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Brookfield Railroad State Forest

Trails 33 and 36 have been repaired after the July 2014 storm and are now open.

hikingprimitive campingfishingmountain bikinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingsnowshoeingcross country skiinghorseback ridingaccessible trailparkingIcon key

Brookfield Railroad State Forest locator map

Originally purchased in the 1930s like most of the State Reforestation Areas throughout New York, the 848-acre Brookfield Railroad State Forest is part of the highly acclaimed Brookfield Trail System which is located in southeast Madison County. The majority of the horse trails, including the assembly area, are located on the nearby Charles E. Baker State Forest.

A multiple use trail system on Brookfield Railroad State Forest provides miles of enjoyment for hiking, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

Brookfield Railroad State Forest entrance
Entering Brookfield Railroad State Forest

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

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

Several multiple use trails on the state forest can be used for hiking and other recreational activities.

Camping

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.

Fishing

fishing

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

Trout stream
Trout stream on the state forest

Several streams on the state forest can be used for trout fishing.

Biking

mountain biking

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

Several multiple use trails on the state forest can be used for biking and other recreational activities.

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 throughout the property. Please abide by all game laws.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

In addition to forest roads, Trail 34 and Trail 36 can be used for snowmobiling.

Vidler Road vista
New vista from Vidler Road after cleanup
from the 2014 storm

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

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.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

Several multiple use trails on the state forest can be used for horseback riding and other recreational activities. Horse owners may be required to produce a current Coggins certificate in accordance with Agriculture and Markets Rules and Regulations, Part 64.

two young girls horseback riding
Enjoy horseback riding on the multiple use trails

Organized trail rides or events need a temporary revocable permit (TRP) that can be obtained through the DEC's Lands and Forests Office in Sherburne at (607) 674-4017. Plan on two to three weeks for processing of your permit prior to the event. An application fee for the TRP is also required. 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.

Accessible Features

accessible trail

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

Significant portions of the trail system are accessible for those with mobility impairments through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD). Those with a MAPPWD permit can use ATVs on Trail 33 and on the Will Mason Loop (which includes Trail 35 and Will Mason Road) for hunting, wildlife viewing and camping.

Directions

From the south: Take State Route 8 north to County Route 99 north which goes into the hamlet of Brookfield. In the hamlet turn left onto County Rt. 80, then right onto Hibbard Road. Hibbard runs through the heart of the forest.

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

  • Vidler Road Parking Lot (42.830681°N, 75.364686°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 Brookfield Railroad 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.

Special Regulations for Brookfield Railroad State Forest

  1. Off road trails are closed to horse and mountain bike travel from October 31 to May 1.
  2. 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.
  3. Out-of-state horse owners may be required to produce a 30 day health certificate.
  4. Horses may not be run, galloped or cantered in the assembly area.

How We Manage Brookfield Railroad State Forest

Brookfield Railroad State Forest is part of the Brookfield 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. Lands and Forests staff are currently working on the draft UMP which will be made available to the public when it is completed.

This State Forest is named for the railroad line that was designed to connect the Villages of Brookfield to North Brookfield and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad back in the late 1800s. The area still holds evidence today of the historic attempt by immigrant workers to build a spur line over four miles of rugged terrain with continual elevation challenges. Construction was started in 1886 with $100,000 worth of capital stock funded to a local charter company. The workers nearly completing the grade for the spur line before financial hardship doomed the project's completion without a single rail ever being laid. Even today, much of the original rail bed is still evident throughout parts of the State Forest

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

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Sherburne and Hamilton.

Madison County Tourism (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.


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  • NYSDEC Region 7
    Sherburne Sub-office
    2721 State Hwy 80
    Sherburne, NY 13460
    607-674-4017
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