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Buck's Brook State Forest

hikingprimitive campingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowshoeingcross country skiingicon keyBuck's Brook State Forest locator map

Buck's Brook State Forest consists of 2,178 acres located between State highway 26 and County Highway 13 in the northwest corner of Chenango County. Popular recreational uses of this forest are hiking, nature observation and hunting.

Featured Activities



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

A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website) traverses the forest. The trail enters the forest on the northwest side along Ratville Road and traverses east and then south to where it exits the forest on Buck's Brook Road near its junction with Rt. 26


primitive camping

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.

The Brook at Buck's Brook State Forest



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

The Otselic River, which runs along Rt. 26, offers nearby trout fishing opportunities and is easily accessible due to the numerous DEC parking areas.

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.

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.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.


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


Bucks Brook State Forest can be accessed by either the Bucks Brook Road from State highway 26 or the Ridge Road which traverses north from South Otselic to its junction with County highway 16. These are both dirt roads that are plowed in the winter.

Ridge Road pull off, northern end near the Finger Lakes Trail (42.707672°N, 75.785836°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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 Bucks Brook 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 Bucks Brook State Forest

Bucks Brook State Forest is part of the Northern Chenango Highlands 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.

Buck's Brook State Forest is a mixture of softwood plantations, consisting of red pine, white pine, spruce and larch trees on old farm lands, and native hardwoods. The softwood plantations were generally planted in either the 1930's or 1960's. Periodic timber harvests, managed by DEC foresters, thin the woods and regenerate forest areas. The harvested trees are used for the production of hardwood and softwood lumber, hardwood furniture, utility poles, paper and log cabins

Buck's Brook Road offers a scenic drive through the Buck's Brook gorge. As one travels up the gorge, state forest is on both sides of the road, protecting the fragile steep slopes. Turning left at the intersection with Ridge Road will bring one to a hill top known as Cary Hill having an elevation of 1,957 feet. This hill top was struck by a tornado in 1993 and an information sign along the roadside describes the event.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us info.r7@dec.ny.gov

Nearby Amenities and Attractions

Chenango County Tourism Webpage (Leaves DEC website)

Gas and food may be found in the nearby community of South Otselic

Dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Cortland or Cazenovia.

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.

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