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Shandaken Wild Forest

hikingcampingleantofishingfishing pierhuntingtrappingbikingskiingsnow shoeinghorseback ridingaccessiblepicnicingparkingicon key

Shandaken Wild Forest locator map
  • Open for recreation: Year-round
  • Fee: Free
  • Contact Information:
    • DEC Region 3 New Paltz Office: (845) 256-3000 M-F (8:30am - 4:30pm); email: r3admin@ny.gov
    • Backcountry Emergency (Search, rescue and Forest Fire): 518-891-0235 (24 hours a day)
    • Law Enforcement, Emergency & Rangers: 518-408-5850 or dial 911
  • Location: Hamlet of Shandaken, Ulster County and Town of Lexington, Greene County
  • WMU: 3A and 4R
  • Map: View Shandaken Wild Forest Map - PDF (3.25 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
A rustic building in a neadow in the forest
Shandaken sugar shack at the end of Lower
Birch Creek Road

Shandaken Wild Forest contains four different parcels, each with its own distinctive character. The many remnants of past industries: farms, sawmills, bluestone mining and tanneries, will intrigue those interested in Catskill history. The Lower Birch Creek Road parcel is a historic Catskill mountain farmstead. The Allaben parcel is largely undeveloped forest with primitive campsites. The Rochester Hollow area contains ruins of a former estate and a spruce plantation that is the John Burroughs Memorial Forest.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

A memorial plaque to John Burroughs
The John Burroughs memorial plaque

The Rochester Hollow parcel has three marked trails. The longest is the Colonel Rochester Trail (blue blaze - 2.7 miles). There are two loops off the blue trail. The Burrough's Memorial Forest Trail ( yellow blaze -.7 miles) leads to the John Burroughs Memorial Forest, a plantation of white and Norway spruce on an abandoned farm site. The Eignor Farm Trail (Red blaze- 1.4 miles) continues from the end of the Blue trail and loops back to meet it.

Camping

primitive camping
lean-to

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

At-large backcountry 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.

The Allaben parcel contains eight designated campsites, two of which are accessible with accessible picnic tables and fire rings. The first campsite is located next to a small pond with a hardened area near the edge of the water for fishing. Continue past this campsite to the end of the road where a second accessible campsite can be found. There is an accessible seasonal port-a-john located at the cul-de-sac, adjacent to this campsite. An accessible informational kiosk is located at the first intersection, near the first accessible campsite.

Rochester Hollow has an accessible lean-to campsite (with hardened surfaces, accessible picnic table, fireplace and privy) and two designated campsites. This site is near the end of a three-mile-long gated road (Rochester Hollow Road). Access by ATV is granted only to Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit holders.

Fishing

fishing
accessible fishing platform

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


A view of the Lower Birch Creek Road
Parcel and accessible fishing platform

A small pond with a fishing platform is featured at the Lower Birch Creek Road Picnic Site. The site offers Brook Trout fishing opportunities.

Additionally, there are public fishing rights on nearby private land. A pamphlet is available with maps of state lands and public fishing rights that depicts the Public Access for Fishing the Esopus Creek, Woodland Valley Creek, and Stony Clove Creek (PDF 919 KB).

See the statewide angling regulations for the open season, minimum size requirements and daily limits for all fish species. There are also special fishing regulations for Ulster County for certain waters.

East-Central NY Fishing and Southeastern 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
trapping

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

Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons, except where specifically prohibited by posted notice. The main game species found on the property include white tailed deer, black bear, snowshoe hare, wild turkey and grey squirrel. The main furbearers found on the property include beaver, bobcat, coyote, and fisher.

Mountain Biking

biking

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

The Rochester Hollow Trails are open to mountain biking.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
snowshoeing

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

There are no groomed or maintained ski trails, however cross-country skiers and snowshoers utilize the Rochester Hollow Trails in the winter. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations

The Rochester Hollow Trails are open to horseback riding.

Wildlife Viewing

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 here.

Accessible Features

accessible recreation
picnic area

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

An accessible campsite with picnic table
An accessible campsite at the Allaben parcel.

