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Baker School House State Forest

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Baker School House State Forest locator map

Baker School House State Forest encompasses 1,277 acres. Its primitive nature makes it ideal for activities such as hiking, hunting, trapping, bird watching, nature observation, and informal camping. The Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website) winds through the central portion of the forest.

Featured Activities



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

Baker School House State Forest has a two-mile section of the Finger Lakes Trail System running through it. A 1.8-mile Public Forest Access Road provides an easy avenue of approach into the northern section of the forest. There are currently no other designated trails within the forest, but hiking is permitted anywhere unless marked otherwise.


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

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

Wooded area in Baker School House State Forest

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7M

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

The forest's wild and rustic character provides excellent hunting and trapping opportunities.

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.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.


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

With its wide variety of cover types, including northern hardwood, European and Japanese larch, Norway spruce, red pine and white cedar, Baker School House State Forest provides many different habitats for a collection of wildlife. It is a great place to see wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and a variety of song birds.


Baker School House State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 41 to Baker School House Road, the public forest access road that runs diagonally through the forest. Parking is limited, but available from the shoulder of the road.

  • Parking: (42.57451°N, 76.01477°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 Baker School House 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.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Taylor Valley 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


Most of the land that is now called Baker School House State Forest was originally used for agricultural practices in the 1800s. However, the upland soils of the Allegheny Plateau are thin, relatively steep, and acidic. As such, the ground is not fit for intensive farming. When combined with harsh winters and a short growing season, it is easy to understand why farmers abandoned these lands in pursuit of greener pastures in the Midwest. Therefore, the land was sold to the state in the 1930s to undergo reforestation. Today, DEC foresters manage the forest to provide diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for all New Yorkers and visitors.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby community of Cortland.

Cortland County Tourism Information (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.