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Exeter State Forest

Exeter State Forest locator map

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The 1,957-acre Exeter State Forest is located halfway between Schenectady and Syracuse and about 30 miles south of Utica by car. It is a 14 mile drive from Cooperstown, NY and a 34 mile drive from Oneonta, NY. It is one of five state forests in the Leatherstocking Management Unit, named for James Fenimore Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales," two of which take place on or near Otsego Lake.

There are no formal trails, but hiking, running and snowshoeing are allowed anywhere on the property.

Featured Activities


primitive camping

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

There are no designated campsites; however, 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: 4F

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons. The main game species and fur bearers found on the property include deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes.



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

Exeter State Forest features two sections of snowmobile trails. These trails are maintained by Exeter Trail Blazers.


General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.

Otsego County lies on the eastern end of the Central Appalachian ecozone which hosts a variety of wildlife. Game species, furbearers, a variety of songbirds, and birds of prey species can be found within the property.


  • Exeter State Forest does not have any designated parking lots. Road side parking is available. Access the state forest from County Route 23 (42.813206°N, 75.084560°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) 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 Exeter 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.

Specific Rules

Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed on the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Leatherstocking Unit Management Plan (PDF). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Lodging and dining opportunities may be found in the nearby communities of Richfield Springs and West Windfield.
  • Gas, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Richfield Springs, Schuyler Lake and West Windfield.

Cooperstown and Otsego County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks 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.