Lower Birch Creek Road Picnic Site
The Lower Birch Creek Road parcel features a small pond with an accessible trail about 3/4 of the way around it. There are two accessible picnic tables on one side of the pond and an accessible fishing platform with a bench on the other side. Fishing opportunities at this site are for Brook Trout. The entrance to the path is next to the informational kiosk. A seasonal accessible port-a-john is available.

Rochester Hollow Lean-to
At Rochester Hollow, there is an accessible lean-to campsite (with hardened surfaces, accessible picnic table, fireplace and privy). This site is near the end of a three-mile-long gated road (Rochester Hollow Road). Access by ATV is granted only to Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) permit holders.

Allaben Campsites
At Allaben there are two accessible campsites with accessible picnic tables and fire rings. The first campsite is located next to a small pond with a hardened area near the edge of the water for fishing. Continue past this campsite to the end of the road where a second accessible campsite can be found. There is an accessible seasonal port-a-john located at the cul-de-sac, adjacent to this campsite. An accessible informational kiosk is located at the first intersection, near the first accessible campsite.

Directions

Shandaken Wild Forest offers 4 parking areas off of NYS Route 28.

  • Rochester Hollow Parking Area is located at the end of Matyas Road 0.2 miles northeast of its intersection with NYS Route 28. (42.116493°N, 74.452440°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Peck Hollow Road Parking Area is located at the end of Peck Hollow Road 1.7 miles north of its intersection with NYS Route 28. (42.139805°N, 74.369057°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Lower Birch Creek Road Parking Area is located near the hamlet of Pine Hill. From Kingston, take Route 28. Turn right on Birch Creek Road located just past the Mobil Mini Mart, but prior to the Route 28 bridge where the road turns to three lanes. Follow Birch Creek Road for about a mile then turn right onto Lower Birch Creek Road. Follow to the end. (42.158753°N, 74.445256°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Route 28 East of the Allaben Cemetery Parking Area is located off of NYS Route 28 across from the Allaben Cemetery. (42.107976°N, 74.348217°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

How We Manage the Shandaken Wild Forest

DEC manages this land in accordance with the Shandaken Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreation, geology, natural and human history, wildlife, fish and much more.

Shandaken Wild Forest Unit Management Plan UMP (PDF, 1 MB)

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities and Other Information

DEC Land and Facilities:

  • The Hunter-Westkill Wilderness area, a remote mountainous location of more than 19,250 acres, is adjacent to the Peck Hollow parcel to the north and east.
  • The Slide Mountain Wilderness the largest and most popular Wild Forest in the Catskills is across Rte. 28 immediately to the south.
  • The Woodland Valley Campground, on Woodland Valley Road in Phoenicia is a 20 minute drive to the south and east and offers 70 tent and trailer sites, fishing, a picnic area and access to many popular trails.
  • The Kenneth Wilson Campground in Mt. Tremper (a 20 minute drive to the east) has 76 large, secluded tent and trailer sites in a picturesque mountain setting, that offers fishing, biking, picnicking and hiking.
  • The Catskill Interpretive Center in Shandaken (off Rte 28, just a few minutes to the east) features interactive exhibits and information about Catskill recreation, wildlife, history and culture. The Center is open every day 9 AM to 5 PM during the summer months.

Other Attractions:

  • The Belleayre Mt. Ski Center, in Highmount, is a four-season resort, 10 minutes to the west (off Rte 28). In the summer Belleayre has a beach with swimming and boat rentals, mountain biking, summer concerts and hiking. In winter, Belleayre has excellent downhill skiing, snow boarding, telemark skiing and cross-country skiing.
  • The Town of Phoenicia is just seven miles to the east and has restaurants, shopping and is the center for tubing on the Esopus.
  • The Town of Woodstock is a short drive to the east and is well known for its unique shops, restaurants, theatre and music.
  • The Town of Margaretville, is about 15 minutes west on Rte 28 and has lodging, restaurants and shopping.

Catskill Area Tourism Services (CATS) (leaves DEC website) is an excellent resource for information on recreation of all types. The Ulster County Alive website and Greene County Tourism website (leave the DEC website) have information about attractions and events, and places to stay and eat.