Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Newfield State Forest

primitive campinghiking fishing huntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross country skiingsnowshoeingparkingicon key

Newfield State Forest locator map

Newfield State Forest encompasses 1,552 acres. The forest is connected to DEC's Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area which covers more than 11,000 acres.

There are no formal trail networks within the forest but hiking is allowed anywhere unless posted otherwise.

Featured Activities

Ferns in Newfield State Forest


primitive camping

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

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



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.

Many game species, such as white tail deer, fox, turkey, raccoon, mink and squirrel are found within the forest's boundaries.



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

A snowmobile trail runs along portions of Bull Hill and Chaffee Creek Roads (see State Forest map).

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing

General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.


General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.


Located about 11 miles south of the City of Ithaca, Newfield State Forest is accessible from NY Route 13. From NY Route 13, turn east on Bull Hill Rd. for about 0.7 miles. Parking is available along the side of the road at the intersection of Bull Hill and Chaffee Creek roads. Bull Hill and Chaffee Creek roads are not plowed. The southeast part of the forest can be accessed by traveling south in the village of Newfield on Van Kirk Road and turning right onto Irish Hill Road. Parking opportunities are available, and are limited mostly to the shoulder of the road.

Intersection of Bull Hill and Chaffee Creek Roads (42.31833°N, 76.65242°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.

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

How We Manage Newfield State Forest

In the future, Newfield State Forest will be part of the Newfield 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

Primitive and undeveloped, Newfield State Forest is a great place to enjoy a relatively undisturbed forest setting. A transmission gas line bisects the forest and provides a customarily traveled route for man and critter.


Present day Newfield State Forest was cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. The pace of settlement and commerce increased after the Civil War with the arrival of the Geneva, Ithaca and Sayre railroad in 1871. The first sawmill in the village of Newfield was built in 1809, followed by a gristmill machine in 1811. Unfortunately, the hilltop soils of the area are often thin, relatively steep and acidic. Early farmers found that the hilltop lands were not fit for intensive crop farming; the soils quickly lost productivity once cleared of trees. Originally part of the Watkins and Flint purchase, about 1,443 acres of the Newfield State Forest (nearly 93%) was acquired from the federal government in January of 1956. From 1933 to 1937, as part of the Roosevelt Administration's New Deal, the federal government purchased about 8 million acres in the Southern Appalachians through what was called the sub-marginal land purchase program. The program purchased land with limited crop production capacity such as the Newfield State Forest and in some cases promoted the resettlement of farm families whose lands had been bought by the federal government.

The Federal lands were planted with trees by the Civilian Conservation Corps, becoming part of the state forest system in 1956. The Department of Environmental Conservation under Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law, has been given authorization to manage lands acquired outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Management, as defined by these laws, includes watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes. In the last several decades, time and deliberate management have transformed the Newfield State Forest into valuable open space, providing many different ecological, economic and recreational services for the people of New York State.

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Tompkins County Tourism Office (Leaves DEC website)

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Ithaca, Horseheads, and Watkins Glen.

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.

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.