Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Ludlow Creek State Forest

hikingcamping with a lean toprimitive campingmountain bikingfishinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingcross country skiingsnowshoeinghorseback ridingparking icon key

Ludlow Creek State Forest locator map

This 3,197-acre forest is located at the midpoint of a triangle formed by the villages of Oxford, Smithville Flats, and McDonough. State Route 220 and County Route 3 form a loop between these villages and around the forest. The forest is named after the outlet creek of Lake Ludlow which runs through the central section of the forest.

Ludlow Creek State Forest offers diverse recreation opportunities and features a:

  • Lean-to for camping;
  • Section of the Finger Lakes Trail for hiking; and
  • Multiple-use trail for cross country skiing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and snowmobiling between Engaard Road and Tucker Road. Please note that the majority of Engaard Road through the State forest is no longer maintained.

Featured Activities



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

A one mile piece of the Finger Lakes Trail (leaves DEC website) runs through the center of the forest and is popular with both through-hikers and day hikers.


camping with lean to
primitive camping

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

Forest at Ludlow Creek State Forest

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.

The Ludlow Creek lean-to was dedicated in the summer of 2000 and is located along the Finger Lakes Hiking Trail just south of the High Bridge.


mountain biking

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



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

Ludlow Creek supports both native brook trout and stocked brown trout, as well as several other fish species.

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7M

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.

Snowmobiling can be undertaken on a portion of Engaard Road in the winter.

Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing

cross country skiing
snow shoeing

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

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails.

Horseback Riding

horseback riding

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

Proof of current negative Coggins certificate is required for all horses and out-of-state horse owners are required to produce a 30-day health certificate.


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


The majority of town roads on the forest are good quality, gravel-surfaced roads, which may be traveled with any passenger car. Most of these roads are plowed during the winter; however, some sections may be left unplowed. There is one designated parking area on the forest located near the corner of Tucker Road and the Public Forest Access Road. There are many additional places to park vehicles along the sides of the town roads, as well as on old log decks adjacent to the roads.

Town roads that cross through the forest include Tucker, Hammerle, Ludlow, and Hogan Roads. Tucker Road was originally built in the 1930s as a truck trail by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC also built the bridge on this road spanning Ludlow Creek, locally known as the High Bridge. Tucker Road is now owned and maintained by the town of Smithville. DEC maintains one section of the Public Forest Access Road between Tucker Road and Engaard Road.

From State Highway 220, east of McDonough, turn south on Chestnut Street, then right onto Shorer's Woods Road, then left onto Hammerle Road. Two miles on Hammerle will bring you to the northwest end of the forest.

  • Trail Road Parking (42.447394°N, 75.705002°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 Ludlow 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.

Planning and Management

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the McDonough Unit Management Plan. 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

Forest Management

Ludlow Creek State Forest has relatively gentle to moderate sloping topography. The highest elevation on the forest is approximately 1,670 feet and is located on a peak between the Public Forest Access Road and Engaard Road. The lowest elevation is about 1,300 feet and is found along Ludlow Creek at its southernmost point on the forest. Surface water on the eastern half of the forest flows into Ludlow Creek and its tributaries, while the surface water on the western half of the forest flows into the tributaries of Kedron Brook. The forest tributaries to Kedron Brook do not support trout or other game fish.

Ludlow Creek State Forest generally has four different types of forest cover: pure northern hardwoods, mixtures of northern hardwoods and native conifers, plantations of non-native conifers, and wetlands. One objective of the management practices on this forest, as detailed in the UMP, is to convert the plantations to native species and use uneven-aged techniques with extended cutting intervals to replicate old-growth forest conditions. Once implemented, individual timber stands will only be disturbed by timber harvests once every 50 years.

This forest also contains wetlands that will be protected from disturbances. Corbin Swamp in the northeast, Spruce Swamp in the south-central, and several wetlands in the western section of the forest, cover more than 90 acres of the forest.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, food, dining and lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Oxford and Norwich.

Chenango 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.

  • Important Links
  • Links Leaving DEC's Website
  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 607-674-4017.
  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC Region 7
    Sherburne Sub-office
    2715 State Hwy 80
    Sherburne, NY 13460
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 7