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Charleston State Forest

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Charleston State Forest locator map

The 4,026-acre Charleston State Forest features more than 22 miles of cross-country ski trails in the winter. The property also contains 11 wildlife marshes, providing premium waterfowl viewing opportunities.

Featured Activities



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

There are 22.8 miles of cross-country ski and snowmobile trails on the property that may also be used for hiking. Many of the trails become exceedingly swampy in the warmer months and may not be traversable.


primitive camping

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

Primitive camping is allowed at this state forest. 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: 4A

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 on Charleston State Forest during appropriate seasons.

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.

Charleston State Forest features 22.8 miles of marked cross-county ski trails throughout the property. Many of the trails create loops over moderate to rolling terrain with long and gradual climbs and descents.



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

There are 4.7 miles of designated snowmobile trails. These snowmobile trails are maintained by the Frontier Sno Riders (leaves DEC website) through a volunteer stewardship agreement and connect to a larger network of trails.


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

The Charleston State Forest contains 11 wildlife marshes that were constructed in the 1950s under Federal Aid to Wildlife programs. The intention of these marshes was to provide habitat for wildlife, particularly waterfowl.


  • Hughes Road Parking (42.853061°N, 74.318051°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Gordon Road Parking (42.807321°N, 74.318781°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Unpaved Parking Lot (off Burtonville Rd.) (42.836573°N, 74.33489°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Waite Drive Parking (42.821351°N, 74.335664°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Gidley Road Parking Lot (42.80246°N, 74.304453°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 Charleston 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

  • It is illegal to ride a horse on designated cross country ski trails or snowmobile trails when they are covered with ice or snow.
  • It is also illegal to ride a snowmobile on a designated cross country ski trail unless the trail is also a designated snowmobile trail.
  • Mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within 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 Charleston Unit Management Plan. 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 [email protected].

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Amsterdam, Esperance, Fultonville and Sloansville.
  • Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Amsterdam and Esperance.
  • Lodging and dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Amsterdam and Fultonville.

Montgomery County Tourism Office (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.