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Bare Hill Unique Area

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Location map

On the 393-acre Bare Hill Unique Area there is an annual Labor Day ceremonial lighting of a bonfire to start the "Ring of Fire" or "The Festival of Lights" in which landowners around the perimeter of Canandaigua Lake light fires in celebration of peace and bountiful harvests.

It has two separate parcels, the southern one covers approximately 298 acres in the town of Middlesex in Yates County and the northern one covers approximately 95 acres in the town of Gorham in Ontario County.

Featured Activities



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

Bare Hill Unique Area has no designated recreation trails, however the two administrative access roads are available for non-motorized exploring.


Primitive Camping

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

There are no designated campsites, however at-large backcountry 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.

Hunting & Trapping


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

Bare Hill Unique Area is open to hunting and trapping during appropriate seasons.

View from Bare Hill
View from Bare Hill

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

General information on cross-county skiing & snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

Bare Hill Unique Area is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. There are no designated or maintained cross-country ski trails. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Wildlife Viewing

Although there are no facilities developed for viewing wildlife, like many places in the Finger Lakes you are likely to see wildlife on this land. New York's Finger Lakes encompasses a wide variety of habitats and landscapes made up of mountainous hills, forests, grasslands and wetlands. Everything from black bear to black-throated blue warblers and brook trout to wild turkey call the Finger Lakes area home. The grasslands are home to a variety of bird species including northern harrier and state endangered Henslow's sparrow. White-tailed deer and fisher thrive in the forested hills, while beaver and mink flourish in the wetlands. Outdoorsmen and women from across New York State flock to this area year round for its exquisite wildlife watching and unbeatable hunting.


Bare Hill Unique Area features 1 parking area with space for 3 vehicles.

Van Epps Road Parking Lot is located on Van Epps Road, 0.3 miles west of its intersection with Bare Hill Road. (42.746725°N, 77.3026°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

From Naples, take 245 north to Middlesex. Turn left onto north 364, then left onto County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd. Right onto Bare Hill Rd. and left onto Van Epps Rd. To reach the northern parcel, continue on County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd to County Route 39/East Lake Rd. That turns into County Route 11 at the County Line.

From Canandaigua, take 364 south to a right onto County Route 10/North Vine Valley Rd. Right onto Bare Hill Rd and left onto Van Epps Rd. To reach the northern parcel, take 364 south to County Route 11/East Lake Rd.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

All users of Bare Hill Unique Area 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.

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.

Site specific rules for Bare Hill Unique Area:
  • No searching for historical or archeological artifacts.
  • Be extremely careful with fire - grass burns very easily and quickly

How We Manage Bare Hill Unique Area

Today, Bare Hill Unique Area and all state forests in New York are managed for multiple benefits to serve the needs of the people of New York. Sustainable management practices ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the 2002 Bare Hill Unit Management Plan (PDF)

Map of Northern Finger Lakes UMP Location
Map of Northern Finger Lakes UMP Location Map

In early 2015 the Department started the development process of a new Unit Management Plan by combining Bare Hill Unique Area with eight other properties to create the Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan.

Properties in the Northern Finger Lakes UMP are located in five counties--Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca and Yates. They include:

Draft Northern Finger Lakes Unit Management Plan

You are encouraged to review the draft UMP and provide comments on the proposed plan until September 18, 2017. In addition to any comments received at the meetings, written comments may be emailed or mailed to NYSDEC, 7291 Coon Rd. Bath, NY 14810.

Nearby Areas, Amenities, Attractions and Other Information

DEC Lands and Facilities

The nearest hamlets are Vine Valley and Middlesex, the nearest villages are Naples and Penn Yan, the nearest city is Canandaigua, NY.

Yates County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website), Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (leaves DEC website) and Ontario County Finger Lakes Visitors Connection (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books 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.