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Gorton Lake State Forest

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Gorton Lake State Forest locator map

The 500-acre Gorton Lake State Forest is open to recreational pursuits such as hunting, informal hiking or other informal uses that require no designated facilities. There are conifer plantations occupying former agriculture or pasture lands, rolling hills of native hardwood forests and stream courses flowing down to the valleys below. The state forest was created for the purpose of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation and watershed protection.

Featured Activities



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

There are no formal hiking trails but the old town roads and utility lines provide excellent opportunities for people to get out and enjoy the state forest.


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.

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.

There is a section of designated snowmobile trail approximately one mile in length passing through the forest. This trail is part of the state-wide snowmobile corridor trail system linking both private and public lands across New York. The CNY Snow Travelers maintain and groom the routes in this area through a volunteer stewardship agreement.


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


From Sangerfield take State Highway 12 south approximately 3 miles to Gorton Lake Road. Turn left onto Gorton Lake Road and proceed approximately 2 miles east. Look for a state forest sign on your left and a small parking pull-off across the road on your right.

  • Gorton Lake Road pull-off (42.866839°N, 75.353905°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 Gorton Lake 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, 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

DEC is developing a unit management plan (UMP) which will describe the management activities for these lands. In addition to management objectives, the UMP will contain 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

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, dining opportunities, lodging, food and other supplies may be found in the nearby communities of Waterville, Sangerfield, Bridgewater, West Winfield and Hamilton.

Oneida County Tourism website (leaves DEC website) and the Madison County Tourism website (leaves DC 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.