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Sears Pond State Forest

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Sears Pond State Forest locator map

This 5,648-acre state forest is named for a former large sawmill impoundment on the East Branch of the Deer River. The wooden dam that held back millions of gallons of water has long since disappeared, leaving only remnants of a once locally important dam structure and water body. Sections of both the Deer River and the Mad River arise from the rolling expanse of this forest. Trees on much of this forest mimic the poor soils supporting them. With the exception of some old fields that were planted to softwoods, the remainder of the area is fairly equally split between natural hardwoods, brush land, and ecologically important wetlands.

Featured Activities



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

There are 3 multi-use trails, Salmon River Road Trail, Tom Sawyer Trail and Aden Trail, on the property totaling 3.85 miles.


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.



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

Deer River and Mad River offer ideal opportunities for brook trout fishing. For Public Fishing Rights (PFR) on Mad River, visit DECinfo Locator- Interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map (DECinfo Locator is best viewed on a desktop computer. Users are encouraged to visit the Trout Stream Fishing Map User Guide first for "how to" instructions on using the fishing map).

North Central NY Fishing provides information on fishing in the area and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6N

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



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

The Salmon River Road Trail offers 1.63 miles of riding. Tom Sawyer Trail is a 1.94-mile route that connects with the NYS Snowmobile Trail network and runs across the property. The area's snowmobile trails are maintained by the Barnes Corners Sno-Pals (leaves DEC website).


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

Accessible Features

motoroized access program for people with disabilities

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

Aden Trail is a short 0.28-mile trail in the northern portion of the forest that allows motorized access for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities.


Map of Sears Pond State Forest

From Lowville, take State Route 12 north 2.8 miles to State Route 177, then continue on State Route 177 for 7 miles to Bellwood. Turn left on Sears Pond Road. Go 6.1 miles to Salmon River Road turn left and proceed 2 miles.

  • Culpepper Road unpaved parking lot (43.71628134°N, 75.7250738°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Sears Pond unpaved parking area (43.74027°N,75.71398°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 Sears Pond 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

Mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Tug Hill North Unit Management Plan (PDF, 7.9MB). 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

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Barnes Corners and Lowville.
  • Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of West Lowville and Lowville.

Adirondacks Tug Hill (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.