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Phillips Creek State Forest

hikinghuntingtrappinghorseback ridingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingprimitive campingpicnickingparkingicon key

Phillips Creek State Forest locator map

Phillips Creek State Forest totals 2,709 acres. This area provides opportunities for many informal outdoor recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, camping, bird watching, nature photography, and hunting.

The state forest is also a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers and provides for various habitats for many wildlife species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey.

In the 1930s, Phillips Creek State Forest was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC, established by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided employment opportunities for young men during the depression. CCC projects included the construction of roads and the planting of thousands of pine and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.

Featured Activities

a photo of a snow-covered foot bridge at Phillips Creek State Forest
Foot bridge over stream on Trail 4 of the Phillips Creek Trail
System for hikers and skiers with by-pass for horses.

Hiking

hiking

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

The Phillips Creek trail system has 10 miles of marked trails for hiking and other recreational activities.

Hunting and Trapping

huntingtrapping

Wildlife Management Unit: 9P and 9Y

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 on the property. Campers can set up in the Route 244 parking area and also at the log landings that have been graveled for vehicle access. Permanent tree stands and ATVs are prohibited. Be sure to abide by all game laws.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate. The West Almond Trail System is a series of loops and spurs, covering about 29 miles open to horses. These trails are multipurpose and also allow hikers and cross-country skiers to use the trail system. The trail system is closed to horses between October 1 and May 31 annually.

The main trailheads are located on Stewart Forest Road and State Route 244. The Stewart Forest Road location provides an accessible mounting platform and one accessible picnic pavilion with fire rings. There are four additional covered picnic tables with fire rings and tie stalls available. In the summer months there is an accessible port-a-potty, and a water pump available at this location. The State Route 244 trailhead has 1 covered picnic table with a fire ring and tie stalls available on a first come first serve basis.

Portions of this trail system are located on Turnpike, Phillips Creek, and Palmers Pond State Forests. A portion of the maintenance is done by the volunteers of the Allegany County Saddle Dusters under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement. For information on how to volunteer on the trails please call the Allegany County Forestry Office.

In addition to the Route 244 parking area and horse stall facility at Phillips Creek, the neighboring Turnpike State Forest has a horse stall facility on Stewart Forest Road which is a central hub for a 28-mile horse trail network. This network connects Phillips Creek, Turnpike and Palmer's Pond State Forest. Many additional miles of connecting state forest roads and lightly traveled town roads are also used by equestrians. Trails are only open for horses between June 1 and September 30.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

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

The Allegany County Federation of Snowmobilers (leaves DEC website) has marked trails which they maintain through this state forest. Snowmobiles are allowed throughout the state forest except on Trails 1 through 6 which run through Phillips Creek, Palmer's Pond State Forest and Turnpike State Forest.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing
snowshoeing

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

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on all hiking trails and throughout the property.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on primitive camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules and regulations. Please review the camp area rules before you visit for an overnight stay.

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.

Picnicking

picnicking

The Route 244 parking area has a covered picnic area.

Directions

From Interstate 86, take exit 32 (West Almond) and head west on Karr Valley Road for 0.4 miles. Turn left onto South Road and follow this road for 3.5 miles, then turn left onto Route 244. Continue for 1.4 miles. The parking area will be immediately on the left.

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum. Besides the parking area listed below, roadside parking is also available at points throughout the property.

  • Route 244 parking area, horse stall facility and picnic pavilion (42.252832°N, 77.86177°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

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 Phillips Creek 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.

Camp Area Guidelines

  1. No paddocks or temporary fencing allowed. Please tie horses in stalls provided, to horse trailers, or use "High-Tie" methods only.
  2. No damaging live trees, including tying horses directly to them.
  3. No loose horses or pets in the camp area. Keep dogs leashed.
  4. Clean up after all your animals.
  5. No littering. Use "carry in / carry out" principles.
  6. Scatter manure into the surrounding woods away from camp sites or take it with you upon departure.
  7. Camp sites are available on a first come, first served basis. A free camping permit is required for stays longer than 3 nights or for groups of ten or more people. For a permit, please contact the forest rangers at 585-415-1521 or 585-278-7777.
  8. Quiet time is 10pm-7am.
  9. There is no water, sewer, or electric hookups provided. Self-contained camping trailers only.
  10. Trails open June 1 - September 30th for equestrian users. All other approved uses are permitted year-round.

Planning and Management

DEC has developed a Draft Allegany Unit State Forests Unit Management Plan (UMP) 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 r9.ump@dec.ny.gov.

Timber Management

Conifer - The stands of pine and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. They are usually managed by a series of partial harvest thinnings. These thinnings provide openings of sunlight to encourage natural regeneration of native hardwoods. The removal of the conifer overstory in the final harvest allows the hardwood seedlings to grow to maturity.

Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and regenerate naturally. Periodic thinning of the forest through the sale of forest products gives the residual trees more growing space. This helps to keep the forest healthy and provides openings for new seedlings, a revolving supply of food and cover for wildlife, and a source of future crop trees. Some stands will contain large trees, giving an illusion of old growth, but in almost all cases these stands have been harvested prior to state ownership.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food and other supplies, dining opportunities, and lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Alfred Station and Angelica.

Allegany County Tourism (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.