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Henderson Shores Unique Area

Henderson Shores Unique Area

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This 1,160-acre reforestation area is classified as a "Unique Area" for good reason. The underlying limestone, sometimes right at the surface, provides an unusual habitat for a variety of very specialized plants. Another unique characteristic of the area is the "high banks," a series of limestone cliffs rising perpendicularly from the surface of Lake Ontario. Heavily sculptured by wave action, these banks are truly one of the most magnificent and scenic areas along the entire Lake Ontario shoreline.

Featured Activities



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

The 0.46-mile Wehle Walk trail is a foot trail that provides access to the adjacent Robert Wehle State Park's Snakefoot Trail. The 0.76-mile Radar Public Forest Access Road (PFAR), is an unpaved road that provides access through the property and down to the shore of Lake Ontario. The foundation remains of an old radar tower can be found off Radar Road.



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

There are no official launch sites for this property; however, it is only a short carry from the end of Radar Road down to the shore, where boats may be hand launched. The shoreline may be rough terrain, so lightweight boats are recommended.



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

There are no official fishing sites on the property, however, fishing is allowed from the shoreline.

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: 6G

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

Other, more common wildlife found here include white-tailed deer, cotton-tailed rabbits and waterfowl.


Map of Henderson Shores

From Watertown, take Interstate 81 south to exit 41. Make a right onto Route 178 west for 11 miles (you will cross state Route 3), to a left on Lighthouse Road, proceed 2.5 miles. The unique area is on both sides of the road.

  • Wehle Walk Trail parking area (43.8505745°N, 76.2806778°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Radar Road parking area, there is another parking area closer to the water on Radar Road (43.8462296°N, 76.2652588°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 Henderson Shores Unique Area 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

Please note On February 20, 2013, new regulations for this area were adopted; please be familiar with the 190.10 (f) regulations (link leaves DEC website) before you visit.

  • All camping is prohibited.
  • The area is closed to public use between the hours of 10:00 pm and 5:00 am.
  • All campfires are prohibited.
  • No glass containers allowed.

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

Planning and Management

This area is managed by the Ontario Plains Unit Management Plan (PDF) which 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, lodging, dining opportunities, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Henderson Harbor, Henderson, Ellisburg and Adams Center.

Jefferson 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.