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Shindagin Hollow State Forest

hikingprimitive campingmountain bikingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross country skiingsnow shoeingaccessible trailicon key

Shindagin Hollow State Forest locator map

Shindagin Hollow State Forest covers 5,266 acres. Its large size and good access from public roads make this a great forest to enjoy activities such as: mountain biking, hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, bird watching, nature viewing, and primitive camping.

Featured Activities



General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are several recreational trails that offer explorers a one-of-a-kind experience when visiting this forest. The Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (FLT) (leaves DEC website) crosses the forest providing a well marked hiking trail in a forest setting. About 5.7 miles of the FLT is on Shindagin Hollow State Forest and is maintained through an Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with the Cayuga Trails Club and the Finger Lakes Trails Conference. Hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.


primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations. Primitive camping can be done in the forest without a permit for upto three days with less than 10 people.

The Shindagin Hollow lean-to, built and maintained by trail volunteers, provides a great resting spot under the shade of towering eastern white pines. The lean-to is located along the trail at geographic coordinates 42.32761°N, 76.32905°W.

Shindagen Hollow State Forest


mountain biking

General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Shindagin Hollow State Forest is a well known place for mountain bicycling. Sixteen miles of mountain bike trails are maintained through a DEC Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with Cycle-CNY, an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) affiliated club.



General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules & regulations

Fishing access information is available. Fishing easement information is available.

Hunting & Trapping


General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations



General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Four miles of snowmobile trail cross the forest and are maintained by the Candor Valley Rider Snowmobile Club through a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

snow shoeing
cross country skiing

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. Common mammals found on the unit include: white tailed deer, wild turkey, ruffed grouse and woodcock, black bear, eastern cottontail rabbits and rabbits. The Unit and its surrounding landscape also provide significant habitats for many species of breeding birds.

Accessible Features

accessible trail

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

There are 2.5 miles of trail in the western part of the forest for ATV use by individuals with mobility impairments that possess a Department permit through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).


Take NY RT 79 into the hamlet of West Slaterville and turn south on Boiceville Road for about 0.6 of a mile. Travel straight (south) onto Central Chapel Road for about 2.6 miles, then turn right on Brearley Hill Road and travel south for about ½ mile to the mountain bike trail head parking lot. Brearley Hill Road is plowed. (42.34508°N, 76.34987°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Additional parking for the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail is available about 1 mile to the south of the mountain bike trail head parking lot. (42.32991°N, 76.35076°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

In addition, Shindagin Hollow Road provides seasonal access to the western and central portions of the forest. From Route 79 one can also go south on Buffalo Road to South Road to reach the eastern half of the forest.

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.

All users of Shindagan State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follows all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

How We Manage Shindagin State Forest

Shindagin State Forest is part of the Rapid Waters Unit Management Plan. 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. If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at info.r7@dec.ny.gov.

The Shindagin Hollow State Forest has many different wildlife habitats. DEC forest managers conserve, protect and enhance forest ecosystems by developing a mix of young (early successional), middle-aged and old (late successional) forest types. Deliberate management over the last eight decades has created different types and ages of forest habitat. State Forests are managed to conserve water quality, provide diverse wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and a sustainable supply of locally grown forest products such as firewood and sawtimber. As such, the forest is a great place to view ecosystem management and habitat management in action. Future management actions will be guided by the Rapid Waters Unit Management Plan once completed.


The Shindagin Hollow State Forest is located on the Allegheny Plateau, which is made of sedimentary bedrock that formed some 350 million years ago when the region was covered by an ancient saltwater sea. Geologists believe that the plateau was created during a collision of the North American and African continents some 250 to 330 million years ago. The collision lifted the bedrock, which has since been shaped by continual weathering and the advance and retreat of continental ice sheets (glaciers). The glaciers created the 'U' shaped valleys of the region and the Finger Lakes. The last glacier left New York State about 10,000 years ago.

Human settlement followed the retreat of the glacier. Tompkins County was originally home to members of the Iroquois Confederation or Haudenosaunee, specifically the Cayuga Nation. The Haudenosaunee was established in circa 1570 under the influence of Hiawatha. It was a bond between five nations: the Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, Mohawk, and the Onondaga. In 1715, the Tuscarora nation was added making it a league of six nations. The Cayuga's, who were the main inhabitants of the Tompkins County area, did not use the land heavily. They had semi-permanent dwellings placed near freshwater sources which enabled them to locate and transport game, as well as irrigate their crops without causing great stress to the land.

Early settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans referred to the area as "Dark Forest" because the forest was so dense that only small traces of light penetrated through the canopy. However, the new settlers had many superstitions involving forests, and they had little or no experience in producing forest goods. They therefore decided to clear the area almost entirely for use as farmland. The timber that was not used for carpentry was burned, becoming a valuable by-product known as potash. This process continued until almost the entire land was converted from dense forest to open fields, leaving the landscape seemly forever changed.

Soils on area hilltops, however, have major limitations for intensive crop production, including a seasonally high water table, low fertility, moderate to high acidity and steep slopes. Early farmers quickly learned that the combination of long, harsh winters and thin, fine textured upland soils would not support intensive agriculture. As such, many of the farmlands were sold or abandoned as farmers sought more fertile lands in the Midwest.
During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the landscape would be transformed again. In order to reduce soil erosion, protect water quality, provide forest products and recreational opportunities, the State of New York began acquiring property for reforestation during the 1930's under the auspices of the State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931. These laws allowed the Conservation Department to acquire land, by gift or purchase, for reforestation. Properties had to be a minimum of 500 acres of contiguous land.

Although the Hewitt Amendment was a major acquisition catalyst throughout New York State, about 73% of Shindagin Hollow State Forest was acquired from the federal government in January of 1956. From 1933 to 1937, as part of Roosevelt Administration's New Deal, the federal government purchased about 8 million acres in the Appalachians through what was called the sub-marginal land purchase program. The program purchased land with limited crop production capacity and in some cases promoted the resettlement of farm families whose land had been bought by the federal government. Van Etten Civilian Conservation Corp. Camp S-81, Caroline Center Youth Camp and New York State Conservation Department crews planted more than 2,231,700 tree seedlings on 2,105 acres from 1935 to 1952. Most of the seedlings were softwood species such as red pine, white pine, Norway spruce and Scotch pine. Today, forest covers about 67% of the surrounding landscape, while crop land and pasture cover about 27%.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in Ithaca and Candor.

The Tompkins County Tourism Office (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

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.