Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Golden Hill State Forest

Golden Hill State Forest locator map

hikinghuntingtrappingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingbikingprimitive campinghorseback ridingparkingicon key

NOTICE: Firelane Forest Road is temporarily closed to the public. The road will reopen when maintenance is completed to allow safe motor vehicle traffic. (May 2022)

The 2,283-acre Golden Hill State Forest is a popular destination for hunting, hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing.

In the 1930s, this unit was the site of many work projects carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps or 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, larch and spruce trees in the open areas on the property.

Featured Activities


Bike trail through woods

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

A series of multiple use/mountain bike trails cover this unit and multiple trail heads exist. These can all be used for hiking.

Hunting and Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 9T

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 Golden Hill State Forest. Forest roads and town roads provide good access to different parts of the unit. Forest management has provided a variety of habitats to hunt and trap in. Please abide by all game laws.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

cross-country skiing

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

All multiple use trails may be used for skiing and snowshoeing.



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

The multiple use trails on this unit are used mainly for mountain biking but most of these trails require a high level of skill. They are a great ride if you are an expert rider and a great hike if you are not. Most are somewhat less difficult than the trails at the nearby Rock City State Forest. The Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (leaves DEC website) has adopted these trails.


primitive camping

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

campsite marker

There are four designated camp sites on the property: one on Putnam Road, one at the intersection of Golden Hill Road and Fire Lane Road, one on the intersection of Chapman Road and Fire Lane Road, and one on Chapman Road. All are designated with a yellow campsite marker (see picture at right).

Primitive camping is also allowed throughout the property. 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.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

There are no horse trails on this unit but forest roads may be used for horseback riding.

Coordinators of organized trail events need to obtain a Temporary Revocable Permit for use of the trails prior to the event. These can be obtained at the Allegany DEC Office at the number listed above.


From Salamanca take Route 219 north to Great Valley. At the intersection where Route 219 veers to the left, continue straight onto Route 98. After 5 miles, turn right onto Golden Hill Road to enter the state forest.

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

  • Golden Hill Road Parking Area (42.244516°N, 78.53558°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Chapman Forest Road Parking Area #1 (42.256761°N, 78.524072°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Chapman Forest Road Parking Area #2 (42.255673°N, 78.524034°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Chapman Forest Road Parking Area #3 (42.252806°N, 78.523983°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 Golden 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.

Planning and Management

DEC has developed a Draft Cattaraugus 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.

State Forests are managed for multiple uses. They provide a source of raw material for New York's forest products industry which provides employment and income for many New Yorkers. They are managed for wildlife by the creation and maintenance of various habitats for species such as deer, rabbit, grouse and turkey. They are also managed to provide recreational opportunities and watershed protection.

Timber Management

Conifer - The stands of pine, larch and spruce were planted in old farm fields as they need open areas with direct sunlight to thrive. These have been or will be converted to hardwoods by removing the conifer overstory and allowing the hardwood seedlings that usually exist in these stands to grow to maturity. Many former conifer stands exist on this unit as young hardwood stands.

Hardwood - Hardwood trees are not usually planted as they spread vast amounts of seed and naturally regenerate. 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 they are not. These stands have been harvested prior to state ownership or managed during state ownership to favor large trees. Many other stands are mature and ready to be regenerated to new stands. This is usually done by a thinning to promote regeneration of new seedlings, followed by an overstory removal. Forest stands that are dominated by species that require direct sunlight for reproduction are managed in this way. Forest stands that contain oak species may require the use of fire or other types of disturbance to maintain this forest type.

Young hardwood stands that have been created by clear cutting the former pine plantations are now approaching the stage where they may require some silvicultural work to release future crop trees.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, dining opportunities and food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville, Franklinville and Salamanca.
  • Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Ellicottville and Salamanca.

Cattaraugus County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guide books 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.