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Cold Spring Brook State Forest

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Cold Spring Brook State Forest locator map

Cold Spring Brook State Forest covers 1,068 acres. The topography is very hilly with thin soils and rocky exposed ridge tops. 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, 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.

Featured Activities



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

There are several access trails and roads located throughout the forest that are open for hiking, cross country skiing, and mountain biking.

The Big Pine Trail (0.8 mile) provides a picturesque loop through a stand of large diameter white pine. The Hill and Dale Access Trail (0.4 mile) provides a difficult but possible hiking route from the Kansas Road to an isolated parcel of state forest land. Users should be careful to stay on the red marked hiking trail. Please respect adjacent private property.


primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to regulations.

There are no designated campsites in the forest. 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.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6C

General information on hunting and general information on trapping. Includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed in accordance with all State laws and regulations.



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

There are numerous creeks and streams for fishing on the forest.

Mountain Biking

mountain biking

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

All trails on Cold Spring Brook State Forest are open to mountain biking. No trails are specifically maintained for mountain biking.

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 and regulations.

All trails on Cold Spring Brook are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. No trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.

A Frozen pond
A frozen pond in Cold Spring Brook State Forest


The wildlife that may be present in Cold Spring Brook State Forest includes deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, mink, raccoon, black bear, fox, and migratory songbirds. Smooth green snake, eastern garter snake, wood turtle and painted turtle may also be present.


This forest can be accessed from the Kansas Road, the Cold Spring Brook Public Forest Access Road and St. Lawrence County Route 23 in the town of Pitcairn.

  • Big Pine Trail trailhead (44.240404°N, 75.230964°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Hill and Dale Access trailhead (44.217366°N, 75.270141°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (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.

All users of Cold Spring Brook State Forest must follow all State Forest Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of users and protection of the resource.

Don't Move Firewood: the insects it carries could kill the forests you love.

Planning and Management

DEC developed the draft St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Unit Management Plan that describes proposed management activities for this and several other state forests in the area. DEC accepted public comments on the draft until April 30, 2022. Questions about this draft UMP may be sent to


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 locally as the 1995 Microburst. The storm affected a wide area stretching from Lake Ontario across northern New York State to the central portion of the Adirondack Park. Winds gusted as high as 100 miles per hour. Damage ranged from broken tree limbs and tops to areas of 10 or more acres that were entirely blown down. For more information, please visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheic Adminstration website (leaves DEC website).

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 State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilites

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas can be found in the nearby communities of Harrisville, Edwards, Philadelphia and Star Lake.
  • Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Harrisville, Gouverneur and Edwards.
  • Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Harrisville, Natural Bridge and Oswegatchie.
  • Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Natural Bridge, Carthage and Gouverneur.

St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) and the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks and map are available with information on the lands, water, 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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