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Balsam Creek State Forest

Balsam Creek State Forest locator map

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This 559-acre state forest, located in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, is bisected by the 150 foot deep Balsam Creek valley. Balsam Creek and its tributary to the north, Cold Creek, are well known spring-fed trout streams.

Featured Activities



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

The 1.53-mile Briar Hill Public Forest Access Road (PFAR) is unpaved and used as a multi-use trail that crosses the property from the southwest corner to the northeast corner. This road is not plowed in the winter to provide opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.


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.

Balsam Creek is a well-known spring-fed trout stream. Access to Balsam Creek is off of Briar Hill public forest access road (PFAR).

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 6J

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.


General location map of Balsam Creek

From Croghan, take Belfort Road (Lewis County Route 10) to Belfort turn right onto Long Pond Road. Drive 2 miles then take Fish Creek Road and proceed 1 mile.

There are 3 parking areas on this property. All 3 are located on the unpaved Briar Hill Road, accessed from Fish Creek Road, which runs along the entire southern boundary of the state forest.

  • South Briar Hill Parking Lot (43.93779924°N, 75.28012788°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 Balsam Creek 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, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are allowed on the property; however, there are no trails on this property currently maintained for these activities.

Planning and Management

DEC has developed a Westward Waters Unit Management Plan which describes the proposed management activities for this 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.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email us at

In the 1930s the Conservation Department planted pine trees in the open fields near Fish Creek Road. Today these trees have grown to mature plantations of white pine, red pine and Norway spruce sawtimber. DEC forestry staff regularly conduct carefully controlled timber sales on this forest, maintaining a vigorous forest while at the same time providing the forest industry with critical raw materials. The hardwood forests on the property abound with valuable high quality hard maple and black cherry sawtimber and veneer.

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 Carthage, Croghan, Harrisville, and Lowville
  • Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Harrisville, Lowville, and Watertown.

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.