Trail 7 - . 2 miles. The most difficult trail. Several inclines exist ranging from 5% to 15%.
- Elf trail - 1 mile. This trail twists through beautiful pines with most of the terrain flat but some small inclines up to 4% exist.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
The cross country ski trail/snowmobile trail also serves as a hiking trail when there is no snow on the ground.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Primitive camping is available at Chateaugay; there are several spots that are suitable for an overnight stay
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 fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations.
Orwell and Peking Brooks provide excellent fishing opportunities and are a picturesque place for a picnic.
Hunting & Trapping
The abundance of many game animals makes this a favorite spot for both hunting and trapping, with white-tailed deer, wild turkey, as well as ruffed grouse found throughout the property
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
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 high hardwood canopy mixed with low ground cover make an excellent place to view many species of song birds. The nature enthusiast and avid birder are likely to see or hear birds such as the red-eyed vireo, veery, wood thrush, eastern wood-pewee, blue jay, and a host of other song birds. Raptors such as the red-tailed hawk also have nests that can be seen throughout the forest.
From 81 South. Take exit 36, the Pulaski exit. Turn left onto County Route 2 East. Go 10 miles, the parking area is on corner of Beecherville Road and County Route 2.
From 81 North. Take exit 36 Pulaski exit. Make a left onto State Route 13 West (Rome Rd.). Go 1.1 miles and make a right onto State Route 11 North (Salina Street). Go .4 miles and make right onto County Route 2 (Maple Ave). Go 10 miles parking area is on right on the corner of Beecherville Road and County Route 2.
- Beecherville Road and County Route 2 Parking (43.574219°N, 75.961576°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- New Scriba Drive Parking (43.600927°N, 75.964914°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.
- Pass only in flat areas. The faster trail user should verbally indicate a desire to pass. Slower users should yield by moving to the right where possible.
- Users going down hill have the right of way because they are typically moving faster and may have less control.
- Do not descend a hill until the trail is clear.
- After a fall, move off the trail as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of collisions.
- When skiing, fill in the sitzmarks before proceeding after a fall.
- Do not hike in the ski tracks.
How We Manage Chateaugay State Forest
Chateaugay State Forest is part of the Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan. The plan is currently being written by DEC staff. A Unit Management Plan (UMP) guides the DEC's land management activities on several geographically related forests 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.
The responsibility of managing State Forests to enhance and maintain a diverse and healthy forest ecosystem for both society and wildlife falls to DEC Foresters. They strategically employ forest management to develop a balanced mix of young, middle-aged, and old (late successional) forest types that will continue to benefit New Yorkers for many generations to come. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us email@example.com.
The land that is now a part of Chateaugay State Forest was last molded twelve thousand years ago by the residing Wisconsin Glacier blanketed the ground. The rocks left behind (shale and sandstone) after the glaciers melted underlie the area and are defining characteristics of the Tug Hill Plateau region.
According to the New York State Tug Hill Commission, Tug Hill's elevation and position in respect to Lake Ontario results in lake effect snowfall exceeding 200 inches annually, making the area well known for its winter activities.
Originally utilized by early settlers for timber and farm land, Chateaugay State Forest's many rock walls can still be easily seen throughout the woods. In fact, it is believed that many of the stone walls that remain in this forest were built by Vic and George Waggoner of Orwell, who were known for their walls and stone bridges in the surrounding area. Many of the older walls were built in the early-to-mid 1800's and are still in great condition today. As you walk or ski the trails of Chateaugay Forest, you may notice the incredible stonework scattered throughout the forest.
Nearby Amenities and Attractions
Oswego County Tourism Office (Leaves DEC website)
Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Pulaski.
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.