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Big Brook State Forest

Big Brook State Forest locator map

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Big Brook State Forest encompasses 3,879 acres of natural forests, plantations, streams and several wetlands, providing a varied recreational experience. The state forest is managed for water quality protection, recreation, wildlife habitat and timber production.

Featured Activities



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

There are approximately 14 miles of unpaved roads and snowmobile routes that traverse the property and may be used for hiking.


primitive camping

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

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.



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

Johnny Smith Pond and Maloney Pond provide excellent opportunities for people to use kayaks and canoes. There are no boat launches and access may be difficult on this unit so lightweight canoes or kayaks are recommended.



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

Four protected trout streams run through the property: Big Brook, Furnace Creek, Maloney Brook and Smith Brook. Brook trout and brown trout are the most commonly caught species. Johnny Smith Pond is the only pond on the unit that supports a warm water fishery.

North Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6K

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



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

Houlahan Road is a seasonal use road that runs through Big Brook and Swancott Hill State Forest and provides about 3.6 miles of snowmobile trail. County Line Road is also a seasonal use road that runs along the northern portion of Big Brook State Forest. This provides about 3.1 miles of snowmobile trail. On Big Brook State Forest there are about 2.6 miles of snowmobile trails located off of Houlahan Road. These trails also connect to the NYS Snowmobiling network of trails. T. C. Riders Snowmobile Club (leaves DEC website) maintains and grooms the snowmobile trails on this unit through a volunteer stewardship agreement.


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


From Camden on Taberg Street turn right on Wolcott Street (turns into Wolcott Hill Road). When you come to the four-way intersection, go straight on Empeyville Road. Make a right hand turn which to continue on Empeyville Road. Keep going straight on Empeyville Road (turns into Sheehan Road). Make a left on Hanifin Road in a couple hundred yards. If you keep going straight on Hanifin Road you will come to a four corners. Make a left turn on Houlahan Road. If you keep going straight on Houlahan Road the state forest is can be located on either side of the road.

  • Keefe Rd. Spur parking area (43.43636216°N, 75.6800272°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Johnny Smith Rd. parking area (43.43108819°N, 75.71063431°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 Big Brook 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

Mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and horseback riding are all permitted on the property; however, there are no currently maintained trails for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the 46-Corners Unit Management Plan (UMP). 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

All state forests are lands which have been certified as being managed using responsible forestry practices and having met the requirements for Green Certification according to the policies and principles of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®). In addition, management activities take place in accordance with the actions outlined in the Unit Management Plan.


The majority of the land that makes up Big Brook State Forest was acquired starting around 1930 and continuing through the 1960s. There were a few other pieces of land that were acquired in 1972, 1988, 1992 and 1995. Big Brook State Forest is comprised of Northern Hardwood forest, Northern Hardwood-Hemlock forest, plantations, wetlands and ponds. The dominant species in the northern hardwoods stands are sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, white ash, beech, aspen, elm, yellow birch and hemlock. The plantations were planted in the late 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s. Throughout those years they planted white pine, red pine, Scotch pine, jack pine, white spruce, Norway spruce, white cedar, Japanese larch, European larch, balsam fir and Douglass fir. They also planted black cherry and red oak. Today the plantations that remain are comprised of red pine, white pine, Scotch pine, jack pine, Norway spruce, white spruce, Japanese larch, and European larch.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, dining opportunities, lodging, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Camden and Rome.

Oneida County Tourism website (leaves DEC website) and the Adirondack Tug Hill Region website (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.