Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Sonyea State Forest

Sonyea State Forest locator map

primitive campinghikingfishinghuntingtrappingparkingicon key

The 922-acre Sonyea State Forest offers a rustic experience with a limited amount of development. This forest shares a common boundary with Groveland Correctional Facility. As regulations differ between these areas, users should remain aware of which unit they are on.

Today, Sonyea 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 will ensure a perpetual supply of timber, a diversity of wildlife habitats, compatible recreational opportunities and clean water.

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. There are three designated campsites along the Shaker Access Road/DEC Public Forest Access Road and two along the Keshequa Creek. These are primitive camping sites, some have a fire ring and a semi-flat spot to set up on, but not all of them do.

Note: Like most state lands, this is a carry in-carry out facility. Be sure to take your garbage with you when you leave.



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

The Genesee Valley Greenway State Park (GVG) (leaves DEC website) passes through Sonyea State Forest, following the remains of the Genesee Canal and of a major branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The original path of the canal/railroad was along the banks of the Keshequa Creek, and portions are still there and usable, however large sections have washed away downstream. As a result of this damage the official path through Sonyea State Forest has been moved to along the town and Shaker Access Road/DEC Public Forest Access Roads at the top of the hill. The original location of the railroad grade is still open for public use, at least what is left of it is, and it is popular to walk past the gate and down about 0.3 mile into the Keshequa Gorge and along about a mile of what is left of the railroad grade along the creek bank. Two short spur trails lead down to the water's edge, one to a waterfall and the other to Toadfest Point. Both areas are used for camping and picnicking.



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

The Keshequa Creek Gorge occurs along the western boundary of this state forest, and the eastern portion includes the headwaters of Two Mile Creek.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 8M

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

Hunting and trapping are allowed during appropriate seasons.


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

Green covered cliff.
Cliff face in Keshequa Creek Gorge.

New York's Finger Lakes region 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 reside in the Finger Lakes of New York. 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. Visitors from across New York State flock to this area year round for its exquisite wildlife watching and unbeatable hunting.


To gain access to this forest from I 390, exit 6, head south on State Route 36, then south (right) onto County Route 72, then north (right) onto Union Corners Road, which ends in the State Forest.

  • Union Corners Road: (42.657131°N, 77.841382°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 Sonyea 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

Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed within the property but there are no designated trails or maintained areas for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC has developed the Livingston Unit Management Plan (PDF) which describes the proposed management activities for these lands. 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

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Nunda, Geneseo, Dansville and Mt. Morris.
  • Dining and lodging opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Hornell, Geneseo, Dansville, and Mt. Morris.

Livingston County Tourism Inc. (leaves DEC website) and Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (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.