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Cole Hill State Forest

Cole Hill State Forest locator map

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The 815-acre Cole Hill State Forest is located less than an hour's drive away from the Capital Region. This state forest features a designated hiking trail as well as a multi-use trail, both of which provide opportunities to observe the wildlife of the Helderbergs. The state forest is managed for multiple uses, including timber production, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

Featured Activities



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

Approximately four miles of the Long Path (a 347-mile trail system running from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Altamont, New York) runs through the state forest.


primitive camping

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

There are no designated campsites; however, 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.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 4H

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. The main game species found within the property include rabbits, squirrels, turkeys, and grouse. The main furbearers found within the property include beaver, coyote, mink, red and gray fox, and raccoon.



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

There is a snowmobiling trail that traverses the property. The snowmobile trail is maintained by the Middleburgh Ridge Runners.


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

The state forest, along with Partridge Run WMA, Knox (Burke) WMA, and Cole Hill State Forest make up the 6,594-acre Helderberg Bird Conservation Area. The New York Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program was established in 1997 to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats on state lands and waters. The BCA Program integrates bird conservation interests into agency planning, management and research projects. The diverse cover types including hardwood and conifer (plantation) forests, young regenerating forests, old fields, shrublands, reverting farmland, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, and numerous ponds and wetlands. Some of the species of interest include American woodcock, ruffed grouse, brown thrasher, eastern towhee, prairie warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, Nashville warbler, blue-winged warbler, as well as a wide variety of forest warblers and songbirds, and winter finches. Woodland raptors include northern goshawk (special concern).

The Helderbergs are in the northeastern corner of the Central Appalachian ecozone. In addition to the notable game species and furbearers found within Cole Hill State Forest, whitetail deer, a variety of both songbirds and birds of prey frequent the property, as well as the occasional black bear.

Accessible Features

MAPPWD trails

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

Cole Hill State Forest features two access roads, Irish Hill Access Road and Cole Hill Access Road that allows motorized access for people with mobility impairments. The portion of the Long Path stretching between Irish Hill Road and Cole Hill Road is also available for motorized access with a permit, but only open seasonally. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities.


From Berne take NY-443 (Helderberg Trail Road) east for 2.7 miles. Turn right onto County Road 2 (Cole Hill Road) and proceed 1.2 miles.

  • Irish Hill Parking Area is located off of Irish Hill Road, which is off of Route 3. It is an unpaved parking lot that fits 5 vehicles. (42.596946°N, 74.110973°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Cole Hill Parking Area is located off of Cole Hill Road which is off of NYS Route 443. It is an unpaved parking lot that fits 2 vehicles. (42.594212°N, 74.09532°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Junction Parking Area 1 is located at the junction of Irish Hill Road and Route 3. It is an unpaved parking lot that fits 2 vehicles. (42.591998°N, 74.108091°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Junction Parking Area 2 is located at the junction of Cole Hill Road and Route 3. It is an unpaved parking lot that fits 2 vehicles. (42.598959°N, 74.097161°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 Cole Hill 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

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

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Helderbergs Management Area Unit Management Plan (PDF). 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

  • Lodging and dining opportunities as well as gas, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Altamont, Voorheesville and Slingerlands.

Albany 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.

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  • Contact for this Page
  • Region 4
    Division of Lands and Forests
    1130 N. Westcott Road
    Schenectady, NY 12306
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