Boutwell Hill State Forest
- Open for Recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Dunkirk Office: (716) 363-2052 (M-F 8:00AM - 4:00PM), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: (518) 408-5850 or 911
- Location: Towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek, Chautauqua County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9K
- Map: Boutwell Hill State Forest Map || Same Map in PDF (502 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 2,944-acre Boutwell Hill State Forest provides opportunities for many informal outdoor recreational activities. They are also a source of raw materials for New York's forest products industry, providing employment and income for many New Yorkers. These lands were purchased by the people of New York State starting in the 1930s for timber production, recreational use, watershed protection and wildlife.
In the 1930s, these lands were the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the CCC provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included construction of roads and planting thousands of pine and spruce trees in open areas.
Note that management practices in the state forest may disrupt trail use at times.
Mature stand of hardwoods along the Eastside Overland Trail
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
The Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail (leaves DEC website) is a multiple use trail that crosses the state forest from Ruttenbur Road in the north to Erwin Road (County Route 85) in the south. It's part of a 19-mile county trail system that crosses both state-owned and private land. There are 6.4 miles of the trail on the State Forest which are maintained by Chautauqua County.
The trail corridor navigates through woodlots, marsh dikes and access trails. Bicycling, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are allowed on the trail but motor vehicles and horses are not. When the trail leaves public lands it only follows roads and highways. Please be considerate of private landowners.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
There are no designated campsites; however, 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 snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
Snowmobile Trail - Boutwell Hill State Forest
There are 6.5 miles of snowmobile trails that are maintain by the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club (leaves DEC website) through a volunteer stewardship agreement. The trail connects to various other snowmobile trails that travel off state property so please be respectful of adjacent landowners. The trail can also be used for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in the off season.
All organized trail events must have a Temporary Revocable Permit prior to the event which can be obtained from the local DEC office at the number listed at the top of this page.
Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are approximately 3.5 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails in the northern portion of this state forest. Parking and trail access can be found at the intersection of Lewis and Ruttenbur Roads. These trails are maintained through a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with the Boutwell Hill Ski Club (leaves DEC website). Maps are available at the trail head or at the map links above. The trails follow parts of the Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail and parts of the snowmobile trail system, so be sure to use caution and be courteous of other trail users.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. 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.
There are approximately eight miles of trails in the Boutwell Hill State Forest area marked with blue horse trail markers.
The trail system is part of a larger county-wide horse trail system, and the trail does travel off of state land in areas on the southern end of the state forest. The sections of trail that travel across private land are closed October 1st to March 31st each year. There is a portion of trail that is located only on state forest lands that can be used when the private land trails are closed. It is a 5-mile section of horse trail that starts at the Lewis and Ruttenbur parking area and travels south to the Boutwell Hill Road parking area.
Picnic tables can be found in two spots along the trail on state lands: at the Boutwell Hill Road parking area and at the Erwin Road (Route 85) parking area. Hitching posts can be found along the trail in various areas. All parking lots have at least one hitching post for rider use and a kiosk for trail information. There are no designated camp sites along the trail; it is day use only. All trash and refuse is carry in, carry out and no restroom facilities are available. There are also no water spigots available, but stream crossings along the trail can be used to water horses at your own risk. Please refer to the map at the top of the page for trail location and parking areas.
Be sure to stay on the marked horse trail as there is no horseback riding allowed on any other trail in this state forest.
This Horse Trail system is currently under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with Lou Eibl Horse Club. All trails are built and maintained by the club under the direction of the NYS DEC Forestry staff. If you are interested in volunteering please contact our Dunkirk Forestry office at 716-363-2052.
Hunting & Trapping
The area is a popular destination for hunting both small and big game. Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted.
General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
There is a 0.8-mile trail in the southeastern part of the forest that allows motorized access for people with disabilities. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).
From Cassadaga NY, take route 72 west until you come to route 77 south. Turn right onto 77 south to Ruttenbur road, then turn left onto Ruttenbur road and follow until it comes to Lewis Road. Make a right onto Lewis Road and a parking area will be on your immediate left for the Overland Trail. Additional parking lots for trail use are located on Ruttenbur Road, Boutwell Hill Road and Erwin Road (County Route 85.)
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
- Ruttenbur Road at Lewis Road parking area (42.348227°N, 79.199002°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Arab Hill Forest Road parking area, 6 car capacity (42.329591°N, 79.187028°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Boutwell Hill Road parking area (42.304936°N, 79.175644°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Erwin Road (County Route 85) parking area (42.278625°N, 79.149556°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.
- Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.
- Horses are not permitted on the East Side Overland Trail.
How We Manage Boutwell Hill State Forest
DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Chautauqua Unit Management Plan. 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 at email@example.com.
Boutwell Hill State Forest practices timber management to produce forest crops, maintain diverse wildlife habitat and provide recreational opportunities while protecting water quality and aesthetics. Many years ago, stands of pine and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. They are usually managed by a series of partial thinnings. These thinnings provide openings of sunlight to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwood. The removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest allows the hardwood seedling to grow to maturity.
Hardwood trees are not usually planted, as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. Periodic thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife, and a source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth. Often these large trees represent survivors of timber harvesting prior to state ownership.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
Gas can be found in the nearby community of Cassadaga.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Cassadaga, Cherry Creek and South Dayton.
Lodging and dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Cherry Creek and South Dayton.
Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (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.