Charles Baker State Forest
- Open for recreation: Horse trails open May 1-October 31. Portable toilets available May 1-Labor Day. Moscow Hill Assembly campsites open May 1. Otherwise, the property is open year-round.
- Fee: Organized trail rides or events require a temporary revocable permit (TRP) for which there is a fee. Otherwise, use is free.
- Contact Information:
- State Forest Office in Sherburne (M-F 8am - 4pm): (607) 674-4017; email: Info.R7@dec.ny.gov
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Madison County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 7M
- Map: Charles Baker Map PDF (840 KB) || Charles Baker Map web page || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
This 9,400-acre forested property, located in southeast Madison County, makes up the core of the Brookfield Trail System. Charles Baker, combined with Brookfield Railroad and Beaver Creek State Forests, contain 130 miles of connected trails. These recreational trails are open for hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. Several trails are open for ATV use by permit only for people with disabilities. For those who prefer to drive through the forest, the Brookfield Auto Tour Guide (PDF, 2 MB) provides highlights of this state forest. The topography ranges from mild to moderate slopes with a few steep areas.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Hiking is allowed on all trails year-round in Charles Baker State Forest.
The Moscow Road Assembly and Camping Area
can accommodate campers
Horseback Riding and Stable
The assembly area on Moscow Road is the beginning of the trail system. The assembly and camping area can accommodate campers and approximately 150 horses with covered tie stalls and stallion box stalls. There is a pavilion, water and picnicking and camping facilities. Accessible portable toilets and an accessible mounting platform for people with disabilities are also provided.
Equestrian riding has a set season -- May 1st through October 31st each year. Organized trail rides or events need a temporary revocable permit (TRP) which can be obtained through the local Lands and Forests office in Sherburne. Plan on two to three weeks for processing prior to the event. An application fee is also required for the TRP. Further information on these permits can be obtained through any NYS DEC office throughout the state. See Rules and Regulation section for more information.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Primitive campsites are located at the Moscow Hill Assembly and Camping Areas, the Cherry Ridge Camping area, and other camping areas noted on the map. In these areas, camping is at designated sites only, except in the Moscow Hill Assembly area where there is room for RVs and trailers. Campsites feature picnic tables and fire pits. The Cherry Ridge camping area has potable water. Campsites are on a first come, first served basis. Lean-tos are also available for camping. See the map for locations. A permit (from the State Forest Ranger (315)886-1669) is required for a party of 10 or more or if staying more than 3 nights.
Primitive camping is allowed throughout the property. Camping for more than three nights or in a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of water, roads or trails unless otherwise noted.
Day Use/Picnic Areas
The Moscow Hill Assembly area has a pavilion, picnic tables, and a limited number of grills and fire pits. Picnic tables, grills, and fire pits are available in numerous locations throughout the property. Portable toilets are available at the Moscow Hill Assembly and camping areas May 1- Labor Day.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed in accordance with State laws and regulations. Follow all hunting safety guidelines, be prepared before going into the woods.
General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations
Charles E. Baker State Forest features a number of brooks throughout the property that are open to fishing in accordance with statewide fishing regulations.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Hiking and equestrian trails are used for snowmobiling in the winter. The Main truck trails and town roads are groomed by local clubs. Other trails are open to snowmobiling but are not groomed. The Brookfield Trail System connects to an additional 78 miles of snowmobile corridor trails through unplowed portions of town roads, public forest access roads, and woodland trails. Most corridor trails are located in state forests in Chenango, Oswego, Cortland, and Madison counties.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Biking is allowed at Charles Baker State Forest on the off road trail network during the trail riding season (May 1st to October 31st). During the rest of the year, mountain biking is only allowed on the road network.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
All trails on Charles Baker State Forest are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. However, no trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The wildlife present in the Charles E. Baker State Forest includes deer, turkey, ruffed grouse and migratory songbirds.
General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
- Horse mounting platform
- Portable toilets
- Several trails are open for ATV use by permit only for people with disabilities.
To access the forest, take State Highway 12 to Madison County Route 74 (Larkin Road) heading East. This will bring you to Moscow Road. Turn right and proceed south approximately 1/4 mile. The camping and assembly areas will be on your left. A parking area in the assembly area will offer space for large rigs and day use parking. For camping permits, contact the State Forest Ranger at 315-886-1669.
GPS coordinates: 42.79359°N, 75.40741°W, Google Map (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.
Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love.
Site-Specific Rules for Charles E. Baker State Forest
- No horse camping November 1 to May 1.
- Off road trails are closed to horse and mountain bike travel from November 1 to May 1.
- Horse owners must have a current negative Coggins certificate in accordance with Agriculture and Markets Rules and Regulations, Part 64 and carry such with them.
- Out-of-state horse owners may be required to produce a 30 day health certificate.
- Horses may not be run, galloped or cantered in the assembly area.
- During hunting season hunters may camp and use the Moscow Hill Assembly and Camping Areas, but require a permit from the State Forest Ranger 315-886-1669.
How We Manage Charles E. Baker State Forest
This state forest was purchased for reforestation, watershed protection, timber production, recreation and similar purposes. This property is a blend of red, white and Scotch pine and Norway spruce plantations with natural hardwoods consisting of American beech, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white ash, basswood and eastern hemlock. Many different habitats can be found on the forest. Various forest products have been removed over the years, supplying market demand for paper products, construction lumber, cabin logs and fine furniture.
Charles Baker State Forest is named after the district forester who oversaw the establishment of this property as a state forest.
Charles Baker State Forest is part of the Brookfield Unit Management Plan (UMP). A UMP guides the DEC's land management activities on forests for a ten-year period. Each UMP addresses specific objectives and actions for public use and forest management. A draft plan is in process and will be available to the public for comment on when it is completed.
Nearby Areas and Attractions
DEC Lands & Facilities
- Pine Ridge State Forest
- Beaver Creek State Forest
- Brookfield Railroad State Forest
- Gorton Lake State Forest
Madison 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.