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Birdseye Hollow State Forest

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Birdseye Hollow State Forest locator map

Birdseye Hollow State Forest is a 3,446-acre state forest featuring Sanford Lake, Birdseye Hollow Park day use area, and the Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour.

Featured Activities


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

Birdseye Hollow State Forest features a hiking trail and a multiple-use trail. Located on the area is a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (foot traffic only), a 558-mile trail that extends from Allegany State Park in southwestern New York to the Catskill Forest Preserve in eastern New York. Maintenance has been continued by volunteers of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (leaves DEC website) under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement. In 1992, it was designated as a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (leaves DEC website), a 3,200-mile trail which extends from New York to North Dakota.

The multiple-use trail connects Round Lake Road to Sanford Lake.

Day Use/Picnic

Sanford Lake on Birdseye Hollow
Sanford Lake on Birdseye Hollow
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Sanford Lake Day Use Area - located next to Sanford Lake, features a picnic area with picnic tables, gravel boat ramp, a canoe/kayak launch and a floating dock. Portable toilets are provided Memorial Day to Labor Day. No trash pickup is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility.

Birdseye Hollow Park - located next to Birdseye Hollow Pond, is owned and managed by Steuben County, Department of Public Works (leaves DEC website). It features a paved parking area, paved path to a picnic pavilion, several fixed charcoal grills and picnic tables, playground, benches, a floating fishing pier, and portable toilets (Memorial Day to Labor Day). No trash pick-up is provided. Like most state lands, this is a carry in-carry out facility.

Forest Stewardship Demonstration Auto Tour

The self-guided Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour on Birdseye Hollow and Moss Hill State Forests has eight roadside stops which show different stages of forest growth; from young seedling/sapling stands less than ten years old, to mature forests approaching 100 years of age. It is designed to show how forests change over time. It also demonstrates how forest management helps to maintain ecological diversity which provides a variety of benefits.


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General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules and regulations.

Birdseye Hollow State Forest provides fishing opportunities on Mud Creek, Sanford Lake (18 acres), Van Keuren Lake (6.5 acres), Round Lake (12.8 acres), and Birdseye Hollow Pond. These waters provide anglers with limited to moderate fishing opportunities for bass, sunfish, pickerel, and bullheads.

Birdseye Hollow Pond features a floating fishing pier and Sanford Lake features a breakwall.

Hunting & Trapping

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Wildlife Management Unit: 8W

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

Birdseye Hollow State Forest offers both small and big game hunting opportunities. White-tailed deer is the primary big game species. Small game include wild turkey, ruffed grouse, pheasant, woodcock, squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and waterfowl. Permanent tree stands and any equipment that damages trees are prohibited.

Furbearer trapping opportunities exist mainly near the forest's watercourses. Target species include mink, muskrat, raccoon, and beaver. Additionally, limited opportunities also exist for trapping fox and coyote in the unit.

Traps may not be set on public road right of ways. Body gripping traps set on land must be at least 100 feet from public trails. Permanent tree stands are prohibited. However, a temporary tree stand or blind is allowed, provided that it does not injure any trees, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season, but no more than thirty days in one location per calendar year.


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

The camping opportunities at Birdseye Hollow State Forest include seven primitive campsites located on Sanford Lake. Campsites are delineated and include tables and fire rings. Portable toilets are provided during the summer recreation season. There is no potable water source. No trash pickup is provided. This is a carry in-carry out facility. Due to high demand for these campsites during the summer recreation season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), a permit is required from the Bath DEC office during regular business hours. Permits are not available on-site.

At large primitive camping is also 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.


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

Sanford Lake and Birdseye Hollow Pond offer boating and paddling opportunities - canoes/kayaks or boats with electric motors only.

Sanford Lake features a small gravel boat launch, a kayak/canoe launch and a floating dock adjacent to the campground. On Birdseye Hollow Pond, boats can be launched from shore.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

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

All trails at Birdseye Hollow State Forest are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. However, Birdseye Hollow State Forest does not have any groomed cross-country ski trails.


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

Snowmobiles are only permitted on designated trails. The major snowmobile corridor trail, Kris's Trail, crosses Birdseye Hollow and the adjacent Moss Hill State Forest. It was constructed and is maintained by the Sno-flakes Snowmobile Club (leaves DEC website) under the Volunteer Stewardship Agreement Program.

Mountain Biking


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

Mountain biking is allowed on town and county roads and on the multiple use trail (please see map above).


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

New York's southern tier 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 southern tier 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.

Accessible Features

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View of floating fishing pier on Birdseye Hollow Pond.
Birdseye Hollow Pond and fishing pier

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

At Birdseye Hollow Park there is an accessible path to the water's edge and a floating fish pier.

Sanford Lake has a paved accessible path from the parking lot, past one accessible picnic location, down to the accessible breakwall along the shoreline. The boat launch has a paved accessible path to the floating canoe/kayak launch. An accessible seasonal port-a-john is also provided in the summer months.

The Forest Stewardship Demonstration Tour has eight roadside stops show how forests grow from young seedling/sapling stands to mature sawtimber forests about 100 years old. You'll observe firsthand how forest management helps make these forests valuable for people and wildlife alike. Visit the Forest Stewardship Auto Tour page for additional information.


  • Birdseye Hollow Park Parking Lot is located off Birdseye Hollow Road, County Route 96. 42.370349°N, 77.148299°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sanford Boat Launch Parking Lot is located at the end of Sanford Lake Road on the left. 42.330009°N, 77.179962°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sanford Picnic Area Parking Lot is located at the end of Sanford Lake Road on the right. 42.329289°N, 77.178624°W, Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations, and Outdoors 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 Birdseye Hollow State Forest must follow all State Forest Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Specific Rules

  1. Protect our forests by following the NYS Firewood Regulation.
  2. Prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. They may ruin the waters you love.
  3. Sanford Lake designated campsites require a permit from the Bath DEC Office during the summer recreation season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
  4. Camping is not allowed in the Birdseye Hollow Park area.
  5. Use of the waters by powered watercraft is limited to watercraft powered by electric trolling motors.
  6. Horseback riding is permitted on the multiple-use trails.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Keuka Lowlands Unit Management Plan (PDF). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural & 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 as well as dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Bath, Corning and Painted Post.

Stueben County Conference and Visitors Bureau (leaves DEC website) and the 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.