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Pinckney State Forest

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Pinckney State Forest locator map

This 2,091-acre state forest is named for its location in the town of Pinckney and for the main forest access road, passing east to west through the area, that bears the same name. Positioned on the Tug Hill Plateau, this forest embodies all of the characteristics that go with this territory, including poor and shallow soils, short growing seasons, and harsh winters. Accordingly, the mixture of softwood plantations and natural hardwood and spruce/fir stands leave much to be desired in productivity and quality.

Featured Activities



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

There are 2 trails on the property, totaling .95-mile. Maltby Ext. Trail is a .54-mile hiking only trail located in the western portion of the property. Ball Rd. is a .41-mile trail that allows motorized access for people with disabilities and a permit from the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities access to the unit.



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

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

There are a couple tributaries of Sandy Creek that flow across the unit and offer ideal trout fishing opportunities.

A pamphlet is available with maps of state lands and public fishing rights that depicts the Public Access for Fishing the South Sandy Creek (PDF 704 KB).

North Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

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

Accessible Features

motoroized access program for people with disabilities

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

Ball Road is a .41-mile trail in the northern portion of the forest that allows motorized access for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).


Map of Pinckney State Forest

From Copenhagen, take Route 194 south 3 miles to Pinckney Road. Make a right, proceed 2 miles.

  • Trailhead for Maltby Ext. Trail, off of Pinckney Road (43.873181°N, 75.812687°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Ball Rd. MAPPWD trailhead off of Knapp Road(AKA Curtis Rd.) (43.888887°N, 75.790617°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) 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 Pinckney 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.

Specific Rules

Mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.

Snowmobiling is prohibited on the trails of this unit; however, the NYS Snowmobile Trail network crosses the property via Pinckney Rd.

How We Manage Pinckney State Forest

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Tug Hill North Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities:

  • Gas, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Watertown, Barnes Corners and Lowville.
  • Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Watertown, West Lowville and Lowville.

Lewis County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) and Adirondacks Tug Hill (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.