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Michigan Hill State Forest

primtiive campingcanoe or kayakinghand launchfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingparkingicon key

Michigan Hill State Forest locator map

Michigan Hill State Forest encompasses 1,180 acres of land. There are no formal trails, but hiking is allowed anywhere on the property unless posted otherwise.

Featured Activities


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.


hand launch
canoe or kayaking

General information on boating includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

View of East Branch of Owego Creek



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

A fishing access site is located off of State Highway 38. This access site provides anglers the opportunity to fish the East Branch of Owego Creek, a popular trout fishery that is stocked annually with over 3,000 brown trout. Fishing information for Central NY is available.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7R

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

There are approximately 47 acres of maintained pheasant habitat on Michigan Hill State Forest. Pheasants are released annually.



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

There is a 0.5 mile of snowmobile trails that pass through Michigan Hill State Forest's boundaries.


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

Mammals such as the red fox, gray fox, white tailed deer, eastern cottontail, woodland vole, eastern chipmunk, woodchuck, southern bog lemming and the meadow jumping mouse can all be found within the early forest habitat. There are also 24 species of reptiles and amphibians confirmed or predicted in the area, including the red back salamander, pickerel frog and the painted turtle.

Early successional seedling/sapling sized forest provides critical habitat for a suite of birds that require young, dense vegetation for breeding, nesting, and foraging. The list of birds that inhabit the forest include: the ruffed grouse, American woodcock, white-throated sparrow, American goldfinch, Rufous-sided towhee, chestnut sided warbler, yellow warbler, blue-winged warbler, white-eyed vireo, alder flycatcher, willow flycatcher, least flycatcher, hermit thrush, brown thrasher, Indigo bunting, gray catbird and, of course, the wild turkey. Approximately 47 acres are maintained as grassland and pheasants are released annually.


To get to Michigan Hill State Forest take NY Route 38 between Harford and Richford. There is a fishing access site on the east side of the highway. The eastern side of the forest is also accessible by taking NY Route 200 east from NY Route 38. Travel about 0.5 mile and then turn right onto Michigan Hill Road; the forest is on the right/west side. Parking is limited but available off of the shoulder.

  • Michigan Hill Road (42.3978025°N, 76.1721877°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Fishing Access Parking (42.394865°N, 76.192146°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 Michigan Hill 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 Rockefeller 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


Looking up at a pine tree stand in Michigan Hill State Forest

Michigan Hill State Forest is a great place to experience the look and feel of an undeveloped managed forest. The landscape of the area is a dense mosaic of different cover types, including oak, red pine, and spruce. However, the ice storm that hit the area in 2003 also created early successional habitat for plants and animals to flourish.

Of special interest, John D. Rockefeller, of the former Standard Oil Company, was born in the town of Richford. The foundation of his childhood home is located adjacent to Rockefeller Road on land that is now part of Michigan State Forest, and is marked by a sign which designates the historical site.

Michigan Hill State Forest, like many of New York's state forests, was once cleared and farmed by European settlers and Revolutionary War Veterans. Unfortunately, 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 more fertile property in the Midwest.

Under Article 9, Titles 5 and 7, of the Environmental Conservation Law, DEC has been given authorization 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. To reduce soil erosion, protect water quality, provide forest products and recreational opportunities, the State of New York started acquiring many of these abandoned properties during the 1930s and planted significant numbers of trees on the land returning them to forest. Today, the land has been transformed to forest which provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services for New York residents 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 communities of Dryden, Ithaca, Richford, and Whitney Point.

Tioga 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.