Windfall Creek State Forest
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 9 Allegany Office: 716-372-0645 (M-F, 8:00AM - 4:00PM); Region9@dec.ny.gov
- Emergency, Law Enforcement & Rangers: 1-877-457-5680 or 911
- Location: Towns of Carrollton and Great Valley, Cattaraugus County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 9T
- Map: View Map Image || View Map PDF (180 KB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
Windfall Creek State Forest covers 968 acres. The most common recreational uses of this area are hunting, hiking, camping, and fishing.
State Forests are managed for multiple uses. They provide a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers. They are managed for wildlife by the creation and maintenance of various habitats for many wildlife species. They are also managed to provide recreational opportunities and for watershed protection.
In the 1930s, Windfall Creek State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC. The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.
A water powered sawmill was located just north of Thorpe Hollow Road past the bridge. Evidence of house foundations and old fields with rock walls suggest that this state forest was farmed prior to state ownership.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are permitted on the property in accordance with all game regulations, unless otherwise posted. Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails.
Terrain can be rugged in some areas so walking up and down hills will be part of the hunting experience. Access is good to many areas using forest roads. Not all roads are open to motor vehicles. More information can be obtained from your local DEC office by calling 716-372-0645.
General information on fishing includes how-to and safety tips and links to seasons, rules and regulations.
Fishing is allowed at Twin Ponds in the southern part of the state forest and in the steams on this unit.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Multiple use trails and old logging roads can be used for a great hike.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
Multiple use trails and old logging roads can be used for skiing and snowshoeing.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no designated biking trails but old logging roads can be used. Most of these trails require a high level of bike riding skill. They are a great ride if you are an expert rider and a great hike if you are not.
The Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (WNYMBA) (leaves DEC website) has adopted these trails. Please be aware that their trail information is a work in progress and all work is done by volunteers.
General information on horseback riding includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are no designated horse trails on this area, but old logging roads may be used. 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.
Picnicking and Day Use
There is a picnic table and fishing access at Twin Ponds.
Parking is available off of Windfall Run Road for this area. There is one campsite available in this area. Twin Ponds access is unplowed in the winter months.
General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.
There are three designated campsites on this property: one site is located off of Windfall Road at the Windfall ponds and two sites are located off Thorpe Hollow Road.
At-large backcountry camping is also 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 a group of ten or more requires a permit from a Forest Ranger.
From Olean take Rt 417 west. At Vandalia turn onto North Nine Mile Road and drive north to Nine Mile State forest or from Rt 417 take Thorpe Hollow Road or Windfall Road to Windfall Creek State Forest. Access to Twin Ponds is from Windfall Road.
Note that the parking area at Twin Ponds in the southern part of the state forest is unplowed in the winter.
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
- Twin Ponds parking and picnic area (42.120279°N, 78.632561°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.
How We Manage Windfall Creek State Forest
This forest has been managed for a variety of wildlife habitats and to provide some young forest habitat for the benefit of ruffed grouse and turkey. Management will continue with a focus on improving and expanding young forest habitat.
Conifer - The stands of pine, larch and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. These have been or will be converted to hardwoods by removal of the conifer over story and allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to maturity. Many former conifer stands exist on this unit as young hardwood stands along Thorpe Hollow Road. Some pine along the stream near Thorpe Hollow Road that are rooted in gravel soil will be retained as long as they are healthy and able to survive, as will some spruce on the other side of the road. This area was mostly hardwood and is that way today. The newest plantation is located near the Phearsorf Forest Road. It consists of strips of alternating larch and spruce.
Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. Thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps to 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, but in almost all cases they are not. These stands have been harvested prior to state ownership, or managed during state ownership to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to be regenerated to new stands. This is usually done by a thinning to promote regeneration of new seedlings followed by an overstory removal. Forest stands that are dominated by species that require direct sunlight for reproduction are managed in this way. Forest stands that contain oak species may require the use of fire or other types of disturbance to maintain this forest type.
Most timber on this property had been cut by a timber company before it was sold to New York State. Now, after a half century of DEC management, many mature stands exist and are ready to be harvested and regenerated. This would create forest stands in smaller size classes that are needed to balance the mix of forest stands on this unit.
New haul roads have been created to provide access for timber management. These have yellow gates and some may not be open to motor vehicles.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
State Lands and Facilities
Gas, food and other supplies, dining opportunities, and lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Allegany, Ellicottville, Olean and Salamanca.
Cattaraugus 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.