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Kettlebail State Forest

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Kettlebail State Forest locator map

Kettlebail State Forest encompasses 588 acres. This densely wooded forest provides a secluded area that is perfect for activities such as hunting, trapping, informal camping and hiking. Wildlife and plant life are encouraged to flourish within this managed forest.

Featured Activities



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

The forest has a 1-mile section of a hiking trail twisting through it. The trail connects with Labrador Hollow Unique Area and Morgan Hill State Forest, and also contains a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website).


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.

Aster in Kettlebail State Forest



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

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7M

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

Game species such as deer, grouse, squirrels and turkey are quite plentiful making this a good forest for hunting.



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

The forest has a 1.1-mile section of snowmobile trail that eventually connects to the trails on Morgan Hill State Forest.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing


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 permitted on all hiking trails.


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

Be sure to keep an eye out for the different songbirds that fly through the forest, as many species, both rare and common, have been observed in the area.


Kettlebail State Forest may be accessed by taking NY Route 80 to Truxton Road, then turning onto Kettlebail Road.

  • Kettlebail Road: (42.7758365°N, 76.0686866°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 Kettlebail 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 Hill and Hollow Unit Management Plan (PDF, 8MB). 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


Kettlebail State Forest was originally used as an extensive hunting ground by the Iroquois. The land was later cleared for farming by Revolutionary War Veterans and early European settlers. To the dismay of many farmers, the area's soils are thin, relatively steep and acidic, and the growing seasons are short with long, harsh winters. Intensive agricultural practices only led to damaged, undesirable and unproductive land that became too costly to manage. Eventually, many farmers abandoned their upland farm properties in pursuit of better farmland in the Midwest.

The State Reforestation Law of 1929 and the Hewitt Amendment of 1931 were created by the Roosevelt Administration as a means for the state to take over the responsibility of managing abandoned farms, making them productive once more. Kettlebail was purchased in parcels by the State of New York in the early 1930s to undergo reforestation efforts. Conservation Department (now DEC) foresters and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked diligently to re-establish the land as forest, and, with the planting of 1,468,631 conifer seedlings, their hard work was successful. Today, the landscape has been transformed into forest and now provides diverse ecological, economic, and recreational services to hundreds of people each year.

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 Tully and Cortland.

Cortland 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.