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Otter Creek State Forest

Otter Creek State Forest locator map

hiking primitive campingfishingtrappinghuntingsnowmobilinghorseback ridingaccess for people with disabilitiesparking icon key

The 1,206-acre Otter Creek State Forest is named for the trout stream that meanders, for a distance of nearly 3 miles, from east to west through the middle of the tract. The gorge, cut by this waterway, offers visitors many breathtaking views from various vistas along its rim. The trails on this property are part of the 65 miles of Otter Creek Horse Trail system. The timberland is periodically improved by carefully controlled harvesting operations conducted by the highest bidding private contractors, under the supervision of DEC's forestry staff.

Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate for their horses.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

There are almost 12 miles of horse trails and unpaved roads that provide hiking opportunities throughout the property.

Camping

primitive camping

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

There are 3 primitive campsites and 3 accessible primitive campsites located along the unpaved Otter Creek Road in the western portion of the property. There are 5 pit privy's spread out along Otter Creek Road near the campsites.

There are site-specific rules for camping on this property per regulation: 6 CRR-NY 190.30 (leaves DEC's website).

  1. Camping is limited to designated sites only
  2. Groups are limited to 6 people or to any single family group of the same household.
  3. Camping is prohibited from 11:00am Tuesday until 11:00am Thursday except by permit at Otter Creek State Forest during the northern zone big game hunting season.
  4. Camping is limited to 5 consecutive nights except by permit during the northern zone big game hunting season.

Fishing

fishing

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

Otter Creek offers exceptional trout fishing and is annually stocked with brown trout (2,680 Spring yearlings and 250 2-year-olds).

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

trappinghunting

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

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

The 1.46-mile Otter Creek Public Forest Access Road (PFAR) is the only route on the property that allows snowmobiling and connects to the NYS Snowmobiling Trails network.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

The Otter Creek Horse Trail System is the single largest developed recreational opportunity in this unit and has 65 miles of interlocking trails and roads. They are located on both the Independence River Wild Forest Unit, of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and on the Independence River and Otter Creek State Forests. The trail system uses a series of old, sandy roads and woods trails to traverse a beautiful, diverse area with the trails winding their way along spirea flats and wooded areas, accessing picturesque Adirondack ponds and following or crossing Otter, Little Otter, Beaver Meadow, Chase, Burnt and Crooked Creeks and the Independence River.

The Otter Creek State Forest contains about 7 miles of designated horse trails. There is also an accessible ramp on Streamside Trail and a picnic area that contains a hitching post and a horse watering station.

Friends of Otter Creek (VSA14-06-LO-27) (leaves DEC website) helps maintain Otter Creek Horse Trails: brushing, blow down removal, signing and minor tread work.

Wildlife

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

access 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.

There are 3 ADA accessible primitive campsites located on Otter Creek Rd. There is also an accessible horse ramp on Streamside Trail.

Full listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations

Directions

Map of Otter Creek State Forest

From Lowville, take Number Four Road 3.5 miles to Pine Grove Road. Follow Pine Grove Road 6 miles to Eatonville Road, turn left, proceed 1.2 miles.

  • Otter Creek Road parking lot (30 vehicle capacity), (43.71825982°N, 75.32473357°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Eatonville Road parking lot (5 vehicle capacity), (43.71825982°N, 75.32473357°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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

Primary vehicular access to the interior of the property is provided by the Otter Creek Public Forest Access Road (1.5 miles), Mikes Public Forest Access Road (1.1 miles).

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 Otter Creek 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

This property has site-specific rules for usage of Otter Creek State Forest (6 CRR-NY 190.30) (leaves DEC website).

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

How We Manage Otter Creek State Forest

DEC has developed a Westward Waters Unit Management Plan (UMP) which describes the proposed management activities for this lands. 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 information.r6@dec.ny.gov.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

DEC Lands & Facilities

Information regarding where to find amenities

  • Gas, food, dining, and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Beaver River Station, Brantingham, Croghan, Glenfield, Lowville, Lyons Falls, Port Leyden, Stillwater, and Turin.

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.