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Hammond Hill State Forest

hikingprimitive campingmountain bikingfishinghorse back ridinghuntingtrappingsnowmobilingsnow shoeingcross country skiingaccessible trailparkingIcon key

Hammond Hill State Forest locator map

Hammond Hill State Forest is 3,697 acres and is a popular area for recreation. The 20-mile multiple-use trail system has been designed to offer family-based recreation for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-county skiing. The trail system is a cooperative effort between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cayuga Nordic Ski Club, Friends of Hammond Hill, and the town of Dryden.

happy cross-country skiiers
Photo credit: David Christie

Featured Activities



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

The trails are marked with circular trail signs. All trails are designated by color and number, and are classified by the user's ability. Beginner trails have very gentle slopes and are fairly short in length. Intermediate trails have gentle to somewhat steep slopes and are moderate in length. Advanced trails have gentle to steep slopes and are usually longer in length than intermediate trails.

The Finger Lakes Hiking Trail (leaves DEC website) is approximately 3.8 miles in length on Hammond Hill State Forest and is marked with white blazes. Hiking is allowed during the summer.


primitive camping

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



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

birch tree growing out of tree stump with moss

Fishing information for Central NY is available.

For Public Fishing Rights (PFR) information, 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 for using the fishing map.)

Horseback Riding

horse back riding

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

Horseback riding is allowed on all trails and roads in Hammond Forest. 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.

Hunting & Trapping


Wildlife Management Unit: 7R

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



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

Orange/Snowmobile Trails
These trails total 5.6 miles in length and are designated as a corridor snowmobile trail. Other recreational activities permitted on the orange trails are: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and some cross-county skiing.

In addition, there are approximately 6.2 miles of state forest access roads and seasonal use roads that are utilized primarily by snowmobilers. All recreational uses are allowed on these roads; however, care must be taken as these roads are open to motor vehicle traffic year round.

Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing


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

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails and most of these trails are above 1,800 feet in elevation.


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

Accessible Features

accessible trail

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

There is a short section of the trail in the northwestern portion of the forest that allows motorized access with an ATV for people with mobility impairments. A permit is required through the Motorized Access Program for People with Disabilities.


The best access to Hammond Hill State Forest is from Irish Settlement Road on the west side of the forest. From the south, one would take a right turn into the forest (or a left if coming from the north). This road comes to a "v" shortly after entering the forest. Taking the left branch will lead you across private land and then to the eastern section of the forest onto Star Stanton Road. Star Stanton is a seasonal road and is not plowed in the winter. Taking a right at the "v" will lead you south. Once past the Cayuga Nature Center, a private holding that borders the forest, this road too becomes seasonal.

Another option for entering the forest is from the Harford Road on the southern boundary of the forest. Hammond Hill Road and the Canaan Road both lead north off of Harford Road. These roads are paved for a distance, but when they enter the forest, they become seasonal roads.

  • End of Canaan Road (42.441586,-76.289185) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Red Man Run Road (42.433854,-76.277977) 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. Please minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Hammond Hill State Forest must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Planning and Management

DEC has developed the Twin Sheds Draft Unit Management Plan (PDF) with Maps Part 1 (PDF) and Part 2 (PDF) which describes the 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.

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


Management goals for the forest are to provide recreational opportunities, to maintain a healthy forest and ecosystem, and to improve the forest for future generations. This is a work in progress that started in 1935. Hammond Hill State Forest is now a rich and diverse forest. Future forest management will be aimed at converting the even-aged softwood plantations to more natural mixed hardwood and softwood forests.

The forest was established between 1935 and 1950 in an effort to reduce soil erosion problems, produce forest products, and provide recreational opportunities. Nearly half of the forest (1799 acres) was acquired by the State from the federal government. Most of the property was former pasture or tilled acreage that was suffering from poor agricultural practices. The Conservation Department (now DEC) planted this land with 708,000 pine, spruce, larch, maple, cherry, ash and oak seedlings between 1935 and 1940 using Civilian Conservation Corps labor. Today, almost 100% of the area is forested, the soil has been improved, and the harvesting of forest products supports all management activities, including recreation.

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 community of Ithaca.

Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce (leaves DEC website) and Tioga 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 online 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.