California Road State Forest
- Open for recreation: Year-round
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- Location: Pitcairn and Fowler, St. Lawrence County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6C
- Map: View California Road State Forest Map || View Same Map in PDF (152 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
California Road State Forest covers 1,410 acres. The topography is very hilly with thin soils and rocky exposed ridge tops predominating. Better quality upland sites support a mixture of northern hardwood, hemlock, and white pine forests. Lower quality upland sites are dominated by red oak, eastern hophornbeam, hickories, and other species adapted to droughty and nutrient poor soils. Pine and spruce plantations were established on what were formerly farm fields and pastures. Flatter ground supports open wetlands and shrub swamps, which gradually transition to swamp hardwoods in seasonal flooded areas.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations. There are no designated camp sites on this property. 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.
A Beaver Pond in California Road State Forest
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations.
There are several short trails in California Road State Forest. Hiking is allowed anywhere on this state forest.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations
Mountain biking is allowed on the trails in forest.
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 in accordance with State laws and regulations.
General information on fishing includes how to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.
Fishing is permitted in all streams and ponds in California Road.
Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules to regulations
There are several trails suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No trails are specifically maintained for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
This forest can be accessed from Ore Bed and Streeter Roads in the town of Pitcairn and the Sibley Road in the town of Fowler.
Ore bed Road (44.21067°N, 75.4358528°W)Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
Streeter Road(44.216597°N, 75.391521°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
Sibley Road (44.22064°N, 75.40294°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations& 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 with other users.
Don't Move Firewood. The insects it carries could kill the forests you love.
How We Manage California Road State Forest
DEC is developing a management plan which will describe the management activities for these lands. California Road is one of 18 State Forests and 2 Conservation Easements combined into the area called the St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Management Unit. In addition to forestry management objectives, the UMP will contain 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, pleas email us: Region 6 UMP mail box.
This forest consists of 12 parcels which were purchased between 1940 and 1989 for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection.
Portions of this area were formerly agricultural land that has reverted to forest. Open fields were planted with a variety of species including white spruce, red pine, Scotch pine, and white cedar. A total of over 74,000 trees were planted on 120 acres of this state forest between 1954 and 1967.
This state forest is located adjacent to a 164 acre parcel of state land classified as Forest Preserve. The forest preserve parcel is not managed for timber but is accessible for hiking and hunting. The southwestern portion of this state forest also shares a common boundary with the Fort Drum Military Reservation.
Several state forests in southwestern St. Lawrence County were severely damaged by an intense windstorm which occurred on July 15, 1995. This storm came to be known as the 1995 Microburst, which affected a wide area stretching across northern New York State, from Lake Ontario to the central portion of the Adirondack Park. Winds gusted as high as 100 miles per hour, which caused damage ranging from broken tree limbs and tops to areas of 10 or more acres that were entirely blown down.
Four state forests in the town of Pitcairn suffered heavy wind damage: California Road, Cold Spring Brook, Greenwood Creek, and Toothaker Creek State Forests. Over the next 3 years, a total of 1,100 acres of storm damaged timber were harvested, yielding 1.4 million board feet of sawlogs and more than $280,000 in revenue. Many of the harvested areas have become dense stands of hardwood seedlings and saplings. These areas now provide early successional habitat preferred by several species of birds such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, and warblers.
Nearby Areas and Attractions
- Lake Bonaparte
- St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (Leaves DEC website)
- Lewis County Chamber of Commerce (Leaves DEC website)
- Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce(Leaves DEC website)
- Fort Drum Military Reservation (Leaves DEC website)
The tourism offices above 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.