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Donahue Woods State Forest

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Donahue Woods State Forest locator map

Donahue Woods State Forest encompasses 1,165 acres in northeastern Cortland County. Rustic and rugged, it's great for recreational activities such as hunting, birdwatching, nature viewing, informal hiking and snowmobiling. A 2-mile Public Forest Access Road provides recreational access through the middle of the forest.

Featured Activities


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

Bell Public Forest Access Road offers two miles of passage through the forest, and hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.


primitive camping

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

There are no formal hiking trails on this property but hiking is allowed anywhere unless posted otherwise, including the 2-mile Public Forest Access Road.



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

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

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.



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

There are four miles of designated snowmobile trails within the forest. These trails are part of corridor trail 5 and 5G and secondary trail 58C as designated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (leaves DEC website).


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


Donahue Woods State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 13 toward Truxton, NY, and turning onto Youngs Crossing. Head south on Youngs Crossing about 0.2 miles to East River Road. Turn left onto East River Road and travel northeast about 2 miles to Maybury Road. Head south on Maybury Road about 2 miles to Bell Road. Head east on Bell Road about 1.5 miles to the Donahue Woods Public Forest Access Road which runs the entire length of the forest in a north-south direction.

Parking is available, but limited, from the shoulder of the road.

  • Bell Road (42.6605501°N, 76.0309542°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 Donahue Woods 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


Under Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law, DEC has been given the authority to manage lands acquired outside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Management, as defined by these laws, includes watershed protection, the production of timber and other forest products, recreation and kindred purposes.

Donahue Woods was acquired by the state during the 1930s as part of the Roosevelt Administration's plan to counteract the effects of the Great Depression. The land had originally been used for agricultural purposes, which proved unsuccessful due to the poor quality of the soil and short growing seasons. The State Reforestation Act and the Hewitt Amendment, and later the Environmental Bond Act, provided a means for abandoned farm land to once again become productive under the management of DEC. Today, Donahue Woods State Forest provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for many residents and visitors of Central New York.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Amenities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

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

Cortland 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.