Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Penn Mountain State Forest

hikingprimitive campingcanoeing or kayakingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingparkingIcon key

Penn Mountain State Forest locator map

The majority of the land that makes up the 3,725-acre Penn Mountain State Forest was acquired in the 1940s and 1950s. The rest of the land was acquired in the 1980s and 1990s. Early on, the area surrounding Penn Mountain was settled by Welsh immigrants. The Welsh called this area surrounding "Penymynydd", which means, "on top of the mountain." Penn Mountain State Forest was derived from this early name. The Welsh settlement slowly disappeared due to long, harsh winters and thin, unproductive soils. All that remains of the Welsh settlement is the small cemetery located on Penn Mountain Road (the cemetery is on private land surrounded by the state forest). The state land is used 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 no formal hiking trails on Penn Mountain State Forest. There are approximately 4.75 miles of unmarked old farm lanes and forest access trails that provide opportunity for people to get out and explore the state forest.


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.


canoeing or kayaking

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

Duck Pond provides a great opportunity for canoeing and/or kayaking. The parking area is a short distance from the pond and light weight canoes or kayaks may be launched from the shore.



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

Cincinnati Creek, a protected trout stream, runs through the northern end of this property. Many tributaries of Big Brook, all protected streams, traverse the central portions of this area. In the center of this forest is Duck Pond which is a manmade body of water and supports a healthy and diverse population of warm water fish species. Bass and pumpkin seeds are the most common species.

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 and 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.

There are 3.67 miles of unpaved roads that are unplowed and become major snowmobile trails in winter. The routes also connect with the NYS Snowmobile Trail network and continue off the property. The Penn Mountain Snow Riders (leaves DEC website) maintain and groom the snowmobile trails in the area 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 State Route 12 turn west onto East Steuben Road (about 5 miles north of Remsen). Continue straight at the four corners on to Penn Mountain Road. State Land starts about 0.04 mile west of the French Road, East Steuben Road intersection.

  • East Gate North Road unpaved parking area (43.38762°N, 75.516°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Duck Pond Road unpaved parking area (43.35904°N, 75.25091°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Starr Hill Vista north unpaved parking areas (43.34506°N, 75.25405°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Starr Hill Vista south unpaved parking areas (43.33992°N, 75.25142°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 responsible, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users. All users of Penn Mountain 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 Oneida Hills 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 any questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at


Penn Mountain State Forest is comprised of northern hardwoods, pioneer hardwoods and northern hardwood-hemlock forests. The dominant species are hard maples, black cherry, white ash, beech, aspen and hemlock. In addition to the hardwood stands, most of the open land was planted.

The plantations were established in the 1930s-1950s on lands that were cropland or pasture at one time. The main species were red pine, white pine, Scotch pine, Austrian pine (black pine), pitch pine, white spruce, Norway spruce, Japanese larch and European larch. Most of these species can still be seen today. At the south end of the Penn Mountain Road, approximately 40 acres are mowed each year to promote song bird habitat and to preserve the scenic vistas to the south and west.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities and Other Information

State Land and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

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

Oneida 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.